No. 6 Chants run Big South undefeated streak to 26

Ricky Garbanzo scored in the 31st minute of play and sixth-ranked Coastal Carolina made the lone goal hold up the rest of the way to prevail with a 1-nil victory over Radford in a Sunday matinee at the CCU Soccer Field.

The win marked the 10th consecutive for the Chanticleers and improves the squad to 11-2-0 overall and a perfect 6-0-0 in Big South play. The 10-game winning streak is the longest current streak in the nation and Coastal’s third 10-plus match win streak in the past three seasons.

In addition, the win pushed CCU’s current Big South regular season unbeaten stretch to 26 games (25-0-1). Radford dropped to 4-5-3 (2-3-1 Big South) with the loss.

Garbanzo found the game’s single goal at the 30:50 mark in the first half. Pedro Ribeiro received a pass on the left flank and drove toward the left corner of the 18-yard before shaking a Highlander defender and centering a waist-high cross across the goal mouth. Garbanzo, who had made a great run through the midfield, finished Ribeiro’s cross past the diving keeper.

The goal was Garbanzo’s team-leading seventh of the season and his fifth in the past four games. Moreover, of the junior’s seven goals this year, four have proven to be game-winners. The assist was Ribeiro’s fourth of the campaign and third on a goal by Garbanzo.

Justin Portillo had a great look to give the Chants a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute as his shot appeared to beat Radford’s Dane Wilson. However, the ball deflected off Wilson and into the air then ricocheted off a Chanticleer out of play.

After exchanging segments of possession in the first half, the Chanticleer took control of the possession game in the second period and racked up 11 shots to the Highlanders’ three. The Radford defense held fast against the CCU attack, not allowing the Chants to find quality shots inside the ’18 over the final 45 minutes of play.

“This was a good win against a quality opponent,” said 16th-year head coach Shaun Docking. “We played good soccer today, we still need to work on finishing opportunities, but overall I am pleased with today’s performance.

Coastal, who was led on the day by Le Bras’ five shots, ended the match with an 18-10 lead in shots, including an 8-3 advantage in shots on goal. CCU also held a 7-2 edge in corner kicks.

Chanticleer keeper Devin Cook turned in a three-save performance to earn his seventh shutout of the season. Cook’s seven clean sheets this season move him into a tie for fifth on the all-time CCU single season list, while his 0.79 goal against average is best in the Big South.

Coastal returns to the pitch at the CCU Soccer field on Friday, Oct. 25 hosting rival Liberty at 3 p.m. The Chants hold a 14-7-1 lead in the series against the Flames, including a 3-0 win in Lynchburg last season.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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