No. 8 Chanticleers dominate Big South awards with 14

The No. 8 nationally-ranked Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team garnered a total of 14 All-Big South honors, including the leagues attacking, defensive and coach of the year honors, released by the conference office Monday.

Head coach Shaun Docking was named Big South Coach of the Year, Ashton Bennett received Attacking Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year went to Kjartan Sigurdsson. Joining Bennett and Sigurdsson on the first team were Ricky Garbanzo, Pedro Ribeiro and Justin Portillo. Defenders Henrik Robstad and Uchenna Uzo along with netminder Federico Bertele earned second-team all-conference honors, while Jhamie Hyde and Tevin Skyers earned all-freshman plaudits. Robstad was also named to the Big South All-Academic Team.

Docking earned his second-straight and seventh Big South Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year nod after guiding his squad to a 16-1-2 overall record and a perfect 10-0-0 mark in Big South play to pick up Coastal Carolina’s 11th Big South regular season championship.  The Chanticleers are ranked No. 8 in the national polls, as well as No. 1 in the nation with 48 total goals and No. 2 in Division I with 145 points. Coastal’s 2.53 goals per game is good for No. 5 in the country.  He is the only coach in Big South Conference history to earn multiple back-to-back Coach of the Year honors as he was named Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2003.  Docking posted seven first-place votes and 15 points as Marc Reeves from Radford finished second in the voting with two No. 1 votes and nine points.

Ashton Bennett, a senior from Clarendon, Jamaica, became just the third player in Big South Conference history to be named the league’s Attacking Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons.  He led the Chants to the No. 1 seed in the Big South Men’s Soccer Championship as he finished the regular season ranked in the top 20 in the country in four offensive categories.  The consensus Preseason All-American closed out the regular-season ranked No. 8 in the country with 32 total points and No. 10 in the nation with 13 total goals. His 1.68 points per game is currently ranked No. 16 in Division I, while his 0.68 goals per game is good for No. 20 in the nation.  Bennett was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week twice this season and was named to the Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Week on Oct. 15.  He was named to the 2012 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch list this season after being voted a Hermann Trophy semifinalist during the 2011 season.  Bennett posted five multi-goal games on the year and scored a point in 12 of the Chanticleers’ 19 matches this season.  Bennett recorded eight first-place votes to finish with 17 points, ahead of Mitchell Cardenas of Campbell, who notched two top bids and nine points.

Sigurdsson, a sophomore from Fludir, Iceland, was named one of 10 Sophomores to Watch this season by Top Drawer Soccer. He is one of just four Chanticleer players to start all 18 games for Coastal this season.  He organized a Coastal Carolina backline that finished the regular-season ranked No. 6 in the nation with a 0.61 team goals against average.  Sigurdsson helped the Chanticleers to 10 shutouts on the year, including eight in league matches.  His play anchored the Coastal Carolina backline that allowed just 12 goals on the year, with two coming in conference games. Sigurdsson was honored as the conference’s Freshman of the Year last season. Sigurdsson posted six first-place votes and 13 points, ahead of Fejiro Okiomah of High Point, who received two top bids and eight points.

Garbanzo, a sophomore, earns his second league honor after being named to the all-freshman team a year ago. The Rock Hill, S.C., native finished second in the Big South with 10 regular season goals. He earned four national team of the week honors and one Big South Attacking Player of the Week this season. The 5-foot-7 forward netted his first career hat trick in Coastal’s 3-2 win at in-state rival South Carolina.

Ribeiro, who was named to his second consecutive All-Big South first team, currently ranks second on the team with eight assists while starting in 15 games for the Chanticleers as a midfielder. He ranks ninth among the NCAA leaders with a 0.53 assist per game average. He was named to the MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List to start the season. Ribeiro has also contributed two game-winning scores for the Chanticleers.

Portillo also earns his second straight first team nod with his exceptional play in the Chanticleer midfield. The junior ranks ninth in the country with nine assists and 20th with a 0.47 assists per contest average. Portillo has counted three goals this season, including the first Chanticleer marker of the season. The New Orleans, La., native has netted a pair of game-winning goals while assisting on five others.

Robstad was one of four Chants to start each game for the Chanticleers, earning all 19 starts at the left back position. He connected on four assists, tying for fifth on the team and played a big role in establishing field position with his long throw-ins and versatile performance on the offensive and defensive end. He counted the game-winner in Coastal’s 3-1 win over College of Charleston, his only goal of the season.

Uzo, a sophomore, was twice named the Big South Defensive Player of the Week (Sept. 18 and Oct 22) and once named to the Top Drawer Soccer National team of the Week (Oct. 22) for his work along the backline. With Uzo in the back, the Chants have allowed only 12 goals, including a paltry two in conference play. The Lagos, Nigeria, native has also been a threat on the offensive end of the field as he has scored three goals, including the game-winners against Elon and Winthrop.

Sophomore goalkeeper Federico Bertele is well on his way to turning in one of the finest single seasons in Chanticleer soccer history. The Milano, Italy, native ranks eighth in the NCAA with a 0.628 goals against average and 40th with a .800 save percentage. He has recorded six solo shutouts, each coming in conference play, with partial clean sheets in two additional games. He has recorded 40 saves on 50 opponent shots on goal.

Hyde has made an immediate impact along the Coastal backline in his first collegiate season. He has helped the Chants to a 0.61 goals against average, which ranks sixth in the NCAA and tops in the Big South. He has played an instrumental part in limiting opponents to 8.42 shots per game and only 3.31 on goal.

Skyers, a Jamaican striker, was named the 54th Top Freshman in the Nation by Top Drawer Soccer. His four goal tally ranks tied for third on the team, while his 10 points (4g/2a) rank tied for fifth. Skyers scored two goals in 40 minutes off the bench to lead Coastal to a 2-1 win over UNC Greensboro on Sept. 22. The newcomer turned in a five point game at VMI with a goal and a pair of assists.

Coastal hosts Presbyterian College in the quarterfinal of the Big South Conference Tournament on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the CCU Soccer Field.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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