The Charlotte 49ers volleyball team fell in straight sets to the University of South Florida (USF) Saturday night to close out the Charlotte Invitational, with Janell Sparks being named to the all-tournament team.
The 49ers (1-2, 0-0 C-USA) trailed early in the first set to the Bulls, not showing a lot of life on defense or on the attack at the net. After seeing her team not perform at the level she knows they can, head coach Karen Weatherington called a timeout as Charlotte trailed 17-to-21.
After the timeout, Weatherington’s young but talented team forced their way back behind a block and a kill from senior Anna Henderson, shifting the momentum to the home team. Shortly after, Torain hammered down one of her three kills of the night, bringing the 49ers within two, 22-to-24.
A Henderson block and a kill from Sparks tied the game up at 24, with the winner having to win by two to capture the first set.
Charlotte took an advantage over the Bulls 26-to-25, but failed to capitalize while with the lead, losing the first set behind a service error and two straight blocks from Elyse Panick and Joli Holland of USF, winning set one 26-to-28.
South Florida (3-0, 0-0 AAC) jumped out to an early lead over Charlotte 2-to-7, looking like the dominant team going into the second set. Trying to claw their way back, Charlotte allowed Dakota Hampton of USF to put down three kills to double the 49ers score, 7-to-14.
The 49ers failed to make the set as close as the first, dropping the second set 13-to-25.
Molly Shaw and Henderson tagged teamed a block to begin the third set, leading the 49ers to a consistent advantage throughout the third set, trying to not get swept. The 49ers took a 14-to-12 lead after nice plays on offense and defense by Sparks and Henderson, which then led to the Bulls comeback to tie it up at 15.
Torain went on to lead Charlotte over the next three plays, giving Charlotte a 18-to-15 advantage. For USF, Dakota Hampton didn’t want to see a fourth set, putting down five kills to allow the Bulls to streak by the 49ers 21-to-25 and win in straight sets.
The 49ers will pack their bags for a month-long road trip starting with a game against Illinois-Chicago, Jacksonville and Presbyterian in the Jacksonville Invitational starting next weekend.