UNC played its season opener Saturday night without four of its top five scorers from last year’s NCAA championship team in Billy Schuler, Enzo Martinez, Ben Speas and Matt Hedges. The only returning top scorer, junior Rob Lovejoy, missed the season opener after offseason surgery.
But the Tar Heels suffered an even worse loss earlier in August when last year’s captain Kirk Urso died.
“I think there are big shoes to fill,” said senior and team captain Jordan Gafa. “I don’t try to live up to his expectations because I don’t think it’s possible. What I can do is do my best, and that’s what he would want from me.
UNC honored Urso before its 4-0 victory against Gardner-Webb with a moment of silence. The team then gathered around one of two number 3 logos on Fetzer Field, which honor Urso’s memory with his jersey number. Flowers, a box in which fans could place written remembrances and a large picture of Urso were also on display at the game in memory of UNC’s former captain.