The decisive match in the dual was one that the Tar Heels were expected to win. In the 184-pound bout, No. 11 Chip Ness fell to unranked Norman Conley of Indiana. The Hoosiers took the lead and never looked back.
No. 9 Minnesota 29, No. 12 UNC 11
North Carolina ended Saturday with a second loss, this time to the Golden Gophers. The Tar Heels managed only three individual victories in the dual.
Two of those two victories came over ranked opponents. Headlee picked up another big victory in the 141-pound weight class. This time he defeated No. 5 Mitch McKee with a pin in overtime. Up next was UNC’s highest ranked wrestler, No. 5 Austin O’Connor. In the 149-pound bout, O’Connor defeated No. 20 Thomas Thorn by a 7-3 decision. The Tar Heels went down 9-0 early but those two victories tied the dual.
Minnesota then won three straight bouts to take a 20-9 lead and all but end it. Ness picked up the only other individual victory for North Carolina with an 8-7 decision in the 184-pound bout.
No. 12 UNC 22, No. 21 Lehigh 18
UNC’s first victory of the event was a dual of runs. The Tar Heels won the first five matches to take a 22-0 lead, while Lehigh won the remaining five matches, but only accumulated 18 points.
UNC was aided by two victories via injury default. Those two matches gave the Tar Heels the same amount of points that a pin would. The most important win of the dual for North Carolina came in the 149-pound bout. O’Connor earned a 17-7 major decision. This victory gave UNC a 16-0 lead and was the decisive match in the dual.
This dual featured multiple ranked matchups that North Carolina lost. Two notable matches were in the 184-pound and 285-pound bouts. In the first, No. 11 Ness faced off against No. 8 Ryan Preisch of Lehigh and lost by a 4-1 decision. In the heavyweight bout North Carolina’s No. 15 Cory Daniel faced Lehigh’s No. 6 Jordan Wood. Wood defeated Daniel, 6-4, but Daniel staved off a larger defeat so that UNC could win the dual.
No. 12 UNC 20, No. 20 North Dakota State 19
In North Carolina’s final match of the weekend, the team experienced its closest dual of the season. The dual ended in a 19-19 score but the Tar Heels came out on top because of a tiebreaker.
The 149-pound bout between No. 5 O’Connor and North Dakota State’s Jaden VanMaanen ended up deciding the dual. O’Connor pinned VanMaanen in 3:39 in the only bout that ended via a pin. The team that earned the most pins won the tiebreaker and that gave North Carolina the victory.
Other impactful victories for North Carolina came yet again in the 184-pound and 285-pound bouts. No. 11 Ness won via major decision at 184 and No. 15 Daniel won the heavyweight match to bring the dual to a tie.
This victory along with North Carolina’s win over No. 21 Lehigh gave the Tar Heels momentum leaving Fort Lauderdale despite dropping their first two duals.
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