CONWAY — Speaking from the road as the team bus began the trek to Radford, Va., Wednesday afternoon, Coastal Carolina women’s soccer coach Paul Hogan talked about the opportunity that awaited his team at the other end of the trip.
“That’s the best part of coaching,” he said. “You want to see how your kids do against the best teams.”
He was referring to the Radford Highlanders, who are off to a 7-2-1 start (3-0-1 in the Big South Conference) while going unbeaten in their last seven games.
Thursday night’s game couldn’t come at a better time, though, for the Chanticleers, who have posted back-to-back shutout victories to improve to 5-6 overall and 2-2 in the league.
After an up-and-down start to the season and then three straight losses, the Chants bounced back with home wins last week over Liberty (1-0) and Longwood (2-0).
“That’s the first time we’ve put two games back to back [like that] so all that stuff helps,” said Hogan, who is in his second season at Coastal. “It’s such a better way to lead into training this week instead of if you lose.”
Senior Cami Skladany was named the Big South’s defensive player of the week for her efforts in those two wins while sophomore Kacey Kelley added to her team lead of five goals.
So now it’s on to Radford to see just how much momentum the Chants have built over the last week.
“This is the team that the last couple years has been the best team in our conference,” Hogan said. “So ideally we want to beat them and make a statement about our team, ourselves and what we want to do with our program.”
Coastal has named the hallway outside the football coaches’ offices in the Adkins Field House as the “Robert Duke Brown Hall of Champions” in recognition of the longtime Board of Trustees member.
Brown, who has served as a trustee at the school since 1993 when Coastal left the University of South Carolina system to become independent, was an early advocate for the university to launch its own Division I football program.
The decision to add football was announced in 1999 and the Chants began competition in 2003. This is the program’s 10th season on the field.
In the rankings
The Coastal men’s soccer team continues to climb up the national rankings in the midst of its five-game winning streak.
The Chants (8-1-2) are ranked No. 13 by Top Drawer Soccer, moved up one spot to No. 15 in the Soccer America rankings, up one spot to No. 16 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll and up three spots to No. 17 in the College Soccer News poll.
They host UNC Asheville on Saturday night. It is one of only two home games for the team this month as the schedule delivers a slew of road tests.
The Coastal men’s golf team, meanwhile, is ranked No. 25 this week by Golfstat.
On the schedule
As for the rest of the weekly schedule, the men’s tennis team is at the University of Virginia Fall Invitational this weekend, the women’s golf team heads to Greenville, N.C., on Monday for the start of the two-day Lady Pirate Intercollegiate and the volleyball team is on the road Friday night at Charleston Southern before a seven-day break.
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.