Lady Chants’ winning streak ends in regular season finale

Despite a late comeback bid, the Coastal Carolina women’s soccer team fell to Charleston Southern 2-1 in the regular-season finale Tuesday afternoon at Buccaneer Field.

The defeat was the first in six games for the Chanticleers, who dropped to 10-8-0 overall and 7-4-0 in the Big South Conference. Charleston Southern finished the regular season at 7-10-1 overall and 5-6-0 in the conference.

All three goals were scored in the second half, with the Buccaneers getting the first two.

Coastal closed within a goal when freshman Fia Jonsson scored off an assist by sophomore Kacey Kelley with 5:44 remaining. Kelley took a long ball in the air 30 yards out and headed it ahead to Jonsson, who was alone against the goalkeeper inside the penalty box. Jonsson calmly put a low shot inside the right post for her sixth goal of the season and fourth in the last four games. The assist was Kelley’s first of her career.

The Chants tried to keep the pressure on and get the equalizer and had a great chance at the 86-minute mark. Senior Ashley Day sent a cross from the left corner of the 18-yard box toward the far post, where Kelley deflected it toward the near corner. However, Charleston Southern goalkeeper Caitlin Cody was able to get over in time to block it away.

The Buccaneers were then able to get the ball down to their offensive half and run more than two minutes off the clock. Coastal regained possession and worked the ball back down toward the Charleston Southern goal, but was unable to generate another opportunity.

The Chants outshot Charleston Southern 14-5 in the first half, including a dominant 9-1 edge in the last 30 minutes, but were unable to find the back of the net. In the 7th minute, Day made a slick play to dribble a cross from junior Christina Stern out of the air to herself and get off a strong shot, but it hit the crossbar on the right side of the goal. Kelley then had a couple of chances on headers, but the first was saved by Cody and the second off of a Jonsson corner kick went just over the bar. Later, Jonsson beat her defender and crossed in front to senior Morgan Thomas, but her one-touch shot went wide.

Charleston Southern then struck suddenly just a minute and a half into the second half. A loose ball in front off of a corner kick went to Chloe Urig and she kicked it through traffic inside the near post for her first goal of the season.

The goal seemed to energize the Buccaneers, who recorded three straight shots after the goal before getting the eventual game-winner in the 66th minute. Chelsea Frankeny took a pass up the right side, dribbled toward the box and put a well-struck, 25-yard shot high off the left post and in.

Coastal finished with a 27-16 shot advantage and a 9-8 edge in attempts on goal. The Chanticleers’ totaled nine corners kicks to just two for the Buccaneers. The eight shots on goal were the most an opponent has recorded against the Chants since Winthrop had eight in the conference opener. Junior goalkeeper Megan Spencer recorded six saves in net.

Coastal will either finish fourth or fifth in the Big South, depending on the outcome of Tuesday night’s game between Winthrop and Gardner-Webb. A Winthrop loss would give the Chants the fourth seed and a home game in this weekend’s first round of the Big South Tournament. If the Eagles win or tie, Coastal will be the fifth seed and play on the road.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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