Men's Soccer Defeats Radford 1-0 in Opening Round of Big South Conference Tournament
CONWAY, S.C. – The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers defeated the Radford Highlanders 1-0 in the fourth game of the 2008 Big South Men’s Soccer Championship Thursday, Nov. 13 at the Coastal Carolina Soccer Field on the campus of CoastalCarolinaUniversity.The Chants will play the No. 6 seed UNC Asheville Bulldogs Friday night at in the semifinals.
The Chanticleers (9-9-1) came out firing right out the gate, earning a corner kick three minutes in. Robert Hunter sent the cross in, and found the head of Matt Schroeder The sophomore sent the header just wide of the net, and set the tone for the Chanticleer attack that had seven shots in the first 15 minutes of play.
Coastal Carolina’s persistence paid in the 10th minute of play, as Ross Kelly collected a loose ball just outside the six-yard box and fed the ball to a streaking Schroeder. The midfielder beat Radford goalkeeper Zach Roszel, placing the shot in the lower left corner, giving Coastal Carolina the early 1-0 lead with 80 minutes of hard fought soccer left to go.
Twenty minutes in, the Highlanders (7-10-2) began to control possession in the Coastal Carolina end of the field, but a stingy defense prevented Radford from seizing any solid opportunities. Radford had its best chance of the half with seven minutes remaining in the first half from forward Joe Baxter after a Iyiola Awoskia shot was blocked by the Chanticleer defense. Baxter collected the loose ball, and fired a shot that went just wide of the goal in the final scoring chance of the half for either side.
Heading into the second half, the Chanticleers out-shot RU by a 9-3 margin.
In the second half, Radford continued to control the offensive possession. They were rewarded with a pair of quality chances, as Hunter Fugate sent a free kick in from 35 yards out that found Devan Cooley, who sent a shot wide of the net. Five minutes later an Awosika header flew just high over the net for the Highlanders in the opening 15 minutes.
The Chanticleers would cling to the 1-0 lead, resorting to a counter-attack style of offense that resulted in a pair of chances off corner kicks, but came away empty handed.
With remaining, Coastal Carolina goalkeeper Phillip Latham made the first of his two match-saving saves, turning away a shot from a wide open Baxter from 14 yards out on the right flank. Radford looked to have a golden chance to tie the contest up with only four minutes left on the clock, as Baxter took a through ball at the 18 with only Latham to beat, but the alert Chanticleer netminder raced off his line to make the stop in Radford’s final legitimate scoring try of the contest.
A late RU flurry in the final four minutes of play was thwarted by a solid Coastal Carolina defensive unit that held the Highlanders to only five shots on the contest. Overall, Coastal Carolina had a 16-5 shot advantage on the match.
Latham made a pair of stops to pick up his ninth win of the season (9-9-1) , while Roszel made one save in the loss, falling to 6-6-2 on the year.
Coastal Carolina will be making its second consecutive appearance in the Big South Tournament semifinals, after earning a bye last season before falling to Radford 3-1 in the 2007 version of the tournament.Coastal Carolina will face UNC Asheville in the conference tournament for the first time since 2004. The Chants are ahead in the season series 1-0 after defeating the Bulldogs 1-0 on Oct. 22 in Conway.
Coastal Carolina Head Coach Shaun Docking
“I’m very proud of our guys tonight. We played very well as a group and held onto the 1-0 lead. I am delighted with our performance, and we’re really looking forward to tomorrow night’s contest.”
Radford Head Coach Spencer Smith
“It was a battle. I thought that both teams played their hearts out tonight. They got the goal and we didn’t. That’s what it came down to. Both teams should be proud of their efforts because it was a hard-fought Big South tilt. It was just unfortunate we could not get the equalizer.”