From the second period of the match to the end, Petroski controlled the bout, surging to an 11-5 victory that included a penalty point against the Bulldogs’ Josh Tuck.
The decision gave UNC the 19-18 win in their final dual of the regular season and finalized a comeback after the Tar Heels went down 12-0 early.
UNC’s Jake Corrill was pinned in the first period of his match, which, paired with a forfeit in the 133-pound bout, put the Tar Heels at an immediate disadvantage.
Three of the next four Tar Heel wrestlers took their decisions, but UNC still needed Thomas Ferguson to build momentum in his match.
He did. Ferguson became the aggressor in his match, dominating Kenneth Radford from the first whistle. The lead carried until the end, where Ferguson picked up the major decision and pulled the Tar Heels within two.
The extra point Ferguson gained by getting the major decision proved to be the difference in UNC’s one-point victory.
“It was extremely big because we needed somebody to get us some bonus points,” coach C.D. Mock said. “I thought we’d get some of those points in other places, but Fergie came through and it was great.”
Petroski said Mock called on his wrestlers in the upper weight-classes to deliver the victory.
“Coach Mock pulled us aside somewhere in the middle — the 174, 184, 197 and heavyweight — and said, ‘We’re losing to The Citadel right now. We need to step it up,’” Petroski said.
“I guess we got the job done. It wasn’t pretty, but we improved and it was another step to get better.”
Petroski stepped up for an ailing Tar Heel squad from an unlikely position. Ben Brooks, the team’s only true heavyweight, hasn’t been cleared to wrestle since sustaining a concussion in Saturday’s match against Nebraska.
“I had to do something because I was going to have to forfeit the heavyweight,” Mock said. “Going in here and giving up 12 points, well you see, we would’ve lost.
“Andre is a fighter. Andre is a warrior.”
Wednesday’s dual was the last regular season match for the Tar Heels, who will compete in the ACC Championships during spring break.
While Mock expected his team to win, he knew his team would come out sluggish as a result of training for the postseason.
“I expected them to be flat, and we were flat,” Mock said. “But it’s a dual meet, it’s good to win it.
“It’s for the seniors, we wanted to win it.”
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