Oct. 30, 2010
ROCK HILL, S.C.- The Chanticleers women’s soccer team defeated the Winthrop Eagles by a 1-0 score to claim its share of the Big South Conference regular season championship.
The conference crown is the first under the direction of first year head coach Tammy DeCesare and Coastal’s third regular season title in four years with the previous two coming in the 2007 and 2008 season.
The victory moves the Chants to 10-7-2 (6-2-1, Big South) while the loss drops the Eagles to 6-9-2 (6-2-1, Big South) on the season.
Coastal’s Okina Crawley broke open the scoreless bout in the 71st minute of play. Crawley lined up for a routine direct kick from 45 yards out and fired a solid strike on goal. Crawley’s shot drifted high before coming down just inside the upper near post for her first collegiate goal.
Early in the second half, freshman Hannah Brown provided the Chants with two prime scoring opportunities as she lined up for two direct kicks just outside the Eagle’s 18 yard box. Brown fired two strikes that forced the Winthrop goal keeper to come up with an impressive save to keep the score knotted at zero.
After Brown’s early opportunities both team settled down and the defensive struggle that was prevalent in the first half ensued. Before Crawley’s devastating strike, the two combatants had combined for a mere five shots in the frame.
The Chanticleers took a 0-0 tie into the locker room for the 13th time in 19 games this season. Neither team could string together many scoring opportunities as the teams combined for just 12 shots in the period.
Coastal’s most lethal threat in the first half came from the foot of senior Anna Tupy in the 37th minute. Tupy was the recipient of a pass from Ali Morin when she sent a strike from seven yards out that would be foiled by the diving Winthrop goal keeper.
Senior Amy Haggard continued to impress between the pipes as she finished with six saves on the evening. Haggard recorded five saves in the first half while facing eight shots, including a highlight reel worthy leap toward the crossbar to keep a strong strike out of the net.
“This team played great tonight and in the second half we showed why we are co-champions of a very tough conference,” said head coach Tammy DeCesare. “Okina made a great play on the direct kick that gave us our only goal. Similar to how it has been all season, someone different stepped up and came through for the team tonight.
“To win a conference championship in our first season is a great feeling and a huge building block for our program. This team has worked hard and came together under the direction of our senior class. That hard work paid dividends tonight.”
Statistically, the game was a nearly even with both teams recording six shots on goal and three corner kicks. The only difference was the Eagles holding a slight 11-9 edge in shots while Coastal held the 6-5 advantage in saves.
The victory marks the end of the regular season for Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers will next prepare to take part in the Big South Championship in Radford, Va., starting on Nov. 4. Coastal will be the third seed in the tournament and will face sixth seeded Liberty at 4:30 p.m. in the opening round.
2010 Big South Conference Tournament
Thursday, Nov. 4
Game 1: No. 4 seed Charleston Southern vs. No. 5 seed High Point, 11:30am ET
Game 2: No. 1 seed Winthrop vs. No. 8 seed VMI, 2:00pm ET
Game 3: No. 3 seed Coastal Carolina vs. No. 6 seed Liberty, 4:30pm ET
Game 4: No. 2 seed Radford vs. No. 7 seed Gardner-Webb, 7:00pm ET
(The bracket has been adjusted to allow the host institution to play in the late match on the first day).
Friday, Nov. 5
Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (Semifinals), 4:30pm ET
Game 6: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner (Semifinals), 7:00pm ET
Sunday, Nov. 7
Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner (Championship), 2:00pm ET