No. 10 Chants play to a tie with No. 1 North Carolina

The 10th nationally ranked Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team played consensus preseason No. 1 North Carolina to a 1-1 draw in an exhibition game on Sunday afternoon at the Koka Booth Stadium inside the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.

The Chants opened play just as they had against the Tar Heels in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament – on the offensive.  Through the first 20 minutes of play Coastal produced a pair of prime scoring opportunities.

The first opportunity saw midfielder Pedro Ribeiro intercepted a pass on the right flank and play a through ball ahead to streaking Preseason Big South Player of the Year Ashton Bennett. However once Bennett received the ball, he was unable to get a solid boot on it resulting in the shot sailing wide.

With just under 27 minutes to play in the first stanza, Coastal again nearly found the back of the net as Kjartan Sigurdsson hit the right post after a Robby Joe Daniels throw-in and was deflected down Ribeiro.

The Chants would fail to convert on a penalty kick in the 34th minute after a hand ball in the box was called on the Tar Heels.

North Carolina struggled to maintain possession throughout the half and only mustered a single shot attempt as the squads went into the locker rooms with zeros showing on the scoreboard.

Coastal continued its offensive onslaught in the second half as the defending Big South regular season champions tallied four shots in the first 10 minutes of the half.

North Carolina would catch the Chants out of position on a counterattack in the 53rd minute and control the ball well into the ‘18. However, the Tar Heels would come away without a shot as the Chanticleer backline collapsed and cleared the ball away.

North Carolina, the defending national champions, would get on the board first as Martin Murphy found the back of the net in the 69th minute. Jordan Gaffa and Danny Garcia were credited with the assists.

Bennett, who led the nation with 23 goals last season, provided the equalizer nine minutes later off a set piece as he fired a low-lying shot to the right corner of the net from 21 yards out. Uchenna Uzo was fouled by a North Carolina defender, setting up Bennett’s strike.

Ribeiro nearly converted the game-winner a few minutes later as he uncorked a blast from the right side that was deflected over the crossbar by the North Carolina goalkeeper.

Coastal finished the contest with an 11-3 edge in shots and a 4-1 advantage in shots on goal.

The Chanticleers now turn their attention toward the regular season and newly minted Big South Conference member Longwood.

Fans, please note the Chanticleers’ regular season opener against Longwood at the CCU Soccer Field will be played at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, instead of 3 p.m. as originally scheduled.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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