With one of the biggest volleyball crowds that Dale F. Halton Arena has seen in a while, the Charlotte 49ers (1-1, 0-0 C-USA) lost in four sets to the Mercer Bears Friday night, failing to jump out to a 2-0 start at the Charlotte Invitational.
Mercer jumped out to a hot start against the 49ers, scoring the first five points of the game with ease. After that, the 49ers used a spike from Kaylyn Torain and an ace from senior libero Shelby Greene to fight their way back into the game, 3-to-5.
While down 12-to-15, both teams volleyed for an insanely long rally, giving the big crowd the exciting volleyball they came to watch. The 49ers used that momentum during the strenuous point and also back-to-back blocks by Molly Shaw to claw their way back within one, 16-to-17.
Mercer pulled away to a 17-to-22 lead, but the 49ers used a kill by Shaw, a block by Katria Stewart and a side-out to pull within three, 20-to-23.
With the win just two points away, Mercer had two errors to help the 49ers back into the game, now only down by one. Unfortunately for the Niners, the Bears finished off the first set off an error from Stewart to capture the first game 22-to-25.
The 49ers scored the first two points of the second set to try and avoid digging themselves in a hole like they did in set one, using that momentum to jump out to a 5-to-2 lead.
After even play from both sides, Shaw pounded home a spike to tie the game up at 13 after multiple blocks from the Charlotte front-line and a couple tough digs for senior Green. Charlotte took the lead after a spike by Stewart to go up 16-to-14, trying to pull away from the fighting Bears.
An ace serve from Shaw helped the 49ers keep the momentum and go up by three, 18-to-15, attempting to tie up the series at one.
Charlotte used a skillful tip and spike from Janell Sparks to get their lead up to 21-to-18, eyeing their first set victory of the match.
The 49ers took set two with a kill from freshman outside hitter Shaw to send them into set three, knotted up at one set a piece.
Mercer hopped in front of the 49ers 3-to-5 to begin the third set, looking to avoid getting swept in the first day of play at the Charlotte Invitational.
The Bears scooted ahead of the Niners by four, but a spike by Henderson, Sparks, and great team passing brought the fans of Halton Arena a tie game at seven.
The Niners tied up the game at eleven a piece when Green somehow dug out a ball that seemed impossible to find. Over the next few plays, the Bears went on a 3-0 run, leading 12-to-15 going into a Charlotte timeout.
Mercer built a seven point lead, 15-to-22, leading to a Niner timeout to attempt and stop the momentum. The attempted momentum killer didn’t work as planned for the 49ers, losing the third set 16-to-25.
Going into the fourth set down by one set, the 49ers got out to a hot start with a couple kills from Sparks and Anna Henderson, leading 3-to-1.
A block by Henderson widened the 49ers lead to 7-to-4, forcing a mercer timeout. Morgan Barker had two straight acrobatic digs on the back-line to send “ewwws” and “ahhhs” throughout Halton Arena. Just a couple points later, Barker had a couple more incredible saves to give the 49ers a 11-to-7 lead.
After trading points, the 49ers and Bears were all tied up at 17 in the fourth set, with Charlotte needing to win the game to send it to a decisive fifth set. After a timeout by Charlotte, the 49ers went on to score two straight points to tie it at 21.
Looking like the momentum favored Charlotte, the 49ers went on to drop the next four points to Mercer, losing the fourth set 21-to-25 and losing the match three games to one.
Charlotte will be back in action against the University of South Florida Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. in Halton Arena to close out the Charlotte Invitational.