No. 13 Chants open season with Tobacco Road twinbill

The Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team opens the 2013 season ranked No. 13 in the nation, and the Chanticleers don’t have to wait very long to get a couple of golden opportunities to back it up.

Opening its 34th season with arguably the toughest two-game stretch in program history. The Chants play in the Carolina Nike Classic, starting on Friday at 8 p.m. at No. 17 Wake Forest. The road doesn’t get any easier as Coastal then travels to No. 4 North Carolina for a 7 p.m. first kick on Sunday.

Coastal enters the 2013 campaign ranked 13th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason top 25 poll, the official poll recognized by the NCAA. The Chants rank 15th by Soccer America and 17th by both TopDrawerSoccer.com and College Soccer News.

Coastal finished the 2012 campaign ranked 11th by the NSCAA. In all, Coastal posted a mark of 20-3-2 and captured its second straight and 11th overall Big South Conference regular-season championship with a perfect 10-0-0 mark in league play.

The Chants return seven starters and nine letter winners from a team that made a deep postseason run – reaching the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time since 2003. Headlining the list of returnees this fall is College Soccer News Preseason All-American and Hermann Trophy Watch List honoree Pedro Ribeiro (5g/10a in 2012).

Other key returners include senior midfielder Justin Portillo (4g/10a) and junior defenders Uchenna Uzo (23 starts) and Shawn McLaws (25 starts). Coastal also welcomes in a recruiting class of 19 for the 2013 campaign.

Over the past two seasons Coastal Carolina and traditional power program Creighton have each won an NCAA-high 38 games. Coastal won 18 games in 2011 and 20 games in 2012. Creighton amassed 21 wins in 2011 and 17 in 2012.

Coastal has appeared in the NCAA Tournament in each of the past two seasons, falling to eventual nation champion North Carolina in 2011’s second round and to College Cup participant Maryland in 2012’s third round.

Photo by Joel Beachum, Carolina Click Photos

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