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Maryland men’s soccer vs. Coastal Carolina preview

The Terps head south for a non-conference matchup.

Matthew Regan

Maryland men’s soccer suffered its most gut-wrenching loss of the season last Friday against Wisconsin, and how it would respond was going to set the tone for the rest of the year.

On Wednesday against Rutgers on the road, the Terrapins were able to keep their season on track, as they convincingly beat the Scarlet Knights 2-0. Eric Matzelevich scored early to jump out to a lead, and Amar Sejdic’s late insurance goal ensured that the Terps would win their second conference match in three tries.

The road trip continues for Maryland, as its next match will be against Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina. Sunday’s kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET and will be streamed on the Chanticleers Sports Network ($).

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (4-2)

2017 record: 14-9-2 (4-1 Sun Belt)

Head coach Shaun Docking is in his 20th season at Coastal Carolina, having previously coached at the College of Charleston. The Chanticleers originally played in the Big South conference, and the transition to the Sun Belt has been as smooth as can be. Docking has taken Coastal Carolina to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, including eight years straight. After winning the Sun Belt regular season and conference tournaments last season, the Chanticleers beat Mercer and No. 8 Clemson before losing to No. 9 Stanford (who eventually won the title) in the third round.

Players to know

Junior forward Tsiki Ntsabeleng, No. 7. Ntsabeleng is in his first season in South Carolina, and he’s made his impact known immediately. Already the leading scorer on the team with two goals and two assists, Ntsabeleng most recently played for the Kaizer Chiefs of the Premier Soccer League.

Senior goalkeeper Chris Dattalo, No. 1. A transfer from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, Dattalo is in his first season as a starter for Coastal Carolina. In six games thus far, he has posted a .708 save percentage, which ranks third in the Sun Belt and 126th in the nation.

Strength

Defense. The Chanticleers’ start to the season was less than ideal—they lost 4-0 to UCLA on Aug. 24. But since, their defense has been stellar. In five matches, the Chanticleers have allowed just three goals. That includes three shutouts, and their shutout percentage of .500 ranks T-22 in the nation.

Weakness

Fouls. Coastal Carolina has done a great job at limiting opponents’ scoring, but the defense has committed a ton of fouls in the process. The Chanticleers average 15 fouls per game, which ranks T-189th in the country out of 205 teams.

Three things to watch

1. Can Maryland keep it rolling? Before the match against Wisconsin, the Terps had won two in a row. And after defeating Rutgers, Maryland has been victorious in three of its last four outings. That’s a stark contrast from the start of the season, which saw the Terrapins begin with an 0-2-2 record.

2. Will Coastal Carolina’s defense register another shutout? Although they’ve scored at least one goal in four straight matches, Maryland’s offense still leaves a lot to be desired. On the other side, the Chanticleers have done a great job at stifling opponents’ attacks. If the Terps fail to get off to a good start, they could be the fourth shutout at the hands (feet?) of Coastal Carolina this year.

3. Does Dayne St. Clair continue his high level of play? In his second season as Maryland’s starter, St. Clair has been nothing short of terrific. Against Rutgers on Wednesday, the junior made two exceptional point-blank saves to keep the Scarlet Knights off the scoreboard. If he can continue to anchor the back line as well as he is currently, the Terrapins will be in good shape.