Winthrop men's soccer coach Rich Posipanko knows two things are certain heading into tonight's home Big South Conference showdown with Coastal Carolina.
The Eagles have to beat the league-leading Chanticleers to have any chance at the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament and those who gather at Eagle Field at 7 p.m. will witness a very physical match.
"There's no love lost between these teams on the field," Posipanko said. "The last few years it's usually come down to us or them for No. 1. This is the biggest rivalry for both teams."
Coastal Carolina is 4-0 in the BSC, the Eagles 3-1-1. The reigning Big South Conference champion Eagles have to win, and then get some help from VMI and Radford to get the top seed and first-day bye in the league tournament that gets underway Nov. 15 in Rock Hill.
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"Coastal's in pretty good shape because they can stand one loss," Posipanko said.
Winthrop is coming off a win a week ago and a tie on Saturday. Posipanko was extremely disappointed in how the Eagles played in a 2-1 overtime win -- junior Daniel Revivo scored twice -- over cellar-dwelling UNC Asheville.
"It was a disappointing effort considering it was a home game, it was a conference game and that we're still in hunt for the No. 1 seed in the tournament," Posipanko said. "We were not the best team on the field, but we were fortunate to win."
Even though no coach or team wants a tie, everyone returned from Stetson pleased with the effort against the Hatters, one of the stronger clubs in the region.
The Eagles, 9-2-3, got the game-tying goal with 26 seconds left on a shot by Dave Carton.
"Under the circumstances -- all the injuries and the fact that we had to go so deep into our bench -- I was pleased," Posipanko said.
One of the bright spots was the return of sophomore midfielder Matt Skonicki, who had played just five matches because of an injury. Skonicki, an all-Big South Conference freshman team selection last season, played a solid 60 minutes against the Hatters.
• ON THE RUN: The cross country teams head to Louisville, Ky., on Saturday for the NCAA Southeast Regionals at Tom Sawyer Park.
The men will be running their first 10K of the year, while the women will be running a 6K for the second time.
The top four teams in each division advances to the NCAA Championship at Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 19. Individually, the top four finishers not on one of those teams make the big race.
Coach Ben Paxton feels Trevor Beesley and Brad Orr have a chance of advancing.
"If they run their race -- run like they did in the Tom Short (in September)-- then I like their chances," Paxton said. "They were a little too cautious at conference. That's not their race."
Beesley and Orr finished seventh and eight at the conference meet two weeks ago.
"We've got to run better," Beesley said. "I know we're better that our (conference) times."
"If we keep doing like we had been doing, I think we have a slim chance," Orr said. "There'll be no pressure. We need to go out in a five-minute pace and run together like we've done all year."
• PAIRINGS SET: The No. 4 seeded Lady Eagles will kick off play in the Big South Conference women's soccer tournament against fifth seed Liberty at 11:30 Thursday morning in North Charleston.
Winthrop (4-3) posted a 3-2 win over the Lady Flames (3-4) in Lynchburg, Va., on Oct. 13.
In other matches Thursday, it's No. 1 Coastal Carolina (6-1) vs. No. 8 VMI (1-6) at 2 p.m.; No. 3 High Point (5-2) vs. No. 6 Radford (3-4) at 4:30; and host and No. 2 seed Charleston Southern (5-2) vs. No. 7 UNC Asheville (1-6) at 7.
The semifinals are 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday, with the championships set for 2 p.m. Sunday.
• HEY YOU!: It didn't take first-year volleyball coach Sally Polhamus long to realize she needed a system to communicate with several of her players.
Six Eagles all have first names that begin with K -- Kellie Sellers, Kelli Kirkwood, Kelley Taylor, Kelsey Hall, Kelsey Harrison and Kaley Viola.
"I just call them all by their last name," Polhamus said with a laugh.
Then there's Pohai Nu'uhiwa.
Polhamus uses her first name.
• LET'S CELEBRATE: A limited number of tickets remain for Thursday's Eagle Club Tip Off 2007 at McBryde Hall on campus.
Fans will have a chance to meet the basketball coaches and get a preview of the season.
The men's team will also be presented the 2006-2007 championship rings.
The cost is $20 per adult and $10 for children 10 and under. A reception starts at 6:30 p.m., with dinner at 7.
Contact Sharen DuBard at (803) 323-2129, ext. 6218, or firstname.lastname@example.org.