The Road to the College Cup was a short one for the Charlotte 49ers. And it ended on their home ground.
A goal in the 5th minute stood up as the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers took down the 13th seeded Charlotte 49ers, 1-0 at Transamerica Field on a chilly Sunday evening in Charlotte.
It was an early start for Coastal as Ricky Garbanzo took a Klay Davis deflection in the box and put it home to put the Chanticleers up 1-0. Charlotte did have their chances to equalize in the first, none bigger than a perfect Anthony Perez cross that found the head of Giuseppe Gentile, but the ball sailed high.
But the Niners kept plugging away. A 2nd half penalty initially awarded to Giuseppe Gentile was waved off when it was ruled the forward embellished a bit too much. Charlotte, despite holding an edge in possession in the final 45 minutes, just couldn’t get that equalizer as Devin Cook and the Chanticleer defense stood tall.
It was a heartbreaking end to the careers of several seniors, including goalkeeper Klay Davis, defenders Tyler Gibson and Anthony Perez, and midfielder Aidan Kirkbride–a group that helped the Niners reach the College Cup final in 2011. But the future looks bright; leading scorers Gentile and Kyle Parker return, along with backliners Biko Bradnock-Brennan and Luke Waechter.
Charlotte’s season ends at 12-6-3. Coastal moves on to play 4th seeded Cal in Berkeley next Sunday.