CONWAY — The Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team clinched the Big South Conference regular-season championship last week, but coach Shaun Docking still feels his squad is in must-win mode heading into its finale Friday night.
Because if the Chanticleers are going to find themselves with the kind of seed they’re looking for in the NCAA tournament, they need to keep doing what they’ve been doing.
“I think we’re going to have to win the rest of our games, including the Big South tournament to have a chance of hosting in the NCAA tournament because our RPI isn’t very high right now,” Docking said. “... All we can do is control what we’re doing, so we’ve just got to win the rest of the games.”
Winning hasn’t been a problem for the Chants (15-1-2) this season. Their lone loss came back on Aug. 27 to Charlotte in the second game of the season, and they are now on a 12-game winning streak and ranked as high as No. 8 in the national polls this week by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as they prepare to host High Point on Friday night to close out the regular season.
Their 4-1 win at Radford last Saturday to clinch their second-straight and 11th overall regular-season championship was especially impressive considering the Highlanders were 6-0-1 in conference play entering the match. Senior Ashton Bennett scored twice in that win to raise his team-leading goal total to 13, and sophomore Ricky Garbanzo scored his 10th goal as the Chants’ offensive attack continued to flex its muscles.
“It’s such a difficult place to play up in Radford, and Radford’s a very good team,” Docking said. “I was really pleased with how we played. ... I think the guys have really set their sights on trying to win every game. We’ve got to finish it off Friday.”
Women show improvement
The Coastal women’s soccer team, meanwhile, wrapped up its season last week with a 3-0 loss to Winthrop in its Big South tournament opener.
The Chants had won seven of their final nine regular-season games and finished with a 10-9-0 record in coach Paul Hogan’s second year, reflecting a marked improvement from their 2-15-2 mark last season..
They only allowed 20 goals in the process, breaking the school record of 22 that was set in 2003 and tied in 2007.
Senior defender Cami Skladany was a big part of that feat and finishes fifth on the program’s all-time list with 79 games played.
On the schedule
The Coastal men’s golf team concludes the fall portion of it schedule at the three-day Gifford Collegiate Golf Championship hosted by UCLA, which starts Monday. ... The volleyball team hosts Charleston Southern on Friday night before getting a week off from action.
Contact RYAN YOUNG at 626-0318.