Chants earn top 25 ranking; Garbanzo makes watch list

ccusoc-garbanzogreenAfter a advancing to the third round of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season in 2013, the Coastal Carolina University men’s soccer program is ranked 17th nationally in the 2014 preseason coaches’ poll, administered by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

Defending NCAA champion Notre Dame will begin the 2014 campaign where it finished the previous season – at No. 1 – while Maryland, Virginia, UCLA and New Mexico round of the nation’s top five programs.

Each of the Coastal’s first three matches of the 2014 regular season comes against ranked opponents. The Chanticleers open on the road at No. 8 UConn (Aug. 29) and at No. 2 Maryland (Sept. 1) before wrapping up its three-game road trip at No. 23 Charlotte (Sept. 5). Coastal plays in front of the home fans for the first time on Sept. 13, against Furman.

Coastal is coming off a 19-win campaign that was also highlighted the program’s 12th Big South regular season and 11th tournament championship. In addition, Coastal ranked No. 15 in the final NSCAA poll, marking the third consecutive and sixth time overall that the Chanticleers have ended the season ranked among the top 25 programs in the nation.

The Chants finished the 2013 season ranked second in the NCAA with 47 goals and third in both assists (44) and total points (138). However, this season, veteran head coach Shaun Docking will need to replace 21 goals and 23 assists due to losses via graduation. But, those losses should be minimalized as Docking returns 12 student-athletes, including eight starters, from last year’s team. At the top of the list of key returners are Shawn McLaws, the reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Year, and Ricky Garbanzo, the conference’s all-time leader in game-winning goals.

In addition to McLaws and Garbanzo, Coastal also returns two-year starting defender Uchenna Uzo, starting goalkeeper Devin Cook-Perales and 2013’s third-leading scorer Sergio Camargo. Uzo has helped anchor the Chants’ backline since his arrival in 2012. Cook-Perales proved to be a valuable force in net last year, notching 12 clean sheets to go along with a .771 save percentage. Camargo is coming off a stellar rookie campaign that featured nine goals and five assists and Big South All-Freshman team honors. Also returning for the Chants are defenders Ridge Robinson, Frederik Frankman and Pierre Morin, midfielder Colin Marz and Joel Perez along with forwards Agust Arnarson and Kevin Le Bras.

Garbanzo Named to MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List

Senior forward Ricky Garbanzo is one of 32 men’s soccer players named to the Missouri Athletic Club’s Hermann Trophy Watch List for 2014, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) announced Wednesday afternoon.

Considered the highest individual honor in intercollegiate soccer, the recipient of the MAC Hermann Trophy is selected by Division I head coaches who are current members of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). The preseason Watch List is compiled by the NSCAA Men’s NCAA Division I All-America Committee, based on their analysis of returning All-America and All-Region players, as well as any prominent newcomers.

This marks the third consecutive year that Coastal has had a student-athlete recognized on the Hermann Trophy Watch List. Last season Pedro Ribeiro, who went on to be named a semifinalist for the award, was named to the initial list. In 2012, both Ribeiro and two-time first team All-American Ashton Bennett were recognized on the Watch List.

Garbanzo, a Rock Hill, native, enters his senior campaign as one of Coastal’s most dynamic goal scorers, having notched 32 goals in his 71 matches played in a Chanticleer uniform. The 5-foot-7 striker is a two-time Big South first team selection and has tallied a total of six national team of the week honors. Moreover, in Garbanzo’s three seasons he has accounted for 14 game-winning goals, ranking him atop both the CCU and Big South all-time list.

In Garbanzo’s three seasons at Coastal, the Chanticleers own a 57-12-2 record and have won a Big South Conference tournament championship and three regular season titles. Additionally, Garbanzo has helped lead Coastal to a total of eight rounds of NCAA Tournament play spread across his three campaigns.

From that pool of 30, six finalists (three men, three women) will be chosen for the award. The winners will be announced in January.

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