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Tuesday March 28th

Tar Heel wrestlers ready for Wolfpack

	<p>Frank Abbondanza</p>
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Frank Abbondanza

Following last year’s dual meet against N.C. State, the North Carolina wrestling team returned from Raleigh the tougher of the two teams with a 20-18 victory, snapping a six-dual losing streak.

So as the Tar Heels prepare to host N.C. State at Carmichael Arena tonight, sophomore Frank Abbondanza said the meet, between two teams he considers to be rivals, is something to look forward to.

“Whenever there’s an in-state dual, it adds a little bit to the meet and definitely makes us want to wrestle even that much harder,” Abbondanza said. “We have a history of close matches with (N.C. State). Last year’s meet went down to the very last match, but we pulled it out at the end.”

For Abbondanza, whose match win at last year’s meet ended a then-15-bout losing streak, the meet is a chance for UNC to once again redeem itself after suffering two dual losses last weekend.

After falling to Navy by a score of 27-6 last Friday in possibly its most disappointing meet of the season, UNC bounced back with a strong performance against Maryland in a 21-16 loss.

Abbondanza said he hopes the toughness UNC put forth against Maryland carries into Friday night’s matchup against N.C. State.

“The feeling among the team is pretty good right now. Last weekend wasn’t exactly one of our best weekends in terms of not wrestling nearly as well as we wanted to in what was an easy match (against Navy),” Abbondanza said. “But the way we stepped up against Maryland the next day, even though we didn’t win the meet, showed what we’re capable of.

“If we just keep the momentum going this weekend, it’d be a huge step forward.”

Coach C.D. Mock felt similarly, and joked about the inconsistency his team has displayed.

“If these guys wrestle the way they did against Maryland the other night then we don’t have to do anything special to beat State,” Mock said. “But if they wrestle the way they did against Navy or Virginia, then we’re in trouble.

“I wish I could take their temperatures and know how they’ll wrestle ahead of time, but I don’t know.”

While Mock acknowledged the rivalry between UNC and in-state foes, he said every team in the ACC rivals one another.

“To me, everyone in the ACC is the same — it’s a rivalry. We want to beat everybody in the ACC, hands down,” Mock said.

Given UNC’s familiarity with a team and school just about 25 miles away, Mock said his wrestlers know what they’re up against, and he anticipates nothing short of victory.

“I expect us to dominate State,” Mock said. “If we don’t, I’m going to be pretty disappointed.”

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