STORRS, CONN. – After falling behind by a pair of scores in the early minutes of the second half, the 17th-ranked Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team scored three unanswered goals in the final 56 minutes to stun eighth-ranked Connecticut and 4,385 Husky faithful by a 3-2 count at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium on Friday evening.
In a match that featured a trio of MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List members, it was the Chanticleers’ Ricky Garbanzo who made the largest impact. The Rock Hill, S.C., native assisted on Coastal’s first two goals then notched the game-winner on a header in the 72nd minute.
The victory was Coastal’s second straight over a ranked opponent in a season-opener, notching a win over No. 17 Wake Forest in 2013’s season starter as well. In addition, the win marked the second straight season the Chants had upended a top-10 opponent, having defeated No. 5 VCU on Sept. 21 last season.
UConn’s Cyle Larin, also a MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List member, put the Huskies on the scoreboard first, finding the back of the net in the ninth minute. Larin received an Ethan Vanacore-Decker a through ball in the box and beat his immediate defender before chipping the ball past Coastal’s keeper from eight yards out.
The Chanticleers controlled the bulk of the possession for the ensuing 36 minutes, but were unable to level the score before the half. Garbanzo appeared to find the equalizer in the 42nd minute of play after redirecting an Uchenna Uzo cross past UConn’s Jacob Wagmeister, but an official’s offside flag nullified the goal.
UConn benefitted from a Chanticleer own goal in the fifth minute of the second half to take a 2-nil lead. The ball was whipped into the box from the right side, where it glanced off a Chanticleer and into the back of the net.
Five minutes later the Chanticleers got a goal back from the head of Ollivier Gueguen. After earning a corner and maintaining the ball in the attacking third, Sergio Camargo collared the ball on the left side of the field and sent an arcing volley to Garbanzo in the box. Garbanzo settled the ball then sent a sharp blast toward the far corner of the net where it was redirected by Gueguen for his first goal as a Chanticleer and making the score line 2-1 in UConn’s favor with 34:14 to play.
Not even six minutes had elapsed before the Chants leveled the score at 2-2. Louis Dargent found himself with a chip-in goal in the box after Camargo and Garbanzo used a combination play to spring the Frenchman.
Coastal found the eventual game-winning goal in the 72nd minute from Garbanzo. The senior headed home a long ball from the right side by Elis Bjornsson. The goal, which snuck past the keeper toward the near post, marked Garbanzo’s 15th game-winner and 33rd total score of his career.
Coastal was then forced to hold the line throughout the remainder of the match. The Chants accomplished the task, but it was not without resistance as Michael Millay made one of the great plays of the match, saving a Husky shot off the line.
Coastal closed the match with a 16-9 advantage in shots and a 7-5 edge in corner kicks. The Chants’ Devin Cook-Perales recorded one save en route to the victory, while UConn’s Wagmeister notched five saves and the loss.
The Chanticleers continue their season-opening road trip on Monday, Sept. 1, at second-ranked Maryland. The Chants and Terrapins last met on Nov. 25, 2013, in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Terps, who own a 3-1-0 edge in the all-time series, prevailed that day by a 5-1 count.