Despite the 2-0 loss to the co-league leading Rice Owls, Charlotte women’s soccer was still able to secure a spot in the Conference USA championship. The 49ers are one of the top 8 seeds in the country and will remain as such after this final week of regulation play.
The Rice Owls (10-4-1, 7-2 C-USA) came out aggressive scoring in the 23rd minute off a 10-yard-shot from Marissa Topolski, set up by a pass from Nia Stallings; the result of a turnover by the 49ers. The Niners worked to even the score, but freshman Julia Grainda’s header went wide three minutes after the first goal was scored.
Charlotte (9-7-1, 5-3-1 C-USA) came out shooting later in the half with three corner kicks in two minutes. During the drive, senior Rebecca Beatty sent a shot over the goal. As the game continued, a midfield battle resulted in freshman Sara Sandberg getting behind the Owls’ defense. She fired off a shot that rolled wide of the post five minutes before the closing of the half.
The first attempt of the second half came from Charlotte just 22 seconds in. A corner was unfruitful and resulted in Rice taking the ball down for a 5-straight shot sequence, none of which went in the goal. Jennie Fichera popped up a ball that was headed in by Jasmine Isokpunwu giving Rice the 2-0 lead in the 78th minute.
Sophomore goalkeeper Anna Sheldon collected three of her seven saves in the final 10 minutes of the game to keep the 49ers game winning ambitions alive, but the Charlotte women were not able to pull this one out.
The 49ers, host the Conference USA Championships Nov. 2-6 at Transamerica Field, and will close their regular-season play at 7 p.m. Friday in Huntington, W.Va., against Marshall.