CONWAY – Behind Elis Bjornsson and Agust Arnarson’s first-half goals and a late tally by Louis Dargent, No. 17 Coastal Carolina downed in-state rival South Carolina by a 3-0 score in men’s soccer action Tuesday night at the CCU Soccer Field.
The win, which was Coastal’s first at home this season, was the Chanticleer’s sixth straight over the Gamecocks and third in as many years. Moreover, in the all-time series’ 10 matches the Chants have outscored their Columbia-based counterparts 24-14.
It took the Chanticleers a mere minute and six seconds to take control of the match, both the scoreboard and the pace of play. Coastal quickly built an attack out of the back that resulted in Sergio Camargo free in the South Carolina box. However, before Camargo could receive the ball, he was taken down in the box, giving the Chants a penalty kick. Bjornsson converted the penalty, providing the Chants a 1-0 lead on his second goal of the season.
Coastal controlled possession with short, crisp passes through for the better of the half, creating numerous shot opportunities and corner kicks. Arnarson finally took advantage of the Gamecock defensive woes in the 42nd minute. He took a pass from Kevin Le Bras on the right side of the ’18 and ripped a low-lying shot that deflected off a South Carolina defender and into the back of the goal. The goal spotted the Chants a 2-0 lead and marked Arnarson’s first of the season and fourth of his Chanticleer career.
Coastal controlled the match for the opening 25 minutes of the second period, often finding space to work in the South Carolina defensive third. However, the Gamecock defensive unit held firm and kept the Chants off the board. With roughly 20 minutes to play South Carolina pushed higher up the field in search of a score. The strategy partially paid off as the Gamecocks found several good looks at the goal, but Coastal’s Devin Cook-Perales was there each time to turn the shots away.
Coastal caught the Gamecocks out of position in the 89th minute and a quick pass from Arnarson sprung Dargent 1v1 with South Carolina’s keeper. Dargent quickly chipped the ball past the Gamecock’s Marco Valez and into the net, providing the 3-0 final.
Coastal closed the contest with a 15-10 advantage in shots, including a 10-4 margin in the first half. The Chanticleers also held a 6-2 lead in corner kicks. Camargo and Le Bras co-lead the Chants with three shot attempts, while Jeffrey Torda paced the Gamecocks with three.
Coastal wraps up its three-game home stand on Saturday, hosting the UAB Blazers. The Chanticleers have not played UAB, which holds a 2-0 lead in the all-time series, since the 2001 season. The Blazers were picked to finish third in the C-USA preseason poll behind traditional powerhouse programs New Mexico and Charlotte.