Jared Allen

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Jared Allen is the Sports Editor for the Niner Times. He has been involved with the newspaper since August 2014. In addition to being a part of the Niner Times, he hosts "The 91st Minute Radio" and calls play-by-play for the Charlotte 49ers men's and women's soccer teams on Radio Free Charlotte. Aside from being a sports (predominantly soccer) fanatic, he enjoys blogging, traveling and occasional backpacking. You can contact him at sports@ninertimes.com

49 unforgettable Charlotte 49ers moments from 2015-16

The Charlotte 49ers enjoyed a triumphant year across over a dozen sports for numerous reasons. Charlotte hired a prestigious basketball head coach, Victoria Fubara shined brightest in the biggest spotlight of the season, Kyle Parker earned a draft selection from the Columbus Crew and Joseph Uchebo trademarked an emotional insignia that will live on for an eternity with Niner Nation. However, these are only a few moments from successful campaign that’ll go down as unforgettable memories.

Without further ado, to highlight the past year, we put together a list of 49 memorable moments from the 49ers’ athletic campaign.

Mark Price. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Mark Price. Photo by Benjamin Robson

1. March 25 – Mark Price hired as the Charlotte men’s basketball coach 

After not seeing the program going into the right direction, Judy Rose, head athletic director at Charlotte, hired Mark Price as the new 49ers men’s basketball coach, giving the utmost hope to a hungry program.

2. Aug. 23 – 49ers strike from distance vs. Coastal Carolina 

Charlotte women’s soccer caused supporters to associate rain with brilliance this season, at least in the goal department. On Aug. 23, Coastal Carolina brought their wet weather with them to Transamerica Field only to concede two remarkable, long-range strikes from both Hannah Rempel and Perri Bonner on the way to a 4-1 victory.

3. Sep. 2 – Women’s XC wins Virginia Duals

In their first meet of the season, the women’s cross country team took home first place. The team was led by Morgan Richards, Tayler Carcella, Erin Nelson, Ashleigh Handchen and Rachel Miller.  

Football wins first game as a member of C-USA against Georgia State in Atlanta. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Football wins first game as a member of C-USA against Georgia State in Atlanta. Photo by Benjamin Robson

4. Sep. 4 – Football wins first game as a member of C-USA against Georgia State in Atlanta

In the opening game of the inaugural C-USA season, Charlotte defeated Georgia State in the Georgia Dome, 23-20. The 49ers traveled down to Atlanta on a mission greater than football. They went to win the game for the late coach Phil Ratliff, whose daughter, Haley attended to cheer on the team and received the game ball.  

5. Sep. 25 – Men’s XC dominates Charlotte Invitational

The Men’s cross country team recorded their only first place finish of the season at the Charlotte Invitational. The team was led by the performance of redshirt-freshman Tom Nobles who finished second individually.  

Charlotte women’s soccer’s come-from-behind win over UAB in a torrential downpour. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Charlotte women’s soccer’s come-from-behind win over UAB in a torrential downpour. Photo by Benjamin Robson

6. Sep. 25 – Charlotte women’s soccer’s come-from-behind win over UAB in a torrential downpour 

The 49ers trailed by two goals early on in a torrential downpour. The ball skipped across the surface and gave Charlotte an extra obstacle to deal with. Coach John Cullen called the game a “gut check” in which the 49ers succeeded. Two goals from Katie O’Neill and a winner from Martha Thomas doused UAB.

7. Sep. 26 – First night game at Jerry Richardson Stadium

Charlotte football took another step into Division I legitimacy. It took a year to put lights in Jerry Richardson stadium, but it was well worth the wait. Niner Nation came out in full, 17,444 in fact, to watch the 49ers take on FAU in the rain. While Charlotte didn’t leave with a win, the lights provided a spark that will make night games at Jerry Richardson a staple for the football program. 

8. Oct. 16 – Volleyball draws record number of fans on their Dig Pink night (1,647)

1,647 people packed into Halton to watch the 49er’s volleyball team take on ranked Western Kentucky. Charlotte lost the match with a 3-0 sweep from the Hilltoppers, but that didn’t diminish the success of the night. With those in attendance, it became the fourth largest crowd at a Dig Pink volleyball match.

9. Oct. 16 – Martha Thomas debunks “Sophomore Slump” myth 

Martha Thomas scored 11 goals in her freshman campaign, ninth most in single season history. During preseason, Thomas said she was “simply going to avoid” the sophomore slump. 12 goals later (fifth most in single season history), skeptics turned to believers as Thomas topped her single-season career high and now chases the all-time program record of 39 career goals.

