The North Carolina wrestling team fell to the Princeton Tigers, 23-16, in New Jersey on Friday night, despite splitting the victories 5-5 in individual matches.
The No. 25 Tigers pounced on the No. 15 Tar Heels (7-5) out of the gate. No. 10 Pat Glory in the 125-pound weight class and Marshall Keller in the 141-pound weight class combined to win their matches, 27-9, and secure major decisions on the way to an 11-3 lead.
Redshirt sophomores Josh McClure and Sawyer Davidson helped get North Carolina back on track with back-to-back victories by decision in the 157- and 165-pound weight classes, respectively. Davidson particularly took control, winning his match 11-5, to shrink Princeton’s lead to 11-9. The momentum was short-lived, however, as Princeton’s first-year Travis Stefanik in the 174-pound weight class forced a fall from UNC’s Devin Kane, earning six points for the team and ballooning the lead to 17-9 just over halfway through the match.
It appeared the Tar Heels were fighting their way into the match. Down eight points, redshirt senior No. 14 Chip Ness won his 184-pound match, and Chasen Blair seemed to be on the way to a victory of his own. At one point trailing 14-4, Princeton’s sophomore No. 3 Patrick Brucki forced yet another fall, winning another six points for the Tigers out of apparent defeat. This was a deathblow to the Tar Heels' momentum and their hopes of victory, putting them down 23-12 with only one match remaining.