CHAPEL HILL, N.C.- North Carolina fell by just six points in a 21-16 loss to visiting Arizona State Friday night at Carmichael Arena. Five Tar Heels claimed victories, including a 13-4 major decision by No. 19-ranked sophomore Evan Henderson at 141 pounds over Arizona State's Matt Kraus. The North Carolina wrestlers will return to action Sunday at the Wolfpack Open.
Friday night's match started at 133 pounds with North Carolina's Joey Ward earning three Tar Heel team points in a 10-5 decision over Shane McGough. The sophomore began his Carolina dual career with two quick takedowns in the first period, releasing his opponent on each occasion. Ward secured his victory in the second period, earning points for near falls on three different occasions.
Henderson dominated Kraus to gain four points for the Tar Heels, making it a 7-0 margin over the Sun Devils. Henderson had the first takedown of the match and after back-to-back reversals, maintained control for the majority of the period. He was awarded points for near falls twice; once after his opponent had chosen bottom, the second after he earned a reversal.
Nathan Hoffer claimed the first Sun Devil win in a 9-7 decision over Carolina redshirt freshman Christian Barber. Barber was taken down first, but responded with an escape and takedown of his own in the first period. The second period moved the score in Hoffer's favor, with Hoffer earning three near fall points off of a takedown. Barber recorded an escape and takedown in the third period, but the score reflected a two-point deficit due to riding time.
Arizona State's Codey Combs earned a close 5-3 decision over sophomore transfer Chris Mears, pushing the team score within one point, 7-6. Combs had a steady upper hand over Mears in the first two periods, with Mears earning all his points in the third period. Mears matched Combs's takedown and escape, but Combs reversed Mears as time was running out in the match to claim the victory.
Redshirt freshman John Staudenmayer distanced the Tar Heels from the Sun Devils with a 6-2 decision over Parker Madl at 165 pounds. With a takedown, three points for a near fall and an escape, Staudenmayer took a 6-0 lead after two periods. He was taken down in the third to win 6-2, improving the Tar Heel team score to ten compared to Arizona State's six.
Blake Stauffer of Arizona State pinned North Carolina's Frank Abbondanza, a sophomore, in the third period to earn a Sun Devil team lead 12-10. The match was in Stauffer's favor, going into the third period, 4-0, before he secured the pin at 174 pounds with 14 seconds left in the match.
Sophomore Alex Utley helped the Tar Heels back to a 13-12 lead with a 13-6 deicision over Sun Devil Kevin Radford. Utley came back from a 4-2 deficit in the first period to an 8-6 lead after two periods. A stalling call on Radford produced an additional point for Utley in the match.
Antonio Giorgio, a redshirt sophomore who placed second in the Hokie Open last weekend, fell to Arizona State's Jake Meredith in a 6-4 decision. After Giorgio recorded the first takedown, his momentum was stopped by an illegal hold call. Meredith followed up with a reversal to gain the upper hand after the first period. Giorgio could not return form the 5-2 deficit after two periods, although he earned a takedown in the third. The Sun Devils gained a 15-13 lead with this win and held on to win the dual.
No. 9 Levi Cooper earned a pin over Tar Heel redshirt freshman Jake Barnhart at heavyweight. Cooper recorded six points before pinning Barnhart with 42 seconds remaining in the third period. This pin secured the Arizona State victory, improving the Sun Devils to a nine-point margin, 21-13.
Freshman Nathan Kraisser posted a 10-5 victory over Dalton Miller of Arizona State. Kraisser had the first takedown of the match in the first period and earned two points for a near fall. He took down Miller again in the second period after a Miller escape. His lead was diminished by two Sun Devil takedowns in the third period, to finish with a 10-5 victory. His win provided the final 21-16 tally in favor of Arizona State.
The Tar Heels will next appear at the Wolfpack Open Sunday. Their next home dual will take place Jan. 18 against Virginia.
133 - Joey Ward (NC) over Shane McGough (ASU) Dec, 15-10 - ASU 0, NC 3
141 - #19 Evan Henderson (NC) over Matt Kraus (ASU) MD, 13-4 - ASU 0, NC 7
149 - Nathan Hoffer (ASU) over Christian Barber (NC) Dec, 9-7 - ASU 3, NC 7
157 - Codey Combs (ASU) over Chris Mears (NC) Dec, 5-3 - ASU 6, NC 7
165 - John Staudenmayer (NC) over Parker Madl (ASU) Dec, 6-2 - ASU 6, NC 10
174 - Blake Stauffer (ASU) over Frank Abbondanza (NC) Pin, 6:46 - ASU 12, NC 10
184 - Alex Utley (NC) over Kevin Radford (ASU) Dec, 13-6 - ASU 12, NC 13
197 - Jake Meredith (ASU) over Antonio Giorgio (NC) Dec, 6-4 - ASU 15, NC 13
HWT - #9 Levi Cooper(ASU) over Jake Barnhart (NC) Pin, 6:18 - ASU 21, NC 13
125 - Nathan Kraisser (NC) over Dalton Miller (ASU) Dec, 10-5 - ASU 21, NC 16