CCU women clinch second in Big South Conference

ccuwsoc-battleThe Coastal Carolina women’s soccer team capped off the regular season with a 2-1 win at Charleston Southern on Tuesday afternoon, to clinch second place in the Big South and the No. 2 seed for the upcoming conference tournament.

Miki Antzoulatos and Brianna Panico scored unassisted goals in each half for the Chanticleers, who finished the regular season at 10-7-2 overall and 7-2-1 in the Big South. It marks the third straight 10-win season for CCU and gave the Chants their best placing in the conference since 2010.

Coastal totaled 22 points over its 10-game conference schedule and will either finish in second alone or tied with High Point, depending on the outcome of the Panthers’ finale Tuesday night. CCU would own the tiebreaker for seeding by virtue of its overtime win in the teams’ only matchup.

The Chanticleers will host a first round game of the Big South Tournament Saturday, Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. against the No. 7 seed.

Tuesday’s game started with wide-open play and few whistles. Both teams found a good amount of space, but were unable to generate many shots in the opening 10 minutes. Coastal had the majority of possession for most of the half, with CSU attempting to mount several counterattacks.

Kacey Kelley put two shots from just outside the box on goal, but Charleston Southern keeper Caitlin Cody made routine stops. In the 18th minute, Kelley sent a low cross from the left side to the near post but Christina Stern’s deflection was blocked away. Brenna Leftwich had the best opportunity to that point in the 37th minute as she took a throughpass by Antzoulatos into the right side of the box in space, but her shot went wide to the left.

The Chants then converted their fifth corner kick of the half into a goal in the 43rd minute. Ellie Taylor’s corner bounced around off several deflections right in front of the net and Antzoulatos followed up to put the last one in with Cody scrambling on the line. It was her first goal of the season and second of her career.

Charleston Southern’s best opportunity came on a header by leading scorer Anna Sells in the 23rd minute, but Coastal goalkeeper Becca Austin made one of her five saves of the opening half.

Coastal controlled the ball in the first part of the second half and Panico made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute. Her cross from the left side bounced back out to her and she fired a shot from the left corner of the box that slipped by Cody into the near side. It was also her first of the campaign, but seventh of her career.

Charleston Southern quickly answered with its only goal of the game just under four minutes later as Sells dribbled into the left part of the box and put a shot into right-side netting for her 11th of the year.

However, the Chants’ defense held the Buccaneers to just two shots the rest of the way to seal the victory. Austin made a nice save on a high shot shortly after the goal, the last of her career-high seven stops, and notched her sixth victory of the season.

Coastal outshot CSU 21-12, although the Buccaneers had a slim 8-7 edge in shots on goal. The Chants won the corner kick battle 8-4.

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