CCU soccer climbs in polls; Garbanzo wins top honors

ccusoc-garbanzogreenAfter turning in a season-opening upset at No. 8 Connecticut, the Coastal Carolina men’s soccer program surged up the national polls landing at a high of ninth in the Soccer America poll.

The Chanticleers sit 11th in both the NSCAA/Continental Tire top-25 and College Soccer News top-30 rankings as well as 13th in the TopDrawerSoccer.com poll. In addition, MAC Hermann Trophy candidate Ricky Garbanzo was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week and the Big South Attacking Player of the Week.

The Chanticleers turned in one of the larger upsets of the opening weekend with their defeat of No. 8 UConn on Friday, Aug. 29, at the Huskies’ Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. Coastal was forced to overcome a two-goal deficit in the second half to rally for the 3-2 victory. The loss marked UConn’s first in a home season-opener since the 2006 season.

The victory was Coastal’s second straight over a ranked opponent in a season-opener, notching a win over No. 17 Wake Forest in 2013’s season starter as well. In addition, the win marked the second straight season the Chants had upended a top-10 opponent, having defeated No. 5 VCU on Sept. 21 last season.

Garbanzo, a Soccer America Preseason All-American, earned his honors after leading the Coastal comeback against the Huskies. After the Chants fell behind 2-0 in the 52nd minute, the senior forward ignited Coastal’s comeback with an assist on Ollivier Gueguen’s goal in the 56th minute, then assisted Louis Dargent’s game-tying goal in the 62nd minute. Garbanzo then found the back of the net in the 72nd minute for the 15th game-winning goal of his career. For his efforts, he was named one of three Capital One Cup Impact Performers of the Week.

Coastal Carolina will take its lofty ranking to Charlotte, N.C., to face the Charlotte 49ers this Friday (Sept. 5) at 7 pm. The 49ers, who are receiving votes in the NSCAA poll, have defeated Coastal in each of the sides’ last three regular season meetings. However, Coastal claimed the most recent match of the series by a 1-0 tally in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament on the 49ers’ home turf.

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