The College of Charleston men's soccer team fell by a 3-2 count in a back-and-forth, physical contest to No. 30 Coastal Carolina at Patriots Point on Wednesday night.
The passion fueling the cross-state coastal rivalry was apparent in a match that saw five lead changes and ties as well as 26 fouls called and nine yellow cards between the two teams.
"They are a very good team and I can see why their record and ranking are what they are," said head coach Ralph Lundy. "It was a match which both teams wanted to win a great deal. Both teams just played hard.
"I don't like losing; I've got news for you. We gave away some goals that we shouldn't have but we played a very competitive match. I'm not discouraged other than that I don't like losing. The cougars stepped up and played hard and I'm happy about the fact that we played a very good game against a very good team. I'm not happy that we gave up goals that should have been taken care of. It was a tough, tough game."
The Chanticleers took an early lead with a goal at the 5:03 mark when Kees Heemskerk (Zaandam, Holland) tried to keep a ball in play and it fell to Ricky Garbanzo who fired a point-blank shot on goal. Heemskerk recovered and denied Garbanzo but the rebound trickled to the boot of Ashton Bennett who tucked the ball into his right-hand corner of the net.
The lead wouldn't hold long as the Cougars equalized 57 seconds later when Joey De Mare (Chapin, S.C.) slipped a ball to Sean de Silva (Port of Spain, Trinidad) at the top-left corner of the box and de Silva blasted a shot through a defender's legs and into the back of the net.
After almost 40 minutes of physical, scoreless play, the Cougars seized a 2-1 lead when Robbie Benson (Rock Hill, S.C.) launched a long throw-in into the box where Shawn Ferguson (Rock Hill, S.C.) headed the ball into the air before Troy Peterson (Federal Way, Wash.) got under it and headed the ball into the back of the net.
Quick retaliations were the theme in the first half as Coastal followed suit with their equalizer just 36 seconds later. Henrik Robstad fired a long shot on Heemskerk which rebounded again to Bennett who capitalized with his fifth goal in the Chants' past two matches to send the teams into the locker rooms leveled at 2-2 after an extremely physical first period.
The Chanticleers notched the second half's only goal in the 80th minute on a corner kick sent in by Justin Portillo and headed through traffic into the net by Garbanzo.
CofC returns to Southern Conference play when the Cougars host No. 33 Furman at Patriots Point on Saturday night. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.