Bennett scores two goals to lead No. 13 Chants to win

Senior striker Ashton Bennett scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season as the No. 13 Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team stream rolled the visiting UNC Asheville Bulldogs 3-0 on Saturday evening at the CCU Soccer Field.

Bennett’s pair of goals were his 29th and 30th of his career in a Chanticleer uniform, moving him into a tie for ninth all-time in the CCU record book for career goals.  The Clarendon, Jamaica, native tied David Skulason (1985-89) and Mario Benjamin (1998-00) with 30 career counters despite having played in only 34 games over the past two seasons.

The win kept the Chants perfect in the Big South with a 4-0-0 record and improved them to 9-1-2 overall. The loss drops UNC Asheville to 1-11-0 (0-5-0, Big South). Moreover, the Chanticleers have yet to allow a conference opponent to find the back of the net, while scoring 13 goals of their own.

It took just 98 seconds for Coastal to take a 1-nil lead on the visiting Bulldogs. Justin Portillo sent a corner kick into the box where it was headed down by Uchenna Uzo to the foot of Kjartan Sigurdsson. Sigurdsson turned and fired the ball home for his first goal of the season.

Coastal dominated the possession throughout the remainder of the half, but were unable to find an additional goal before the break.  Despite the scoreboard only showing a 1-0 lead at the break, Coastal held a commanding 16-1 advantage in shots and a 3-0 lead in corner attempts.

The Chanticleers struggled to find open passing lanes early in the second half as UNC Asheville packed all 11 players in its defensive third.  Nevertheless Coastal continually worked toward the goal and in the 73rd minute that work paid off in the form of a Bennett header. Henrik Robstad sent a through ball into the box where it was flicked over the UNC Asheville keeper by Bennett.

In the 82nd minute of action, Bennett made his own way through the Bulldog defense to give Coastal a 3-0 lead. Portillo laid a touch pass to Bennett just outside the 18-yard box. The speedy forward proceeded to dribble through the box, defeating four Bulldog defenders along the way, before unleashing his scoring blast from near the touch line on the right side of the goal. The goal marked Bennett’s second multi-goal game of the season and first since the team’s season-opening win over Longwood.

The Coastal defense held their counterparts to only three shots with none on goal.  UNC Asheville only truly threatened once, but the Bulldogs were dispossessed before a shot could be attempted.

The Chants have posted back-to-back shutout wins and have outscored their opponents 27-8 on the season.

Coastal finished the match with a 28-3 shot advantage, including a 13-0 lead in shots on frame. Goalkeeper Federico Bertele was credited with the shutout and improved his season goals against average to an impressive 0.63.

Coastal plays five of its final seven regular season games away from Conway, starting on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at Campbell. The Chants downed Campbell 5-1 in last season’s meeting to even the all-time series against the Fighting Camels at 10-10-1.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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