CONWAY – Jakub Stourac’s 87th minute goal was all Coastal Carolina, ranked 12th in the College Soccer News Top 30 National Poll, needed to claim a 1-nil victory over visiting Gardner-Webb on Saturday evening.
The win, head coach Shaun Docking’s 200th as a Chanticleer, was Coastal fifth straight and improved the men of Conway to 6-2-0 overall and 2-0-0 in Big South play. In addition, the victory extends the Chants’ regular season conference win streak to 21 games. The loss drops Gardner-Webb to 4-4-0 (1-1-0 Big South) on the season.
Stourac provided the game’s only goal at the 86:21 mark of play as he blasted a low-lying one-timer past Gardner-Webb’s Matthew Swan. Stourac initially attempted a shot that was blocked seconds before he found his first goal of the season. Fortunately, the native of Brno, Czech Republic, found his rebound and hammered home the scoring strike.
Following a sluggish first half for the traditionally free-scoring Chants, Coastal ratcheted up its offensive pressure in the second half to the tune of 13 shots with six shots on net.
Coastal looked as though it would break the scoreless tie in the 52nd minute with a trio of shots on net; however, the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ Swan made three great saves to keep Coastal off the board.
The second half also saw the Chanticleers’ defensive pressure clamp down tight, limiting Gardner-Webb to a single shot over the final 45 minutes of play.
The first half was a very defensive affair with neither team able to find much room in its offensive third. The Runnin’ Bulldogs attempted four shots in the half, including two that were easily saved by Coastal’s Devin Cook. The Chants closed the stanza with two shot attempts. Pedro Ribeiro, who attempted four shots on the evening, owned the Chants’ only shot on frame as he launched a blast into the chest of Gardner-Webb’s Matthew Swan after shaking his defender near the top of the box.
Coastal finished the game with a 15-5 advantage in shots and a 6-2 edge in corner opportunities. Coastal’s Cook earned the win and his third straight shutout to improve his record to 5-2-0 on the year. Gardner-Webb’s Swan (4-4-0) notched six saves in the losing effort.
The game marked the 74th start in the career of senior midfielder Justin Portillo, tying him with assistant coach Kyle Russell for eighth on the CCU all-time list. Portillo is 11 starts away owning the CCU all-time matches started record.
Coastal returns to action next Saturday (Oct. 5) at Big South foe High Point. The game, which is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. opening kick, can be viewed live and free of charge on the Big South Network. Coastal owns a 16-3-3 lead in the all-time series against the Panthers, including wins in each of the last three meetings. High Point was the last team to defeat the Chanticleers in Big South regular season action with a 2-1 overtime decision on Oct. 27, 2010.
Up next for Gardner-Webb is a home match against N.C. State on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.