10. Oct. 17 – Kalif Phillips runs wild against Old Dominion

Kalif Phillips nearly conquered Old Dominion by himself. Give credit to the offensive line as well, but the running back finished with a school-record 204 yards and two touchdowns. Despite the loss, Phillips added onto his legacy as the greatest running back in Charlotte’s short history.

49ers women's soccer seniors. Photo by Benjamin Robson
49ers women’s soccer seniors. Photo by Benjamin Robson

11. Oct. 30 – Victoria Fubara and women’s soccer’s Senior Night

Senior night is always special, regardless of what transpires in each particular game or match. However, Victoria Fubara’s final game as a 49er goes down as one of the most unforgettable moments of the year. The senior decided to score her first career goal in glorious fashion, striking a 40-yard shot that left the opposing goalkeeper frozen as it soared into the net.

12. Nov. 11 – Charlotte announces it will add women’s golf

Judy Rose announced  that Charlotte will be adding an 18th sport: women’s golf with Holly Clark selected as the inaugural coach of the team. Prior to coming to Charlotte, Clark started the women’s golf program at Div. II school Carson-Newman. The first tee-off is scheduled for fall of 2017.  

13. Nov. 14 – Alexis Alexander nets 30 points in Halton Arena

Alexis Alexander joined elite company against Robert Morris in only the second official game of the campaign. The senior averaged a point per minute on 12-of-15 shooting and joined former 49er Tonya Phifer as the only pair score 30+ points inside Halton Arena during its 20 year reign.

14. Nov. 19 – Coach Price records his first win as a 49er against Furman

In his third game as the 49er’s basketball coach, Mark Price took home a win over Furman, 77-68 in Dale F. Halton Arena. Curran Scott led the 49ers with 21 points, followed by four teammates who finished in double-digit scoring.

15. Nov. 29 – Charlotte women’s basketball capture Thanksgiving title

The Charlotte 49ers invaded Atlanta over Thanksgiving break for the GSU Thanksgiving Classic and returned home as champions. Both Kira Gordon and Alexis Alexander were named to the all-tournament team while Alexander collected the Classic’s MVP title. Additionally, the triumph marked the first in-season tournament title under Cara Consuegra.

Laia Raventós (Left) and Ciara Gregory (Right). Photo by Benjamin Robson
Laia Raventós (Left) and Ciara Gregory (Right). Photo by Benjamin Robson

16. Dec. 6 – Ciara Gregory’s six three-pointers at NC State, in Pete Maravich’s gym

While NC State renovated Reynolds Arena this season, the 49ers took on the Wolfpack in Broughton High School, the same floor Pete Maravich shined on. Ciara Gregory establish a lethal long-range shooting ability early on and knocked down six three-pointers against the Wolfpack on Dec. 6. Her half-dozen tally marked the second-most three-point field goals in a single game. (Over the course of the season, she went on to match that number twice more)

17. Dec. 7 – Laia Raventos’ SportCenter’s Top 10 appearance 

Niner Nation became aware of Laia Raventos’ ball-handling wizardry early on but the country witnessed her flair on the early morning Sportscenter on Dec. 7. Raventos’ dish to Lefty Webster peaked at No. 6 in the SC’s Top 10 Plays and later was nominated for State Farm’s “Assist of the Year”.

18. Jan. 14 – The Columbus Crew draft Kyle Parker

Kyle Parker enjoyed a stellar senior season with the 49ers, scoring a conference-leading 12 goals. On Jan. 14, the Columbus Crew selected Parker 31st overall, adding to the list of 49ers who’ve made the jump to the professional level.

Joseph Uchebo. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Joseph Uchebo. Photo by Benjamin Robson

19. Jan. 21 – Joseph Uchebo helps sink Marshall behind an insane double-double, 24 points and 21 rebounds

The 49ers defeated Marshall 103-95 in Halton Arena as Joseph Uchebo continued to stake his claim as one of the greatest center’s in Charlotte history, recording 24 points and 21 rebounds. It was the first 20-20 game for a Charlotte player since Curtis Withers had 23 points and 21 rebounds against Dayton on Feb. 4, 2006.

20. Jan. 21 – Griffin Dempsey hits buzzer-beater to sink Marshall

The 49ers endured a strenuous road trip in the middle of January which peaked on a last second, clutch three pointer from Griffin Dempsey. The Thundering Herd fought back but Dempsey’s hometown heroics propelled the 49ers to a much need road win and gave fans back home another reason to cheer on Jan. 21.

