Coastal wins 11 awards on eve of Big South tourney

ccusoccer-garbanzocornerThe No. 12 nationally-ranked Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team garnered a total of 11 All-Big South honors, including the league’s attacking and defensive player of the year awards, released the conference office Monday.

Pedro Ribeiro was named the Attacking Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year went to Shawn McLaws. Joining Ribeiro and McLaws on the all-conference first team were Justin Portillo, Devin Cook and Ricky Garbanzo. Defender Uchenna Uzo was named to the second team, while Sergio Camargo and Kai Morton earned all-freshman plaudits. Portillo was also named to the Big South All-Academic Team.

This marks the third consecutive year that Chanticleers have swept the conference’s attacking and defensive player of the year awards. Ashton Bennett was named the Attacking Player of the Year in both 2011 and 2012, while Defensive Player of the Year honors went to Cyprian Hedrick in 2011 and Kjartan Sigurdsson in 2012.

Ribeiro, a senior from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, was tabbed a consensus Preseason All-American coming into the season.  He was named the 30th-best player in the nation according to TopDrawerSoccer.com and was named to the Hermann Trophy Watch List during the 2013 campaign.  Ribeiro currently ranks third in the league and 15th in Division I with 1.53 points per game and is 14th in the country and third in the Big South with 26 total points.  He earned College Soccer News National Team of the Week honors on Sept. 16 and Oct. 7 and his 10 total goals, including two scores in the 4-2 win over UNC Greensboro, this season are tied for fourth in the Big South. The field general for the Chanticleers, Ribeiro dished out six assists on the season.  Ribeiro notched six first-place votes from the panel to finish with 16 points, ahead of Denzel Clark of Gardner-Webb who notched three top bids and 10 points.

McLaws a junior from Edmond, Okla., is the anchor along the backline for a Chanticleer defense that is ranked 16th in the country with a .500 shutout percentage.  He is Coastal’s most versatile defender as he has led the defense to nine shutouts during the 2013 campaign.  Coastal Carolina currently posts a goals against average of .88 thanks in large part to McLaws’ marking ability of opposing team’s top scorers.  McLaws was twice named the Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Week as his marks were held without a goal during the contest.  McLaws received six top bids and 15 points.  Marius Hammersmark of Gardner-Webb came in second in the voting with three first-place votes and nine points.

Portillo also earns his third straight first team nod with his exceptional play in the Chanticleer midfield. The senior ranks 10th in the country with nine assists and 11th with a 0.50 assist per contest average. Portillo has assisted on three game-winners during the season. The New Orleans, La., native has started all 18 games in the midfield this season and is tied for first on the CCU career matches played list.

Garbanzo, a junior, earns his third league honor after being named to the all-freshman team in 2011 and a first teamer last year. The Rock Hill, S.C., native led Coastal with 11 regular season goals, tying for second in the conference. He earned one national team of the week honors and two Big South Attacking Player of the Week nods this season. The forward co-leads the conference with three multi-goal games.

Sophomore goalkeeper Devin Cook has turned in one of the finest single seasons in Chanticleer soccer history. The Simi Valley, Calif., native set the CCU all-time single season shutout record with nine during the regular season. He has recorded 43 saves on 50 opponent shots on goal. His 0.85 goals against average are tops in the Big South.

Uzo, a junior, was named the Big South Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 11 for his work along the backline. With Uzo in the back, the Chants have allowed only 16 goals, including a sparse five in conference play. The Lagos, Nigeria, native has helped lead the Chants to a 0.88 goals against average and a .500 shutout percentage. Uzo also earned second team honors last season.

Camargo, a Canadian forward, was named the 54th Top Freshman in the Nation by TopDrawerSoccer.com. His five goal tally ranks third on the team, while his 15 points (5g/5a) is also third-best. Camargo scored his first multi-goal game of his career to lead Coastal past South Carolina on Sept. 10. The newcomer also has three game-winning goals on the campaign.

Morton has made an immediate impact along the Coastal backline in his first collegiate season. He has helped the Chants to a 0.88 goals against average, which is best in the Big South. He has played an instrumental part in limiting opponents to 9.05 shots per game and only 3.44 on goal. He scored his first collegiate goal on a header at Presbyterian on Sept. 13.

Coastal hosts Winthrop in the quarterfinal of the Big South Conference Tournament Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the CCU Soccer Field.The Chanticleers, who wrapped up their 12th Big South regular season title with a win on Wednesday, end the regular season with a 14-4-0 overall record and a 9-1-0 Big South mark.

Coastal has won the past three Big South regular season titles with a combined 28-1-0 record against league competition.

By virtue of their regular season title, the Chanticleers are the top seed in the forthcoming Big South Tournament and will host the eighth-seeded Winthrop Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the CCU Soccer Field. The semifinals and championship will be held Nov. 15 and 17 at Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C.

 

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