No. 18 Coastal Downs FAU; VMI Defeats George Washington

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Series of Firsts Propel VMI to 3-1 Win over George Washington 
LEXINGTON, Va. - There is nothing quite like getting that first win of a season, especially on your home field. The Virginia Military Institute men's soccer team got that feeling today after it upended George Washington University 3-1 in a doubleheader at Patchin Field.

The Keydets (1-2-0) and Colonials squared off in the second game of the 2012 Jay Sculley Memorial Tournament, following a 2-0 Marshall University win over Liberty University earlier in the day.

Senior forward Kyle Farmer notched his first tally of the season, which also served as the first Keydet goal of the year. He was joined in the goal column by freshmen Kyle Forché and Andrew Starnes. All three goals came in the first half. Freshman Hunter Morgan chipped in an assist, as did senior captain David Rochow.

The three freshmen each enjoyed scoring their first collegiate points in their initial appearance at Patchin Field.

Junior keeper Daniel Kitchen got his second consecutive start of the year, logging three saves on four Colonial shots on goal. Kitchen allowed just one marker in his 90 minutes of play, making several sprawling saves to preserve his first career win.

The Colonials (2-2-0) picked up one tally from Andri Alexandersson in the 10th minute, closing VMI's gap to 2-1. George Washington keeper Jean-Pierre van der Merwe suffered the loss, but racked up six saves against VMI.

The Keydets put on an offensive onslaught, taking 15 shots while limiting the Colonials to just 9. VMI put up eight shots in the second half while cutting George Washington's first-stanza total in half to three. No cards were given, but VMI was whistled eight times for fouls while the Colonials were called just four times. GW held a slight edge on corner kicks at 9-8.

Both teams came out firing in the first half, with three of the game's four goals getting scored in the first 10 minutes. Just over four minutes in to the home opener, Farmer received a high cross from Morgan, who was across the box. Farmer used his 6-1 frame to get a head on ball and put the Keydets up 1-0.

Just over three minutes later, Forché tallied his first career goal for VMI after being denied twice last week at Mount St. Mary's. Carrying the ball near midfield, Rochow sent in a long ball the Forché tracked through the air and managed to finish to the right post with a header, giving the Keydets a 2-0 advantage.

VMI saw the lead sliced in half just two minutes later as Alexandersson finished a long pass from Joe Holleran on a set piece following a Keydet foul.

In the final third of the opening stanza, Starnes controlled a ball that a Colonial defender attempted to send out of the defensive zone following a VMI corner kick. Starnes collected the ball and snaked a shot through the defense, best van der Merwe and securing VMI's two-goal lead.

Through the second half, neither team managed to find the back of the cage, allowing VMI to not only pick up its first win of 2012, but the most goals in a single game since the 2010 finale against Presbyterian College in a 4-3 victory at Patchin Field.

The win snapped a tough for VMI, which picked up its first win at home since Sept. 25, 2011 in a 2-1 victory over UNC Asheville. The win against George Washington not only snapped a three-game slide versus the Colonials, but halted an 11-game winless streak, which had one tie.

VMI looks to continue its defense of Patchin Field on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. when it takes on Marshall.

Bennett and Portillo Score as Chants Roll Past FAU
CONWAY - For the first time in four games the No. 18 Coastal Carolina men's soccer team did not need overtime to down their opposition as goals by Justin Portillo and Ashton Bennett enabled the Chanticleers to roll past Florida Atlantic 2-0 in front of 658 fans at the CCU Soccer Field on Friday evening.

The win moves the Chanticleers to 3-1-1 (1-0-0, Big South) on the season and 1-0-0 in the Coastal Carolina Invitational, while the loss drops the Owls to 1-3-0 (0-0-0, Mid-American) and 0-1-0 in the Chanticleer-hosted tournament.  Wofford defeated Bowling Green 1-0 in the first game of the tournament.

The Chanticleers dominated play through the early portion of the first half as they continued to hold possession in their offensive third. Holding a 5-1 advantage in shots, the Chants finally broke through in the 27th minute thanks to a header by Portillo. Portillo was initially taken down inside the '18 setting up a penalty kick for Coastal.  Portillo attempted the kick but it was saved by Florida Atlantic's Jeremy Crumpton; however, the rebound deflected into the air where the junior midfielder headed it home for his second goal of the season. 

The Chants continued to connect passes, many of which led to scoring opportunities, throughout the remainder of the half and would take the 1-nil lead into the locker room.

Florida Atlantic came out on the offensive to start the second stanza, but the stout Coastal backline would turn away each chance the Owls could muster. 

After regaining their rhythm and putting posting four shots on frame the Chants found some breathing room off the foot of Bennett, the Big South Conference Preseason Player of the Year, in the 77th minute. Bennett, who finished the night with two of his five shot attempts on frame, took a pass from Ricky Garbanzo near the 18 before uncurling his fourth scoring strike of the season toward the far post.  Garbanzo and Bennett have now hooked up on three of Coastal's last four goals. Moreover, for his Chanticleer career, Bennett is averaging one goal per game with 27 goals in 27 career games.

As much as the night belonged to the Coastal attackers, the Chanticleer defenders turned in an equally impressive performance.  The Coastal backline and goalkeeper Scott Shewfelt, who made his first start of the season in front of the home fans, limited the Owls to only five shots and none on goal for their third clean sheet of the season.

In all, the Chants finished the contest with 16 shots, including nine on net, and four corner opportunities. The Owls would force two corners and attempt only five shots.

The Chanticleers return to action on Sunday, Sept. 9 at 2:30 p.m. in the fourth and final game of the Coastal Carolina University Invitational as they take on the Falcons of Bowling Green.  Wofford and Florida Atlantic will square off in the third game of the tournament at Noon on Sunday.

