RADFORD, Va. – The ninth-ranked Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team scored four unanswered goals to down Radford 4-1 on Saturday afternoon. The victory clinches the Chanticleers’ 11th overall and second consecutive Big South Conference regular season championship.
Coastal pushed its overall record to 15-1-2 and 9-0-0 in conference play. Moreover, the Chants have won 12 straight games and matched last season’s league record with nine conference victories.
The Chants received first half goals by Pedro Ribeiro and Ashton Bennett to overcome a 1-nil deficit. Ricky Garbanzo and Bennett tacked on two additional goals in the second half to secure the victory.
For the second consecutive game the Chants found themselves behind 1-0 on the scoreboard before the half. In the third minute Radford’s Matt Janssen fired a shot into the far side of the net from 10 yards out after a pass from Jannik Eckenrode. The goal was Janssen’s fifth of the season and only the second allowed by the Chanticleers in Big South play this season.
Coastal regained its composure and leveled the score less than seven minutes later on a Ribeiro header. Justin Portillo sent an in-swinging corner kick into the box to the head of Ribeiro, who flicked the ball just under the cross bar. The score was Ribeiro’s second of the season.
Nine minutes later Bennett, a MAC Hermann Trophy candidate and Preseason All-American, put Coastal ahead with his league-leading 12th goal of the season. Bennett dribbled to the edge of the 18-yard box before passing the ball back out to Portillo. Portillo held the ball for a second before returning a pass to Bennett. The Clarendon, Jamaica, native faked right before unleashing a shot back to his left. The shot arced around the defender and beat the keeper to the left upper 90.
The Chants fired off four more shots before the break, but were unable to find an insurance goal. Radford was able to find a few scoring chances of their own via counter attacks throughout the half, but the Coastal backline held firm and turned away the Highlander opportunities.
The sides went back and forth after halftime with neither able to find a goal. That is until the 73rd minute when Garbanzo found his fourth goal of the week and 10th of the season. Bennett played a through ball ahead to Garbanzo, who easily chipped his shot past Radford’s charging Ryan Taylor.
Bennett added a final tally for good measure in the 79th minute off an assist from Ribeiro. Bennett was streaking down the field when Ribeiro found him on a though ball inside the six-yard box for an easy finish. The goal was Bennett’s second of the game, 13th of the season and 36th of his Chanticleer career.
Coastal owned a 17-11 advantage in total shots with eight of those attempts falling on frame. The Chants also held a 6-4 edge in corner attempts.
Radford fell to 8-4-4 overall and 6-1-1 in league play with the loss.
Coastal returns to the pitch in Conway for the team's regular-season finale against High Point at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2. Prior to the match, Chanticleer seniors Ashton Bennett, Robby Joe Daniels and Sean McCormick will be honored for their accomplishments and contributions to the Coastal Carolina men's soccer program. Free food and beverages will be available for the first 150 students in attendance.