UNC wrestling unable to dig itself out of early hole in loss to Virginia Tech
Facing a tough opponent in its ACC opener, the North Carolina wrestling team needed something to trigger its push for victory — but that spark never came.
Despite carrying the momentum of an eight-game winning streak into its match against No. 12 Virginia Tech, the No. 15 Tar Heels couldn’t get off the ground in a one-sided 27-13 loss on Saturday.
Before the Tar Heels could get on the board, Virginia Tech had already jumped out to a 13-0 lead. The Hokies set the tone early, earning extra points with a fall and a major decision in the first two matches.
The Tar Heels (9-2, 0-1 ACC) had struggled with starting matches slowly, as they had fallen behind early in each of their past three matches entering Saturday.
In those matches, UNC had relied on big wins and extra points to propel the team to a comeback. Redshirt senior Evan Henderson and redshirt sophomore Ethan Ramos appeared to give the Tar Heels those types of wins, cutting the deficit to single digits with a pin and a major decision, respectively.
But each time, Virginia Tech responded, winning the ensuing match to extend its lead again.
UNC looked to have a chance to battle back late in the match, but two narrow losses at the 184- and 197-pound weight classes sealed UNC’s fate.
This time, the Tar Heels were unable to overcome the early hole they had dug themselves into.
“We weren’t nearly tough enough (Saturday). These guys have to understand that nothing is just going to fall in their lap. We’re a better team than we played (Saturday).” — Coach Coleman Scott on his team’s performance against Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech was ranked No. 3 in the nation before dropping nine spots after a loss to Iowa State on Jan. 9. The Hokies played like a top-five team on Saturday, and their ranking will likely show it after scoring a big win against the Tar Heels.
Three numbers that matter
2: Ramos has been quietly climbing the national ranks at the 174-pound weight class, currently boasting the No. 2 ranking in the country. The redshirt sophomore had no problems on Saturday, scoring a major decision.
8: This match was full of star-studded matches. Eight of Saturday's 10 matches featured at least one wrestler ranked in the top-25 nationally
7: Henderson has had a knack for pinning wrestlers this season. His pin on Saturday marked his seventh of the season.
The Tar Heels will take on Navy at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday at Carmichael Arena.
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