21. Feb. 11/Feb. 13 – Back-to-back 100 point games vs. Rice and North Texas 

Charlotte men’s basketball beat down on Texas schools, specifically Rice and North Texas. In the middle of the conference season, the 49ers tallied 100 points for the first time since the 1990-91 season. While five 49ers scored in double figures each game, Braxton Ogbueze led the way, averaging 19.5 points in the two games.

22. Feb. 13/Feb. 18 – Kira Gordon and Lefty Webster eclipse 1,000 career points 

Not one but two 49ers reached the century mark this season. Kira Gordon and Lefty Webster became the 21st and 22nd members of Charlotte women’s basketball’s 1,000 point club, respectively. The duo is the first of Consuegra’s recruits the reach the milestone and first to accomplish the feat in back-to-back games.

The Charlotte 49ers celebrate. Photo by Benjamin Robson
The Charlotte 49ers celebrate. Photo by Benjamin Robson

23. Feb. 20 – Charlotte women’s basketball’s triumph over WKU

At the time, the 49ers were riding a three game win-streak and found themselves in a contested battle for the fourth seed entering the conference tournament. WKU featured a dominant big three and Charlotte needed to display stifling defense for 40 minutes to keep their win-streak alive. All season long, Consuegra preached the importance of defense and in Halton Arena on Feb. 20, the 49ers put together a memorable 40 minutes and handed the Lady Toppers just their third conference defeat.

24. Feb. 25 – 49ers conquer UTSA in double-overtime thriller 

In a game that Mark Price called a “big gut check”, Charlotte pulled out a double-overtime victory over UTSA. The game saw a total of 18 lead changes, including a ten point 49er second half lead erased by a 12-0 Roadrunner run. But Charlotte recovered and forced overtime. After a strong defensive possession to end the first overtime, Charlotte rann away in the second by scoring five of the next six points to close the game out.

"The Flex." Photo by Benjamin Robson
“The Flex.” Photo by Benjamin Robson

25. Feb. 25 – “Joseph Uchebo flex” 

One year was enough for Joseph Uchebo to leave his mark at Charlotte. The all-time single season rebounding record holder made his way from Nigeria and became a fan favorite by years end. His trademark flex had Niner Nation in a frenzy every time he flashed it.

26. Feb. 26 – Joseph Uchebo usurps Kenyon Martin

Joseph Uchebo made a name for himself, not only in Charlotte’s record books, but Conference USA as well. In a double overtime game against UTSA, Uchebo surpassed Kenyon Martin’s decade long singles-season rebounding record in conference play. Uchebo finished with 380 total rebounds this past season and forces the question, just how long will this new record stand for?

27. Feb. 26 – Softball records best start in program history with 11-0 run

In their first 11 games of the season, the 49er softball team exhibited nothing short of dominance, going on an 11-0 run.  In all of their victories, the closest deficit was four runs. The 49ers first lost came against 22nd ranked UCF.

The Charlotte 49ers bench throws up "three." Photo by Benjamin Robson
The Charlotte 49ers bench throws up “three.” Photo by Benjamin Robson

28. Feb. 27 – Andrien White’s record breaking three-pointer and point to Jobey Thomas 

Records are meant to be broken. But doing so in front of the previous record holder makes it even more special. Andrien White broke Jobey Thomas’ previous record for most three-pointers by a freshman in a single season. As White trotted back on defense after making the record-breaking three, the freshman pointed to Thomas on the sidelines to acknowledge the milestone.

29. Feb. 28 – Becca Shipper dominates in first 14 games

The transfer from Florida made an immediate impact at the top of the softball lineup, compiling a .568 batting average in 14 games before breaking her ankle. Shipper had nine multi-hit games, 13 RBI’s and 16 runs scored, hitting safely in 13 of the 14 games.

30. Feb. 29 – Thomas Rowland finishes first in the Davidson Invitational

Thomas Rowland was the only golfer to seize a first place finish this season which came in the Davidson Invitational. Rowland won the three-round match and moved up to 42nd in the state rankings.

Laia Raventós. Photo by Chris Crews
Laia Raventós. Photo by Chris Crews

31. March 3 – Laia Raventos’ double-double (12 rebounds, 11 assists) vs. Rice 

Raventos’ double-double in rebounds and assists further highlighted her growth over the course of the season. The freshman grew into a complete guard over the course of the season and against Rice, she proved that she was willing to perform whatever duties the team needed in order to win. Additionally, both statistics were career-highs.

