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  • Ian Livingston Brooking

Coastal Carolina men's soccer eyes third straight Sun Belt title

For the second time in as many years, Coastal Carolina men’s soccer team entered the 2017 NCAA Men’s Soccer tournament as Sun Belt Champions. The Chanticleers managed to reach the Round of 16 for just the fourth time in program history.

Despite going winless in their first three matches of 2017, the men’s soccer program would go on to upset three ranked teams including the second-ranked Maryland Terrapins on Oct. 20. The Chanticleers closed their season going on an 11-match unbeaten streak that included wins over Old Dominion, a Sun Belt Championship title and a shocking 3-1 win at Clemson in the NCAA Tournament.

That was last season.

This year, the Chanticleers look to not only win a third straight Sun Belt title, but go even further than they did in last year’s postseason.

Senior midfielder Saif AlHameli talked about the goals that he has for himself and for the team this season.

“We want to win as many games as we can,” said AlHameli. “There are a lot of new guys on the team this year so my advice to them is that while it is not going to be easy, they’ll have to keep fighting and earn their time on the field.”

The Chanticleers have to replace 13 seniors including the likes of forwards Frantzdy Pierrot and Martin Melchor as well as goalkeeper Braulio Linares-Ortiz.

There will be a lot of new faces that will be taking the field on Sunday, Aug. 12 as the Chanticleers look to stun North Carolina, a two-time national champion and a 2017 College Cup semifinalist.

AlHameli talked about the importance of Sunday’s exhibition match.

“We played them last year and we were shown how much we needed to work,” said AlHameli. “So this year, our goal is to be ready from the minute that game kicks off and beat them.”

Coastal Carolina opens their regular season at home on Friday, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. against UCLA. The Chanticleers will play three exhibitions matches prior to that regular season opener.

The first exhibition will be against North Carolina on Sunday, Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. followed by a match against Charlotte at home on Friday, Aug. 17. The Chanticleers will close out their preseason on the road at UNC-Greensboro on Sunday, Aug. 19.

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