Header puts No. 25 CCU in second round at Clemson

ccusoc-4Martin Melchor’s diving header in the 86th minute proved to be the only goal of the night as 25th-ranked Coastal Carolina defeated Florida Gulf Coast 1-0 in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday evening at the CCU Soccer Stadium.

The win, which improves the Chanticleers’ record to 16-5-1 overall, advances Coastal Carolina to the tournament’s second round where the team will travel to in-state foe Clemson. First kick at the seventh-seeded Tigers’ Historic Riggs Field is set for 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, and can viewed live on ESPN3. Clemson defeated the Chanticleers 2-1 in overtime back on Oct. 21.

With the score deadlocked at zero and just under five minutes remaining in regulation, freshman Elis Bjornsson raced around a FGCU defender toward the touchline on the right side of the field. Bjornsson was able to get a step on the defender and loft a cross into the box that was met by Melchor in full dive. Melchor redirected the ball into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season, while the assist marked Bjornsson’s sixth of the campaign.

Coastal owned the better of the possession battle throughout the contest. But the Eagle defense, which entered the contest ranked 15th in the nation with a 0.69 goals against average, showed their mettle and repeatedly turned away the Chanticleer attacking opportunities.

Despite FGCU’s strong defensive play, the Chanticleers still managed to attempt 18 shots, while forcing the Eagles’ Nathan Ingham to come up with six saves. Coastal was led on the evening by Melchor’s four shot attempts, while Ricky Garbanzo and Sergio Camargo each tallied three attempts.

Coastal was afforded a pair of opportunities to break the game open in the first half of play. Tommy Gudmundsson had a header clank off the crossbar in the 17th minute and Garbanzo’s direct kick around the FGCU wall of defenders from 22-yards out was saved by Ingham.

The Chanticleers finished the game with an 18-10 advantage in shots, including a 7-1 edge in shots on goal. The Chants also earned 13 corner kicks to FGCU’s two. Coastal’s Devin Cook-Perales recorded a single save in the winning effort as he notched his 30th career victory in just two seasons between the posts for the Chants.

Coastal, which is making its fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance, is now 5-0-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament matches played at the CCU Soccer Stadium with First Round wins in each of the past four seasons. The win also leveled CCU’s all-time Tournament record to 10-10-1.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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