COLUMBIA — It was the seniors' day to be honored, but it was a true freshman who gave the No. 10 Missouri Tigers (9-2, 6-1) a victory over Old Dominion (8-9, 4-3) Sunday at the Hearnes Center.
Missouri freshman Joey Lavallee racked in a 7-2 decision over Old Dominion's Tristan Warner, who is ranked 19th in the country at 157 pounds. Lavallee's win was the first over a ranked opponent in his career and broke the 6-6 tie between the Tigers and Monarchs.
"We stopped a hot team," coach Brian Smith said after the dual. "Probably the big turnaround was at 157. Getting a win over Warner was a big one. And not just winning but getting a couple takedowns and even backpoints. Our freshmen just keep growing up under our eyes. It's really nice to see."
Prior to Lavallee's win, Missouri junior Drake Houdashelt, ranked No. 1 at 149 pounds, picked up his 30th win of the season with a 4-1 decision over Old Dominion's Alexander Richardson, ranked No. 14 at that weight.
At 165 pounds, senior Zach Toal picked up one final home victory as a Missouri Tiger. Toal, ranked No. 12 in the weight class, beat the Monarchs' Devin Geoghegan in a 6-3 decision.
The three final Tigers finished the afternoon off strong with victories, giving Missouri a 21-9 victory.
It was also coach Smith's 200th career victory of his 17-year college coaching career. Smith is in his 16th season at Missouri, where he has accumulated 198 of his career wins. His two other wins came during his one season at Syracuse.
"It's nice, but it's actually 200 wins for a bunch of young men. I just sit on the bench and try not to screw it up," Smith said. "But it's nice because I think about all the people who were a part of that, including my wife who's put up with me for that long."
During Smith's tenure at Missouri, he has coached 18 All-Americans and scored 31 top eight finishes at the NCAA Championships. The Tigers have been one of the nation's most prolific wrestling programs over the past decade, posting 13-consecutive winning seasons.
Missouri will next take the mat at Kent State on Friday beginning at 5:30 p.m.