Winthrop Men's Soccer Falls, 3-0, to VCU
NORFOLK, VA- The Winthrop men's soccer team suffered a 3-0 loss to Virginia Commonwealth, Friday afternoon at the 37th Annual ODU-Stihl Soccer Classic.

With the loss, the Eagles even their record to 2-2 on the year while VCU remains undefeated at 2-0-2. It was the first ever meeting between Winthrop and the Rams.

After trailing 1-0 at the half, the second half didn't start off well for the Eagles as they fell behind 2-0 in the 48th minute on an own goal. VCU's corner kick was redirected off the head of a Winthrop defender and into the net.

The Rams added a goal late in the game after being awarded a penalty in the 84th minute. Jason Johnson stepped up and converted for the goal.

VCU put the offensive pressure on the Eagles early on in the game with four shots, two of which forced a save from Tom Banfield. Despite not being able to record a single shot in the first half, Winthrop's defense held strong until the 42nd minute.

The Rams' Kharlton Belmar broke the scoreless tie as he finished off a cross straight on goal just a few yards out for his first of the season. Belmar had just come on a substitute two minutes prior to his goal.  Juan Arbelaez assisted on the goal as his service was on the mark to Belmar. 

Offensively the Rams finished with a 16-6 shot advantage and a 5-1 edge in corners. Banfield finished with four saves for the Eagles while Andrew Wells recorded two in his second shutout on the year.

Winthrop will face off against sixth-ranked Old Dominion Sunday afternoon in the final game of the 37th Annual ODU-Stihl Soccer Classic at 2:30 p.m.

Liberty Falls to Marshall, 2-0, at Sculley
LEXINGTON, Va. - Despite strong play in the second half, the Liberty Flames could not overcome two early goals by Marshall, as the Thundering Herd defeated the Flames, 2-0, Friday afternoon in the first game of the 2012 Sculley Memorial Tournament at VMI's Patchin Field.

Liberty falls to 1-2 on the season. Marshall moves to 3-0-1 on the year. It was the second time that the Flames and Thundering Herd have met in the opening game of the tournament, which honors VMI's first men's soccer head coach Jay Sculley. Liberty and Marshall tied, 1-1, in that contest on Sept. 10, 2010.

After the Thundering Herd pushed the ball into the Liberty 18-yard box to open the game without a scoring attempt, the Flames fired the first shot of the contest during the third minute. In transition, midfielder Johnny Torres worked free for a blast from 25 yards in the center of the field, which went wide of the far post.

Less than two minutes later, Marshall jumped on the scoreboard with its first goal of the contest. Midfielder Anthony Viraga dribbled deep into the left side of the 18-yard box and dropped a past to the far post for forward Eddie Prugh. The forward put the ball into the open net for his second goal of the season and a 1-0 Thundering Herd lead.

During the seventh minute, Liberty looked for the equalizer. Forward Kyle Breitmeyer took a long pass over several Herd defenders for a shot, which he pushed high.

With the game continuing as at a fast rate of play, the two teams exchanged shot attempts, forcing a save by both goalkeepers shortly after the 11th minute mark. Marshall's leading scorer, forward Tom Jackson, worked free in front of the goal during the 12th minute, only to have his shot stopped by Liberty goalkeeper Scott Sutarik.

A minute later, Flames midfielder Juan Nino ripped a shot from the left side of the field, which Herd goalkeeper Daniel Withrow snatched away for a save.

Marshall upped its lead to 2-0 during the 20th minute. After an initial stop off a crossing pass by Sutarik, the ball came free for Virgara, who tapped it into the net for his first goal of the year.

After the marker, ball possession by each team fell mainly between the 18-yard boxes.  During the span, the only shot came off the foot of Liberty's Nino, which Withrow stopped.

Marshall closed the half with a header by midfielder Peter Bulat during the final minute.  Sutarik was in position to corral it, keeping the Flames' deficit at two at halftime.

The Thundering Herd held a 5-4 edge in shots during the first half, with corner kicks even at 2-2.

The second half opened with Marshall on the attack, looking to extend its advantage. After a long shot by forward Devin Perkins in the 50th minute, the Thundering Herd forced a save by Sutarik off a header in front by Perkins two minutes later.

In the 64th minute, Liberty's pressure on the attack began to create opportunities. Off a loose ball into the middle of the box, Breitmeyer lifted an attempt, which got behind Herd goalkeeper Withrow. However, defender Travis Bent ranged back and was able keep the ball from going into the net, preventing the Flames for scoring.

Holding on to possession of the ball, Liberty followed Breitmeyer's attempt by sending a crossing pass from the left side of the field into the 18-yard box less than 30 seconds later.  Forward Tyler Bullock headed the ball for the near post, forcing a fingertip, diving save by Withrow.

The Flames continued to pressure the Thundering Herd net. In the 71st minute, Liberty moved defender Greg White into the open space for an attempt from 20 yards out, which sailed high. Five minutes later, forward Clyde Glastetter lifted a shot from the top of the box high.

During the 83rd minute with Liberty pushing players forward, the Flames produced two corner kick opportunities. However, Liberty did not generate a shot opportunity off either kick.

The Marshall defense did not allow any more shot attempts by Liberty during the closing minutes, as the Thundering Herd went on to win, 2-0.

Shots in the contest were even at 11 apiece. Corner kicks were also even at five each.

Sutarik made four saves for the Flames, while Whitlock recorded three saves.  In four games this season, Marshall has not allowed a goal.

Liberty will next play the George Washington Colonels in the third game of the Sculley Memorial Tournament, Sunday. Match time at VMI's Patchin Field is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.