CONWAY - After advancing to the NCAA Tournament's Round of 16 each of the last two years, the 2014 Coastal Carolina men's soccer program is again ranked among the nations' top 25 to start the season. The 2014 Chanticleers will test their mettle early and often this season, starting with a pair of top 25 bouts on opening weekend.
The Chants, under the direction of 17th-year head coach Shaun Docking, get the season under way playing starting on Friday (7 p.m.) at No. 8 Connecticut. The men of Conway then travel to No. 2 Maryland for a 7 p.m. first kick on Monday.
No. 17 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (0-0-0 | 0-0-0, Big South) at No. 8 Connecticut Huskies (0-0-0 | 0-0-0, American)
Date/Time: Aug. 39, 2014 | 7 p.m. (ET)
Venue: Joseph J. Morrone Stadium | Storrs, Conn.
Radio: None | Television: None
Video Stream: UConnHuskies.com.com | Live Stats: UConnHuskies.com
No. 17 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers at No. 2 Maryland Terrapins
Date/Time: Sept. 1, 2014 | 7 p.m. (ET)
Venue: Ludwig Field | College Park, Md.
Radio: None | Television: None
Live Stats: UMTerps.com
Coastal enters the 2014 campaign ranked 17th in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) preseason top 25 poll, the official poll recognized by the NCAA. The Chants are also ranked 17th by Soccer America and 18th by College Soccer News. Coastal finished the 2013 season with the NSCAA's No. 15 ranking.
This marks the third consecutive season the Chanticleers have started the season ranked among the NSCAA's top 25. Coastal checked in at No. 17 to start the 2012 season and No. 13 last year.
Friday's match will mark the start of the 35th season of Coastal Carolina soccer. The Chanticleers own an all-time record of 411-227-44 (.634) since 1978.
This will be Coastal's second straight season opening on the road at an opponent ranked in the top 25. The Chants traveled to and knocked off No. 17 Wake Forest 1-0 last year.
The Chants are 8-7-1 in head coach Shaun Docking's 16 season lid-lifters.
IT DOESN'T GET MUCH TOUGHER THAN THIS ...
Coastal Carolina has arguably the toughest three-game season-opening stretch in the nation. The Chanticleers open at No. 8 UConn on Aug. 29, before traveling to College Park, Md., for a Labor Day showdown with 2013 College Cup runner-up and second-ranked Maryland. Four days later, Coastal travels to regional rival and 23rd-ranked Charlotte.
The Chants' other non-conference opponents include Furman, South Carolina, UAB, Elon, NC State and Clemson.
ABOUT THE CHANTICLEERS
The Chants return seven starters and 12 letter winners from a team that made a deep postseason run - reaching the NCAA Round of 16 for the second straight season.
In all, Coastal posted a mark of 19-5-0 and captured its third straight and 12th overall Big South Conference regular-season and 11th overall tournament championship. The Chants ended the year ranked 15th in the final NSCAA poll.
Headlining the list of returnees this fall is Hermann Trophy Watch List honoree Ricky Garbanzo (13g/1a in 2013).
Other key returners include senior defender and reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Year Shawn McLaws and senior defender Uchenna Uzo.
Coastal welcomes in a recruiting class of 15 for the 2014 campaign. The class includes Division I transfers Jordan Tyler (2013 Big Ten First Team selection at Penn State), Bryce Follensbee (12 goals and four assists in two seasons at Tulsa) and Mike Millay (48 career starts at Cincinnati). In addition to the transfers, Docking welcomes eight freshmen.
The Chants will have to find a way to replace the production of graduated midfielder Pedro Ribeiro. Ribeiro, a two-time All-American, produced 31 goals and notched 26 assists in his four seasons in Conway.
BUILDING A PERENNIAL WINNER
Over the past four seasons head coach Shaun Docking has transformed Coastal Carolina into a perennial power.
Since the 2010 season, Coastal has amassed 69 total victories, trailing only Akron's 72 and Maryland's 70.
Coastal has appeared in the NCAA Tournament in each of the last four seasons, including back-to-back trips to the Tournament's third round of play in 2012 and 2013.
The Chants have won at least one match in each of the last three NCAA Tournaments.
In addition, since the 2010 season, the Chanticleers have dominated the Big South Conference to the tune of a 33-3-1 record.
NCAA Wins Leader Since 2010
1. Akron 72 2010 National Champion 2. Maryland 70 2012 & 2013 College Cup participant 3. Coastal Carolina 69 4. North Carolina 62 2011 National Champion 5. Creighton 60 2011 & 2012 College Cup participant
CHANTS PICKED TO REPEAT AS BIG SOUTH CHAMPS
Coastal Carolina was voted first in the Big South Conference's annual preseason poll, as voted by the league's head men's soccer coaches. In addition, the coaches voted Chanticleer forward Ricky Garbanzo the league's Preseason Attacking Player of the Year and Coastal defender Shawn McLaws the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
PRESEASON HONORS FOR GARBANZO
In Addition to being named the Big South Preseason Attacking Player of the Year, senior forward Ricky Garbanzo has garnered national attention heading into his senior season. The Rock Hill, S.C., native was named one of 32 MAC Hermann Trophy Watch List selections, marking the third straight season a Chanticleer has appeared on the prestigious watch list. He was also named the 44th-best collegiate player in TopDrawerSoccer.com's Men's National Top 100 list.
THE WINNING GENERAL
Head coach Shaun Docking is already the winningest coach in Coastal soccer history entering the 2014 season with a 213-96-26 mark over 16 seasons as the Chanticleers' head man. His overall career record of 233-115-28 (20-19-2 as head coach at Charleston Southern from 1996-97) ranks him as the 22nd winningest active coach in the NCAA by percentage (.657) and 36th by total victories.