All-American senior Joey Ward knew his team needed a lift, and he provided it — putting UNC on the board at 8-3. The victory switched the mood of the meet, as the Tar Heels picked up seven straight points to take the lead.
With momentum completely shifted, first-year Devin Kane pinned his opponent for the full six team points. Just like that, UNC was doubling up Duke, 16-8.
Redshirt junior Ethan Ramos kept the momentum going with a 10-5 win to extend UNC's run to 19-0.
The match wasn't over, though.
The Blue Devils finally responded with an 11-0 victory over redshirt first-year Elijah Kerr-Brown, bringing the score to 19-12.
Daniel Chaid, a junior transfer, stepped onto the mat for the first time in Card Gym. With the weight of the rivalry resting on his shoulders, he went to work.
The two looked evenly matched, but Chaid found a new burst of energy in the second round, grabbing early points in the pivotal round. With just four seconds left in the period, Chaid pinned his opponent for his second pin of the year to clinch the win.
Who stood out?
Senior Joey Ward was the spark plug for North Carolina. His win gave the team the energy it needed to go on a 19-0 run that decided the meet.
Daniel Chaid was also impressive in his first matchup against Duke. He transferred from Grand Canyon after the college was forced to cut its program. He sealed a much-needed win for the Tar Heels with his second-round pin.
When was it decided?
When Duke jumped up 8-0, it didn’t look good for UNC. And when the visitors retaliated with a 19-0 run, it looked like it was going the other way.
Once Duke got back on its feet, it all came down to the 197-pound match. If Duke had found a way to win, or even get a fall, the nature of the meet would have turned dramatically.
It looked as though Chaid would have pulled off the victory either way, but one wrong move is all it takes. Chaid's pin was the defining moment of the meet.
Why does it matter?
North Carolina was just 1-3 in the ACC coming into the meet after letting Virginia steal a home meet. The meet also pitted UNC against Duke, a rival who needs no introduction.
The Tar Heels needed to find a way to win this match, and they did. With just one meet left before the ACC Championships, this could prove to be the boost the team needs for the postseason.
Where do they play next?
The Tar Heels will travel to Gardner-Webb for their last regular season meet. Mat time is 7 p.m. on Friday.