CCU men’s, women’s soccer teams score shutout wins

For the first time in four games the No. 18 Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team did not need overtime to down their opposition as goals by Justin Portillo and Ashton Bennett enabled the Chanticleers to roll past Florida Atlantic 2-0 in front of 658 fans at the CCU Soccer Field on Friday evening.

The win moves the Chanticleers to 3-1-1 (1-0-0, Big South) on the season and 1-0-0 in the Coastal Carolina Invitational, while the loss drops the Owls to 1-3-0 (0-0-0, Mid-American) and 0-1-0 in the Chanticleer-hosted tournament.  Wofford defeated Bowling Green 1-0 in the first game of the tournament.

The Chanticleers dominated play through the early portion of the first half as they continued to hold possession in their offensive third. Holding a 5-1 advantage in shots, the Chants finally broke through in the 27th minute thanks to a header by Portillo. Portillo was initially taken down inside the ’18 setting up a penalty kick for Coastal.  Portillo attempted the kick but it was saved by Florida Atlantic’s Jeremy Crumpton; however, the rebound deflected into the air where the junior midfielder headed it home for his second goal of the season.

The Chants continued to connect passes, many of which led to scoring opportunities, throughout the remainder of the half and would take the 1-nil lead into the locker room.

Florida Atlantic came out on the offensive to start the second stanza, but the stout Coastal backline would turn away each chance the Owls could muster.

After regaining their rhythm and putting posting four shots on frame the Chants found some breathing room off the foot of Bennett, the Big South Conference Preseason Player of the Year, in the 77th minute. Bennett, who finished the night with two of his five shot attempts on frame, took a pass from Ricky Garbanzo near the 18 before uncurling his fourth scoring strike of the season toward the far post.  Garbanzo and Bennett have now hooked up on three of Coastal’s last four goals. Moreover, for his Chanticleer career, Bennett is averaging one goal per game with 27 goals in 27 career games.

As much as the night belonged to the Coastal attackers, the Chanticleer defenders turned in an equally impressive performance.  The Coastal backline and goalkeeper Scott Shewfelt, who made his first start of the season in front of the home fans, limited the Owls to only five shots and none on goal for their third clean sheet of the season.

In all, the Chants finished the contest with 16 shots, including nine on net, and four corner opportunities. The Owls would force two corners and attempt only five shots.

The Chanticleers return to action on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 2:30 p.m. in the fourth and final game of the Coastal Carolina University Invitational as they take on the Falcons of Bowling Green.  Wofford and Florida Atlantic will square off in the third game of the tournament at Noon on Sunday.

* CCU women 3, The Citadel 0: For the third time this season, the Coastal Carolina women’s soccer team posted a 3-0 shutout victory, the latest coming over The Citadel on Friday afternoon at Washington Light Infantry Field in Charleston.

Sophomore forward Kacey Kelley scored two goals and sophomore midfielder Rylie Johnson added one as the Chanticleers improved to 3-3-0, already surpassing their 2011 season win total.

Senior Ashley Day, freshman Camille Christie and freshman Darbie Kelley each dished out one assist and junior goalkeeper Megan Spencer recorded her third shutout of the year as the Chants beat The Ctadel (0-4) for the seventh time in eight meetings.

Kelley, who returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games, got the Chants on the board in the 50th minute. Attacking with the ball on the right wing, Day sent a centering pass to Kelley just inside the box. All alone against the Citadel goalkeeper, Kelley calmly booted a high shot into the left side of the net.

The duo nearly combined again later when Kelley made a strong run, taking the ball just beyond midfield up the left side all the way to the end line before crossing it to Day for a shot that went high.

Just two minutes after that, Kelley made it 2-0 at the 70th-minute mark. A long shot by Christie forced a save and set up a corner kick. Christie then sent the corner to the close side of the box and Kelley headed it inside the near post for her third tally of the year.

The Chants capitalized on a corner kick again for their final goal in the 88th minute. Darbie Kelley put a high ball to the far corner of the penalty area where Johnson was there to head it in the near side and notch her second goal of the season.

Johnson’s goal came on the last of Coastal’s season-high 19 shots, 11 of them coming in the second half.

The Chanticleers also started the game strong, controlling possession for most of the first 20 minutes and recording six of the game’s first seven shots. Their first good scoring chance came less than two minutes in when a header by Johnson off a pass by freshman midfielder Fia Jonsson went wide.

In the ninth minute, Christie hit the top of the crossbar with a free kick from 35 yards, a ball similar to the one she scored on in the previous game against against Wofford. Kelley also skimmed the crossbar later in the half with a left-footed shot from 20 yards after making a run up the left side and getting away from a defender.

The Citadel recorded several shots in the last 15 minutes of the half, but the Chants still held an 8-7 edge at halftime, which came after nearly an hour and half delay because of lightning with under five minutes on the clock.

Spencer made one save in the game as the Bulldogs took 15 shots, but put just one on goal.

The Chants play their final non-conference game of the season on Thursday when they host UNC Wilmington for a 6 p.m. game.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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