UNC wrestling pushes winning streak to 8 matches with sweep at Pitt Duals
Despite three slow starts, the North Carolina wrestling team proved its ability to battle back en route to a convincing undefeated trip to Pittsburgh.
The Tar Heels, ranked No. 15 in the country, defeated Edinboro 26-11 before trouncing Columbia and Brown by scores of 24-12 and 29-9 during Saturday's Pitt Duals, extending their winning streak to eight matches.
While UNC (9-1) was favored to win each of its three matches, early bursts from each team put the Tar Heels in a hole. Despite facing an uphill climb, UNC was able to string together wins to take over each of its matches.
Even though the team trailed early, none of the matches were close after the final bout. North Carolina was able to pull away from the competition with big wins through the middle of its lineup.
The Tar Heels were sparked by the dominant performance of Joey Ward. Ward was untouchable in his three matches, swinging momentum for the Tar Heels.
The redshirt junior recorded two major decisions and a technical fall in his three wins to provide his team with much-needed points. Ward’s nearly perfect performances all came with his team trailing.
From Ward’s bouts at the 141-pound weight class forward, the Tar Heels feature perhaps the strongest part of their lineup. In each of the three matches, Ward, John Michael Staudenmayer (165), Ethan Ramos (174) and Alex Utley (184) were all able to secure wins for their team.
Now, with confidence in their ability to fight back and key players wrestling at a high level, the Tar Heels hope to take this weekend’s momentum into ACC play.
“You just want to put as many points up on the board as you can to influence the rest of the guys that come after you. If I can win big, hopefully it sparks the rest of the lineup to put points on the board, too.” — Ward on the importance of dominating performances.
The Tar Heels did not wrestle Pittsburgh, but they did get to watch them as they took on Brown. While UNC was mostly scouting Brown, preparing to face them later in the day, the Tar Heels did get a look at an ACC opponent they will face this season.
Three numbers that matter
8: With three wins this weekend, the Tar Heels are now riding an eight-match winning streak — their longest of the season.
12: Despite their early woes, the Tar Heels were able to win every match by at least 12 points.
38: In his three matches, Ward outscored his opponents by a total of 41-3.
The Tar Heels will travel to Blacksburg, Va., to take on their first ACC opponent, No. 5 Virginia Tech, at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
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