32. March 7 – Grace Hunter’s record setting C-USA “Freshman of the Week” tally 

Grace Hunter took Conference USA by storm once the New Year commenced. The Raleigh native picked up five C-USA “Freshman of the Week” titles (twice back-to-back), setting the single-season school record. Hunter’s dominance helped propel the 49ers to a 12-6 conference record and earned her a spot on the All-C-USA Freshman team.

Jordi Massallé Ferrer. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Jordi Massallé Ferrer. Photo by Benjamin Robson

33. March 7 – Jordi Massallé Ferrer becomes most-winningest player in program history 

Jordi Massalle Ferrer became the most-winningest singles and doubles player in Charlotte 49ers men’s tennis history this season. The senior reached unprecedented feats this season and earned plaudits from across C-USA, but most importantly his coach Jesse Tarr who said, “If you’re lucky as a coach, you’ll coach someone like Jordi in your career.”

34. March 8 – Softball receives vote for for first time in program history

After Charlotte brushed aside nationally ranked Kentucky on the road, the 49ers earned votes in the national poll for the first time in program history. Behind productive hitting and dominant pitching, Charlotte reached unprecedented heights in the midst of a grueling road trip.

35. March 8 – Two outstanding freshman begin new era 

Andrien White and Jon Davis gave hope to the future of Charlotte hoops. The two freshman were honored with the Conference USA All-Freshman team. Also worth mentioning that the both of them won C-USA freshman of the week at least once. Davis dished out the second most assists in a single season by a Charlotte freshman. White played an integral role as the three-and-D guy for Charlotte and ended up breaking the single-season record for threes made by a freshman in a season.   

36. March 9 – Joseph Uchebo hauls in 18 rebounds in first round of C-USA tournament, setting new record

If breaking the regular season rebounding record wasn’t enough, Joseph Uchebo continued his record-breaking performances in Birmingham, AL. Uchebo picked up 18 rebounds in the first round of the C-USA basketball tournament, breaking the single-game rebound record in tournament play.

The 49ers celebrate at the plate. Photo by Ben Coon
The 49ers celebrate at the plate. Photo by Chris Crews

37. March 16 – Brett Netzer blasts walk-off home run to beat Wake Forest for his first career home run 

On a 2-2 pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning against ACC’s Wake Forest, Brett Netzer had only one thing in mind; ending the game. He did just that when he belted a home run to deep right field, giving Charlotte a 7-6 walk-off victory.

38. March 16 – Reece Hampton enjoys historic start to freshman season with 17-game hit streak

Reece Hampton hit his way into the Charlotte baseball record book in his freshman year, tallying a hit in 17 straight games to start the season, proving to be one of the greatest freshman performances at the plate in 49ers history. During that stretch of 17 games, he batted .357.

39. March 17 – Ciara Gregory’s NCAA leading free-throw percentage

Ciara Gregory epitomized the definition of consistent from the free-throw line this season. With her 92.9 percent conversation rate from the charity stripe, Gregory was a player the opposition feared fouling. There’s a reason Charlotte’s competition didn’t adopt the hack-a-Ciara tactic late in games.

Laia Raventós. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Laia Raventós. Photo by Benjamin Robson

40. March 17 – Laia Raventós’ 129 freshman assists tally

The Spanish Sensation capped off her freshman season with 129 assists, one shy of tying former 49er Markita Aldridge’s single season record for most assists by a freshman, while playing less minutes. On the way to 129, Raventós created 294 points (2.3 PPA) and added unforgettable flair, worthy of video replay.

41. March 25 – Trey McRae tied for second nationally in the long jump with a 2.25m high jump 

Trey McRae made a statement in his final semester as a 49er, placing top five in each of the jump events he featured in during the 2016 outdoor season. He ranks second in the nation in high jump with a 2.25m jump.  

42. March 26 – Mark Price commits to the future of Charlotte

On March 26, Mark Price issued a statement to all of Niner Nation about his commitment to the program, saying “I wish my alma mater at Georgia Tech well in its search for a new head coach. I am committed to the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball program.” The 49ers are in good hands for the foreseeable future.

43. April 1 – Charlotte football signing day 

National signing day is an important date for every college football team. This year ,signing day proved to be the biggest yet for Charlotte football. Head coach Brad Lambert added 15 players (including the December signees) to the 49ers. The prized recruit was four-star running back Robert Washington from Huntersville, N.C. Washington chose the 49ers over Alabama and Pittsburgh.

