The Tar Heel bench exploded as the referee held up his fist signifying the penalty. The call pushed the match to a third overtime, and marked the end of the night for Mock’s jacket as he fired it into the bench.
Mears lost the match 3-2 in the third overtime, and once the buzzer sounded, Mock made a beeline for the referee.
“I think it was me spitting and screaming about two inches from his face,” said Mock with a healthy laugh when describing the exchange. “I don’t like to lose control, but I definitely lost a little control.”
Mock was assessed a misconduct penalty, deducting a point from UNC’s team score. The Tar Heels went into intermission trailing 9-5.
Then, the turning point.
UNC redshirt freshman Ethan Ramos stepped onto the mat for the first time since being named Flowrestling National Wrestler of the Week and ACC Wrestler of the Week. What followed proved to be further evidence of those honors being warranted.
Ramos dominated Duke redshirt sophomore Brian Dorsey, taking him down eight times on the way to 18-7 win. The majority decision earned the Tar Heels four much needed points and tied the match at 9-9.
“It’s nice to see that I’m getting looked at, but I try not to focus on it,” Ramos said. “Yeah, it’s a great accomplishment, but I need to keep on moving forward to accomplish my goals later on.”
UNC redshirt junior John Michael Staudenmayor followed Ramos with a 5-1 win over Duke redshirt junior Trey Adamson, putting the Tar Heels ahead 12-9.
Now it was up to redshirt sophomore Scott Marmoll to see what he could do against Duke’s top wrestler, sophomore Jacob Kasper.
Marmoll was taken down early, giving Duke a 2-0 lead, but that was all Marmoll was willing to give up.
“We really wanted to come in tonight and make a statement,” Marmoll said.
Marmoll rattled off 11 straight points after being taken down, and powered his way to a 11-2 win. The four-point majority decision proved to be huge for the Tar Heels, putting them up 16-9 before losing the last two matches and hanging on for a 16-15 win.
“The momentum was kind of against us with the small gym and a lot of Duke fans,” Marmoll said. “I think that started to get to our heads a little bit, but we recovered and battled back.”
And the Tar Heels followed through on their coach's request.