CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A Ricky Garbanzo goal in the first five minutes of play coupled with stingy defending throughout the match led 11th-ranked Coastal Carolina to a 1-nil victory at 13th-seeded Charlotte in NCAA Tournament Second Round action on Sunday at the 49ers’ Transamerica Field.
The victory advances the Chanticleers to the Round of 16 second consecutive season and the third time in program history. Coastal will now travel across the country to play the fourth-seeded Cal side on Sunday, Dec. 1. The loss ends Charlotte’s season with a 12-6-4 record.
Garbanzo scored the game’s only goal, his 13th of the year, at the 4:14 mark of play. Simon Laugsand started the scoring play with a long throw from the left side that deflected off the top of the cross bar and back into play. Garbanzo collected the loose ball on the right side of the box and fired a shot toward the far post. The ball deflected off the base of the left post and into the back of the net.
Moments later the 49ers put together a quality scoring opportunity of their own. A cross was sent in to the box from the left side that was met by the head of Giuseppe Gentile. Fortunately for the Chanticleers, Gentile’s header sailed just high over the crossbar.
The remainder of the half turned into a chippy affair as the team’s combined for 20 fouls and four yellow cards – a pair issued to each team. The teams went into the intermission with tied with six shots apiece, although Coastal held the ever important advantage on the scoreboard.
After the break Charlotte controlled the bulk of the possession, forcing the Chanticleers to defend their defensive third for the majority of the final 45 minutes. Coastal’s backline, anchored by Big South Defensive Player of the Year and All-American candidate Shawn McLaws, was up to the task. The white clad Chants turned away numerous dangerous 49er crosses and repeatedly beat Charlotte to both the first and second balls around the goal.
Chanticleer goalkeeper Devin Cook, who notched his 12th clean sheet of the season, made his present felt in the 65th minute as he punched away a dangerous cross off the foot of Charlotte’s Gentile destined Kyle Parker, who had slipped behind his defender in the box.
As the clock wound down the 49ers continued to press forward into the Chants’ defensive third. But each time the larger Chanticleers, led by All-American candidate Pedro Ribeiro, were there to knock down final pass attempts or block Charlotte’s shot attempts.
Coastal is now 9-8-2 all-time in its 11 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 8-7-1 under the direction of head coach Shaun Docking. Coastal has knocked off three seeded team in its NCAA postseason history. The Chants defeat 15th-seeded Wake Forest last season in Winston-Salem and seeded North Carolina in 2003.
The current Chanticleer senior class is now 5-3 in its eight NCAA Tournament matches.