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Friday January 21st

UNC men's soccer kicks off the season with a win

There was a moment of silence at Fetzer Field before the men's soccer game against Gardner-Webb to honor the memory of former captain Kirk Urso.
Buy Photos There was a moment of silence at Fetzer Field before the men's soccer game against Gardner-Webb to honor the memory of former captain Kirk Urso.

Last season ended with a transfer student, Ben Speas, breaking a tie against UNC-Charlotte in the 65th minute, leading North Carolina to its second national championship in program history.

The 2012 season had a similar start, with a transfer, junior forward Andy Craven, scoring in the third minute of UNC’s 4-0 win against Gardner-Webb.

Craven controlled the rebound of Martin Murphy’s shot and sent a 22-yard blast past goalkeeper Scott Krotee.

“That was probably the most excited I’ve been after any goal,” Craven said. “My debut with a new team, and we all played well, and I was real pleased to get a goal.”

Coach Carlos Somoano likes what Craven adds to the Tar Heel attack.

But Somoano said he was even more impressed with the performance of his back line, which features senior captain Jordan Gafa.

“In terms of being where we are in the season, I think our defending side is way ahead of our attacking, and that’s good because we still scored four goals,” Somoano said.

“Right now that’s our glue that’s buying us time to get the other stuff sorted out.”

The Tar Heels got on the board again in the 67th minute when freshman Danny Garcia made a run from midfield and found Gafa, who scored from the right side of the goal.

Garcia contributed again in the 72nd minute when he received a pass from Craven, and evaded a defender before assisting junior transfer Chipper Root who netted one from seven yards out.

The Tar Heels capped the victory on David Walden’s 89th-minute penalty kick after Root was tackled from behind in the penalty box, sealing the game at 4-0.

The Tar Heels paid tribute to former teammate and captain Kirk Urso, who died Aug. 5, as they asked fans to write notes remembering Urso at the stadium’s entrance. Urso’s No. 3 was also featured throughout the stadium.

A moment of silence was held to remember Urso just before kickoff.

Gafa said the team honored Urso in the team huddle before the game.

“We had prepared something just to talk about Kirk, and we knew we were going to do it for him,” Gafa said. “At the same time we have to play our game and stay focused that we’re playing Gardner-Webb.”

Though Walden’s goal pushed the three-goal lead to four, the Tar Heels ended the game on a ‘three,’ dancing around Urso’s painted number on the field.

Contact the desk editor at sports@dailytarheel.com

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