It was an emotional day at the Halton Arena on Nov. 11 as three seniors (Janell Sparks, Tatyana Thomas, Kaylyn Torain) played in their final home game. The Niners (19-11, 6-8) took on the Florida Atlantic Owls (18-8, 9-5) in a morning match to end the regular season.
Charlotte constantly gave up early leads to FAU which led to a 3-0 sweep in sets. The first set proved to be the most competitive as their were 17 ties and four lead changes. FAU eventually pulled out the first set with a score of 25-23.
Although this match did not go the way Coach Karen Weatherington had hoped, she had some strong words of praise for her seniors.
“It’s hard not talking about them without getting emotional. They had all come in here and had faith in what we were doing as a coaching staff… I credit all that they have done to turn this program around in terms of their leadership, to their physical play, to their talent, and to their mental strengths. We’ve been really proud to have them and it will be a tough loss but they’re leaving so much behind by showing the rest of our players what leadership looks like,” Weatherington said.
Sparks put on a strong performance in her last regular season game as she led the Niners in kills with 11. Sydney Rowan and Alex Boone also contributed with seven kills each.
Libero Yumi Garcia added 11 digs to her Charlotte all -time record set on the team’s previous three game road trip. Charlotte stuck to their strengths as a team and led the game in total blocks but early deficits were a large reason they were unable to win the match.
The 49ers Volleyball season is not over yet. They will travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky on Nov. 17 to compete in the Conference USA tournament. The winner of this tournament gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Charlotte will be coming in as the seventh seed in the tournament but that does not stop Coach Weatherington from having high hopes for the Niners.
“We are gonna go in there and give it our best. Women’s Soccer set the tone that it doesn’t matter what seed you come in, you just gotta come out swinging,” Weatherington said.
The Niners will look to make some noise in the C-USA tournament and continue their season before beginning to prepare for next year. Charlotte will be returning all but three players from this season and will look to be competitive for 2018.