The #11 Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team took top-seeded North Carolina to the brink of elimination, but ultimately fell by a 3-2 count in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship on Sunday in Chapel Hill.
The Chanticleers scored first and twice held a one goal lead in the match as Ashton Bennett and TeeJay East recorded goals.
North Carolina’s Enzo Martinez found the eventual game-winner in the 69th minute of play on a direct kick from 19-yards out. A Coastal handball just outside the ’18 set up Martinez’s scoring strike.
“I am really proud of the way our team played tonight,” said head coach Shaun Docking. “Our goal was to attack their defense and we were able to do that.”
“Ashton and TeeJay did a great job on their scoring plays. We had some great scoring looks down the stretch including in the last ten seconds, before the handball that went uncalled.”
Trailing 3-2 with time winding down in the contest, the Chants mounted one final scoring run as Henrik Robstad launched a cross from the left side of the box to Luis Faz. However, a North Carolina handball inside the keeper’s box went uncalled as time expired.
After three near goals, the Chanticleers finally broke through on the scoreboard in the 41st minute as Bennett found his 23rd goal of the season. Shawn McLaws ignited the scoring play with a pass ahead to Pedro Riberio. The sophomore then played a well-placed cross to the foot of Bennett who fired his shot inside the far post to give the Chants the early 1-nil lead.
North Carolina responded in the fifth minute of the second half as Ben Speas took a Scott Goodwin goal, dribbled through the Coastal and chipped the ball past an Angevine sliding save attempt.
Coastal responded 1:24 later as East found the back of the net to regain the Chants one goal advantage. Bennett fed a low-lying through ball to the foot of East who pushed his eighth goal of the season past the diving Tar Heel keeper.
North Carolina knotted the score for the second time 39 seconds later as Kirk Urso scored his third goal of the year. Urso collected a long rebound and hammered home a shot to the upper 90 from 30-yards out.
After 10 minutes of feeling each other out, both sides put well placed shots on frame; however, both keepers were up to the task. North Carolina attacked first as Billy Shuler ripped a blast from 15-yards out that was saved by Angevine.
On UNC’s ensuing corner, Scott Angevine converted the second of his six saves as he pulled down a Jordan Gafa header attempt. The Chants countered on their next possession with Bennett heading the ball to the foot of Ricky Garbanzo who proceeded to uncork a blast that was saved by the Tar Heel keeper.
The Chants were afforded another prime scoring opportunity in the 35th minute as Robby Joe Daniels
launched a deep throw into the box. Bennett elevated above the Tar Heel defense and headed the ball just wide of the post.
The Chanticleers finished the contest with 17 shots, including seven on frame. North Carolina recorded 22 shots in the match and held a 7-1 edge in corner kicks. The sides combined to be whistled for 41 fouls and booked with seven cautions.
Coastal finishes the season with an 18-4 overall record, including a 9-0 Big South mark. North Carolina will host Indiana in the third round of the tournament on Sunday, Nov. 27.