Stern’s goal, stingy defense help Coastal douse Flames

This time it was the Coastal Carolina women’s soccer team’s turn to prevail in a one-goal game, as the Chanticleers got a first-half tally by junior forward Christina Stern to knock off Liberty 1-0 in Big South Conference play Thursday night at the CCU Soccer Field.

The Chants, who had dropped three consecutive one-goal contests, improved to 4-6-0 overall and 1-2-0 in the Big South. Liberty had its four-game win streak snapped and dropped to 8-4-0 overall and 2-1-0 in the conference.

In a game where scoring opportunities – and even shots – were tough to come by for both teams, the Chants made a chance in the 17th minute pay off. Senior forward Ashley Day took the ball down the right side toward the corner, fended off a defender and sent a perfect cross to the back post. Stern was there near the six-yard box and got a perfect deflection in the air with her foot into the near side for her first goal of the season. The assist was Day’s second of the year.

While Coastal wasn’t able to build on the lead, the one-goal advantage was never much in jeopardy the rest of the way, thanks to superb team defensive play that held Liberty to two shots for the game and none on goal. It was the fewest shots CCU has allowed this season and the second time it has held an opponent without an attempt on net.

While the Chants recorded just seven shots in the game, they controlled much of the play in the midfield with aggressive pressure and when the Flames did appear to have an opening, they was quickly closed it. One of those times came with just over 10 minutes left in the second half. With Liberty’s Maddie Boone charging hard with the ball up the middle, senior defender Cami Skladany rushed forward to block her path and knock the ball away.

With just over three minutes remaining, the Flames got a free kick from the left side and then a subsequent corner kick, but couldn’t generate a chance on either one. The Chants got possession and maintained it until the final whistle to secure the team’s fourth shutout of the year.

“After last weekend we challenged the kids to see if they could come back this week and have a good week of training,” head coach Paul Hogan said. “The kids responded well. They were fantastic tonight. The kids on the bench who weren’t playing much were positive and the kids that played were awesome. I’m really proud of our girls tonight. They were just unrelenting.”

Sophomore Kacey Kelley had five of the shots for the Chants, putting three on goal, including a header early in the first half. Coastal drew seven corner kicks to just two for Liberty.

The Chants are back at home on Saturday, Sept. 29 for a 1 p.m. game against Longwood. The Coastal men follow with a matchup against Presbyterian College at 3:30 p.m.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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