COLUMBIA, S.C. – Ricky Garbanzo recorded each of Coastal Carolina’s goals in the second half as the ninth-ranked Chanticleers dropped South Carolina 3-2 on Wednesday evening in front of 688 fans at the Gamecocks’ Stone Stadium.
Coastal Carolina (14-1-2, 8-0-0 Big South) improves its current win streak to 11 games and unbeaten streak to 15 consecutive. Coastal also improves to 5-2-1 all-time against South Carolina.
Seventeen minutes after falling behind 1-0 on the scoreboard Garbanzo decided South Carolina had led long enough. The sophomore forward found the net 1:57 into the second half off a shot inside the goal box. A deep Shawn McLaws throw in from the right side set up the play. McLaws’ toss was headed once each in the box by Pedro Ribeiro and Kjartan Sigurdsson before settling at the foot of Garbanzo three yards in front of an empty net.
Garbanzo was not satisfied with a tie with the Gamecocks and proceeded to find the net again two minutes later. This time Garbanzo showed off his skills as he converted arguably Coastal’s prettiest goal of the season. McLaws chipped a pass over his defender toward Garbanzo on the right side of the box. The Rock Hill, S.C., native, elevated and bicycle kicked the pass over the Gamecock keeper and into the far side of the net.
Garbanzo produced his third goal of the match and first hat trick of his career at the 52:38 mark. Ashton Bennett fed Garbanzo a touch pass inside the ’18 for his fourth assist of the season.
The Gamecocks refused to go away quietly, scoring their second goal with 17:35 remaining. Bradlee Baladez found the counter with a 20-yard strike toward the left side of the net. The goal represented only the second multi-goal game allowed by the Chanticleers this season.
For only the second time this season the Chants found themselves behind on the scoreboard at the half. In the 32nd minute of play a long goal kick by South Carolina’s Robert Beebe was collected near the ’18 by Baladez. Baladez dribbled toward the end line and slid a cross in front of the net to the streaking Snoopy Davidson who finished the play. The goal, Davidson’s second of the season, snapped the Chants 920:18 tied or leading streak.
Coastal was not without opportunities in the first half, holding a 9-4 edge in shot attempts and 2-0 lead in corners. Coastal was afforded a prime opportunity with 15 minutes to play as Justin Portillo stood over a free kick near the ’18. Portillo sent the ball to the head of Ribeiro. Ribeiro headed the ball down to the surface; however, the Gamecocks were able to knock it away before a shot was attempted. Coastal earned a pair of corners in the 36th minute, but the Chants could only muster a single wide shot off the foot of Ribeiro.
The Chants finished the game with a 16-10 advantage is shot, including a 6-5 edge in shots on frame. Chanticleer goal keeper Federico Bertele recorded three saves on his way to picking up his 12th win of the season.
Coastal Carolina returns to the pitch for a 2 p.m. kickoff on Saturday, Oct 27 at Radford. A win or tie against the Highlanders will give the Chants their second consecutive and 11th overall Big South Conference regular season championship. Coastal won last season’s meeting 4-1 to take command of the all-time series 13-12-3.