CONWAY, S.C. - Two quick strikes by Coastal Carolina University in the first half was the difference as the Virginia Military Institute men’s soccer team fell 2-0 on the road in Big South Conference play at CCU Soccer Field.
In the 24th minute, Ricky Garbanzo tipped home the first goal for the Chanticleers, who were ranked 13th in the most recent NSCAA Coaches’ Poll, followed by an insurance goal in the 26th minute by Kevin La Bras.
Sergio Camargo and Pedro Ribeiro were given assists on the Garbanzo strike while La Bras’s goal was unassisted.
The Chanticleers out-shot the Keydets 34-4 on the day, taking 17 attempts in each half. VMI also split its attempts, with four different Keydets registering a shot. Aaron White had VMI’s lone attempt on goal and was stopped from distance by Coastal keeper. White’s three-game point scoring streak, VMI’s longest since the 2010 season.
In goal for VMI, Daniel Kitchen, who is ranked 22nd nationally in saves per game (5.0) hit his average with five stops in the game. The Keydet backline was given a team assist while Kitchen was out making an aggressive attack at the ball.
Sticking to its game plan, the Keydets put up a stonewall in the box, blocking nine Chanticleer attempts.
Garbanzo led the day in shooting with nine attempts while four other Chanticleers registered four attempts. On the day, 11 of Coastal Carolina’s field players recorded at least one shot, but just eight shots reached the frame.
Both teams were aggressive in their play, with Coastal called for 10 fouls and VMI whistled nine times. Only one yellow card was issued during the day, going to a Keydet.
It was a fitting date for the two teams to meet one last time in Big South Conference action. The two teams first met on Oct. 11, 2003 in VMI’s first year in the league and played in Conway for a final time as a Big South opponent on the same day 10 years later. The Keydets will return to the Southern Conference in 2014-15.
Making a return to the bench, Stephen Ross, who was VMI's head coach for 17 seasons and is currently the Institute's Director of Athletic Academic Advising, aided current head coach Richie Rose. The former coach helped VMI transition from the Southern Conference into the Big South Conference for the 2003-04 academic year and was named the Big South Conference Coach of the Year in 2004.
The Chanticleers, ranked 10th in the most recent College Soccer News polls, struck first on Garbanzo’s goal. The forward deflected the initial shot by Camargo, who took a pass from Ribeiro. Camargo and Ribeiro received assists on the play.
Two minutes later, Coastal extended its lead to 2-0 with a Le Bras goal in the 26th minute. Portillo took a shot, but the Keydets’ defensive line blocked the attempt, but Le Bras controlled the deflection and finished the play for his first of the season.
VMI’s Kitchen made two saves in the first half, while defender Max Farinholt made a team save. Kitchen came off his line to make an aggressive stop at a charging Chanticleer, but the Coastal player eluded the senior keeper. Farinholt bailed his keeper out with a sliding defensive save.
Coastal, which was also ranked No. 19 by Soccer times, out-shot VMI 17-2 in the first half, including five shots on goal to one for the Keydets. The Chanticleers earned six corner kicks, with Kitchen needing to punch out many of those crosses. VMI had one attempt from the corner in the first 45 minutes. Fouls were nearly even, four against Coastal and three on the Keydets.VMI continues its road swing Wednesday night as the Keydets head to Farmville, Va. for a Big South Conference matchup at Longwood University. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at the Lancers’ Athletic Complex.