Huskers Recover From Slow Start to Beat Tar Heels
Chapel Hill, N.C. – The #11 Nebraska wrestling team responded to some early adversity in its dual against the #12 North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday night at Carmichael Arena. The Huskers avenged last year’s 22-14 loss to the Tar Heels in Lincoln by taking a 22-15 victory on the road. NU trailed 13-3 after four matches before taking five out of the final six bouts to win the dual.
"We did a good job tonight but the team is still working to come together to compete up to their standard," Head Coach Mark Manning said. "We'll have another great opportunity tomorrow to compete against great competition at NC State."
The Huskers immediately started out in a hole as they had to take a forfeit at the 125-pound spot. #11 Zeke Moisey failed to make weigh-ins, giving the Tar Heels an early 6-0 lead.
Tucker Sjomeling improved to 11-3 (3-1 in duals) on the year with a 7-3 victory by decision over UNC’s James Szymanski to put NU on the board and reduce the deficit to 6-3. The redshirt freshman earned one takedown in each period and added an additional point for riding time.
Chad Red Jr., coming off a 6-0 performance at last weekend’s Doane Open, suffered a 5-1 defeat to A.C. Headlee, avenging last year’s loss to Red in Lincoln. The Tar Heels team lead blossomed to 13-3 after #6 Austin O’Connor defeated Collin Purinton 16-5 in a major decision.
Needing a spark, the Huskers turned to their senior two-time All-American (Tyler Berger). The Prineville, Ore., native stormed out of the gates with three takedowns in the first period and never looked back. The veteran Husker defeated UNC’s Sawyer Davidson in a major decision, 16-5. The victory brought the UNC lead to 13-7 heading into intermission.
With the win by Berger, he hit 100 career wins, making him just the 28th Husker in school history to achieve that feat. Berger is nine wins way from 15th place on the all-time wins list and 28 wins away from being in the top five.
"Hitting the 100-win mark has filled me with a sense of gratitude," Berger said. "I’m so thankful for my coaches, my teammates and this university. I’m apart of elite company now and it’s because I’ve had people who selflessly poured into me and have helped me spiritually, emotionally and physically. All I’ve done is shown up ready to put the work in."
The match of the night was between #6 Isaiah White and UNC’s Kennedy Monday, who moved up a weight class from 157-pounds for the match. With 15 seconds left in the match, the two were tied at three, but Monday held a 1:04 advantage in riding time. With just two seconds left, White notched a huge takedown to earn a 5-4 decision (Monday added on a point for riding time). Since starting out the season 1-3, White has won his last six matches.
#9 Mikey Labriola ended his match with Devin Kane early, winning by injury default in the second period. The victory put the Huskers up 16-13, giving the team its first lead of the dual.
In the 184-pound bout, #3 Taylor Venz suffered his first dual-defeat of the season at the hands of Chip Ness. The two went back and forth throughout the match, but a second period takedown by Ness gave him the lead for good as he worked a 6-5 decision. UNC only got two points for this victory, however, as the team lost a point for bench misconduct.
#9 Eric Schultz rode a dominant second period to earn a 16-10 decision over Chasen Blair. He led 3-2 heading into the second period, but four takedowns put him ahead 13-5 and he was able to cruise to his 12th victory of the season.
Leading 19-15 heading into the heavyweight match, Nebraska needed junior David Jensen to make a statement against #14 Cory Daniel. Jensen, who missed the first month of the season recovering from mono, scored a takedown in each of the second and third periods to earn a 5-2 decision victory. Jensen is now 7-0 on the year after his 6-0 performance last weekend at the Doane Open.
#11 Nebraska 22 #12 North Carolina 15
Dec. 15, 2018
Chapel Hill, N.C. (Carmichael Arena)
125: Joe Heilmann forfeit over #11 Zeke Moisey (NEB) (UNC 6, NEB 0)
133: Tucker Sjomeling (NEB) dec. James Szmanski, 7-3 (UNC 6, NEB 3)
141: A.C. Headlee (UNC) dec. Chad Red Jr. (NEB), 5-1 (UNC 9, NEB 3)
149: #6 Austin O'Connor (UNC) major dec. Collin Purinton (NEB), 12-3 (UNC 13, NEB 3)
157: #5 Tyler Berger (NEB) major dec. Sawyer Davidson (UNC), 16-5 (UNC 13, NEB 7)
165: #6 Isaiah White (NEB) dec. Kennedy Monday (UNC), 5-4 (UNC 13, NEB 10)
174: #9 Mikey Labriola (NEB) injury def. Devin Kane (UNC) (NEB 16, UNC 13)
184: #13 Chip Ness (UNC) dec. #3 Taylor Venz (NEB), 6-5 (NEB 16, UNC 15)**
197: #9 Eric Schultz (NEB) dec. Chasen Blair (UNC), 16-10 (NEB 19, UNC 15)
HWT: David Jensen (NEB) dec. #14 Cory Daniel (UNC), 5-2 (NEB 22, UNC 15)
**North Carolina lost a point for bench misconduct after the Ness/Venz match.
Nebraska takes on #7 NC State tomorrow afternoon at noon CT in the second dual of a back-to-back against nationally ranked ACC schools. The match will be televised by the ACC Network Extra and stats will be available on Trackwrestling.com.