UVA’s Jake Keating stopped the bleeding for the Cavaliers, taking advantage of forcing a take down and near fall on UNC’s Josh McClure in the 157-pound weight class, sending the Tar Heels into the intermission with a 12-7 lead.
Following the intermission, UNC’s Sawyer Davidson and UVA’s Cam Coy battled out a low scoring slugfest. Coy recorded just a single takedown and escape, but it proved to be enough as he defeated Davidson, 4-0, and brought Virginia back within two points of the cumulative score at 12-10. Redshirt sophomore Devin Kane righted the ship for UNC in the 174-pound bout, winning a major decision and extending the North Carolina lead to 16-10.
UNC’s second ranked wrestler of the night, No. 14 Chip Ness, took care of UVA’s Chance McClure in a hard-fought bout, surrendering only one point on the way to a 6-1 decision win, giving the Tar Heels a 19-10 lead.
First-year Brandon Whitman had the chance to put North Carolina out of reach, but faced an uphill battle taking on No. 8 Jay Aiello. Despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead with an early takedown, Aiello flexed his muscles for the remainder of the match, winning 7-2 and keeping the Cavaliers alive at 19-13.
Despite the loss from Whitman, all Cory Daniel needed to do was avoid a fall for UNC to secure the victory. Daniel did more than simply survive, he thrived, recording a reversal and a couple of takedowns to secure the victory for North Carolina, 22-13.
Who stood out?
The most impressive bout of the night for the Tar Heels came in the 141-pound weight class from Hernandez. While it was not the widest margin of victory for a UNC wrestler, it did feature the most takedowns, as Hernandez brought his opponent to the mat seven times. His effort gave North Carolina its first lead of the match, and was one they would never relinquish.
When was it decided?
While North Carolina led most of the way, the match still hung in the balance heading into the heavyweight match between Daniel and Tyler Love. Love needed to force a fall from Daniel to tie the Tar Heels, but a 9-4 decision win for Daniel iced the match, 22-13, for UNC.
Why does it matter?
This was an important match for the Tar Heels as they showed grit and determination in taking down another ranked squad, especially coming off a frustrating loss at Princeton.
When do they play next?
Next up for the Tar Heels is a road trip to Lewisburg, Pa. to take on Bucknell on Friday.
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