CONWAY – Goals by Ricky Garbanzo and Kevin Le Bras in a span of 59 seconds in the middle of the first half was all the No. 10/13 Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team needed to hand VMI a 2-0 defeat on Friday evening at the CCU Soccer Field.
The Chanticleers’ record now stands at 9-2-0 (4-0-0 Big South) on the season, as the win was CCU’s 16th straight over VMI. The Keydets are saddled with a 1-9-1 (1-4-0 Big South) record with the loss.
After 20-plus minutes of dominating the pace of play, but not finding a goal, Garbanzo gave the Chanticleers a 1-nil lead at the 23:14 mark with his fifth goal of the season. Pedro Ribeiro initiated the scoring play as he played a ball from the left side of the ’18 out to the top of the box to Sergio Camargo. Camargo proceeded to rip a shot that appeared destined for the arms of VMI Daniel Kitchen; however, Garbanzo deflected the shot in mid-air and into the back of the net. Garbanzo, a native of Rock Hill, S.C., has scored a trio of goal in Coastal’s last two games and has three of Coastal’s nine game-winning goals.
Fifty-nine seconds later Kevin Le Bras, who entered the match in the 21st minute, netted his first collegiate goal from 17-yards out. The freshman forward collected the ball in space following a Justin Portillo shot that was blocked, but not controlled, by a pair of Keydet defenders. With the goal, Le Bras becomes the ninth different Chanticleer to score a goal this season.
Following the outburst of goals, the Chants continued to control possession and press forward in search of additional scoring strikes. However, the VMI defense entrenched itself in the defensive third and forced Coastal to shoot from long-range.
The second half played the same as the first stanza ended with VMI dropping nine defenders behind the ball and forcing the Chants to pick their way toward the goal via short passes. Despite attempting 17 shots and tallying seven corners during the second half of play, the Chants were unable to add to their 2-0 lead.
The Chanticleers closed the contest outshooting the Keydets, 34-4, and held a 13-1 advantage in corner kicks. Of Coastal’s 34 shots, eight were on goal and nine were block by VMI defensemen.
CCU’s Devin Cook earned the win in net with a one-save performance to improve his record to 8-2-0. Cook has turned in six clean sheets on the season, tying for ninth on the CCU single season list.
Coastal has now won eight consecutive games after starting the season 1-2-0. In addition, the Chants stretched their record-setting Big South conference regular season winning streak to 23 games and unbeaten streak to 24 games. Both streaks are currently the longest in the nation.
Coastal returns to action on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at Big South foe Winthrop. Kickoff from Eagle Field in Rock Hill, S.C., is set for 6 p.m. Coastal owns a 25-17-2 lead in the all-time series against its Palmetto state rivals.
VMI next plays at Longwood on Wednesday, Oct. 16.