Chants open Big South play with shutout of rival Liberty

Sophomore Ricky Garbanzo scored twice and junior Matt Risher added a goal to lead the No. 18 Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team to a decisive 3-0 victory over rival Liberty in Lynchburg, Va., on Wednesday evening.

The win moves the Chanticleers, who are unbeaten in their last six games, to 5-1-2 (2-0-0, Big South) on the season as the Flames drop to 1-1-0 in Big South play and 2-4-0 overall.

Coastal wasted little time getting on the scoreboard after maintaining possession early. Risher received a through ball near the end line where he took two touches and launched a perfect cross toward the box. Garbanzo, who was streaking from the middle of the field, was able to rise above the Liberty defense and head the ball home. The seventh-minute goal was Garbanzo’s third of the season, while the assist was the first for Risher in a Chanticleer uniform.

The Chants found the net eight minutes later off the foot of Garbanzo. Ashton Bennett ignited the scoring play with a shot in front of the goal. Liberty’s Scott Sutarik was able to save Bennett’s attempt but not hang onto the ball. Garbanzo collected the loose ball on the right edge of the ’18 and uncorked a blast toward the far post. The goal marked Garbanzo’s first multi-goal game of his career.

Liberty produced a prime scoring opportunity in the 32nd minute; however, Federico Bertele stood strong and denied the attempt. Liberty’s Sam Duininck got a solid strike on the ball in traffic, but Bertele was able to get his right hand on the ball and knock it harmlessly out of bounds.

Risher provided Coastal with a 3-nil lead 20 seconds into the second half. The initial kickoff was deflected off a Flames defender and to the foot of Garbanzo. The sophomore forward proceeded to feed the ball ahead to Risher near the top of the ’18. Liberty’s keeper came out of the net to challenge Risher; however, the Charlotte, N.C., product hammered the ball past the keeper to the far post for his first goal of the season.

With 18:12 to play in the contest Bertele again proved why he owns a sub-one goals against average. A well-placed Flames’ cross was headed toward the goal by Austin Wyman, but Bertele was there with a leaping save to tip the ball over the cross bar.

The Chanticleers finished with an 18-9 advantage in shots and 6-4 edge in shots on frame. Bertele was credited with his second clean sheet of the season to improve to 3-1-2 on the campaign.

Coastal steps back out of conference play on Saturday, Sept. 22 as hosts to UNC Greensboro at the CCU Soccer Field. Kickoff for the contest is set for 7 p.m. Coastal trails 6-9-2 in the all-time series with UNC Greensboro.

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