Logan Sherer trots home at BB&T Ballpark. Photo by Ben Coon
Logan Sherer trots home at BB&T Ballpark. Photo by Ben Coon

44. April 5 – Logan Sherer bats over .650 in front of 10,000 fans in three games at BB&T Ballpark

Logan Sherer could not be stopped in Uptown Charlotte this season, going 8-for-12 in three games with an average just over .650 at BB&T Ballpark. Against Georgia, Sherer went 4-for-4 with two runs scored, 4 RBI’s and one home run. Sherer also went 3-for-4 against Winthrop, smacking two home runs, scoring three times and had three RBI’s.  

45. April 8-10 – 49ers baseball scores two wins against No. 12 ranked FAU

The baseball team traveled down to FAU mid-April for a three-game series against the 12th ranked Owls. The 49ers won the first contest 12-7 with 18 hits and Sean Geoghegan on the mound. Charlotte dropped the second game of the series, but came back Sunday and persisted through 15 innings to win the game 7-6. The 15-inning game is the longest in program history  

46. April 10 – Holden Capps throws 7.1 innings in relief to help Charlotte win in 15 innings 

Holden Capps came out of the bullpen against No. 12 Florida Atlantic in the eighth inning, not knowing that he was going to almost pitch a complete game in relief. Capps finished off the game for Charlotte by throwing 7.1 innings out of the bullpen, while only giving up two hits and striking out six batters on 80 pitches to get his third win of the season.

47. April 24 – Josh Maciejewski throws complete game, one-hit shutout against Marshall

Josh Maciejewski dominated from start to finish against Marshall, striking out seven batters and giving up only one hit in nine innings at the Hayes. The only hit that the sophomore lefty gave up came to the lead off batter for Marshall, who laid down a perfectly placed bunt right passed Maciejewski’s outstretched arms. This start proved to be one of the greatest starts in recent years for the 49ers.

Lexi Betancourt high-fives her catcher. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Lexi Betancourt high-fives her catcher. Photo by Benjamin Robson

48. April 30 – Lexi Betancourt becomes most-winningest pitcher in Charlotte softball history

Lexi Betancourt broke a 25-year old record against Middle Tennessee on the road in late April. The senior took her 69 career wins in Murfreesboro, Tenn. and led the 49ers to a three game sweep while surpassing former 49er Courtney Hankes for most career wins in program history (72).

49. May 7 – Emma Ocker claims program record

In the final three game series of the season, Emma Ocker broke former 49er Jessica Moore’s decade-old record for most runs scored in a single season for a freshman. Against Middle Tennessee, Ocker crossed the plate for the 38th time and increased her tally to 39 in the final regular season game.

Zach Jarrett: Driven toward baseball

Zach Jarrett. Photo by Ben Coon
Zach Jarrett. Photo by Ben Coon

It’s a typical mild Tuesday evening on April 26, and the Charlotte 49ers take the field for their routine pregame warmup. Hundreds of Charlotte fans stroll through the gates, some wearing green caps with the home team’s insignia stitched on the front. The overhead speakers shake to the sound of popular country music, livening the atmosphere prior to first pitch.

The majority of the 49er fans are college students, supporting their fellow classmates, but in the mix enters one well-known father who sits five rows back behind home plate in a dark green folding chair. Dale Jarrett marvels as his son, Zach Jarrett, displays the hard work that helped the left fielder reach a distinguished level in a sport, perhaps forgotten in the Jarrett family.

“His grandfather on his mother’s side was a professional baseball player for the Brooklyn Dodgers,” Dale smiled. “He never showed an interest in racing at all. He loved baseball from the time he started playing and his mom was much happier taking him to baseball practice than a garage or racetrack.”

Looking around the NASCAR community, there’s a “like father, like son” aura present with popular belief that distinguished drivers’ children will follow in their father’s footsteps. The Petty, Allison and Earnhardt families dominate the sports’ history; even the Jarrett family claimed success over two generations; however, Zach never sat behind the wheel of a race car and racing wasn’t a route that his family expected him to take.

“You see, so many people in the NASCAR world grow up in it and expect the kids of the drivers to grow into it and a lot of them do,” Zach said. “It was never expected in my family that I’d become a NASCAR driver.”

Instead, Zach followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, Jasper Spears, who played baseball at the professional level decades before his grandson was born. Zach’s family exposed him to the game at a young age and the interest grew. He sat and watched games with Jasper and listened to his grandfather’s stories.

The 6-foot-4 left fielder picked up the sport quickly from watching games on television. Jasper told his family stories of America’s past time while Zach listened.

There were always bats and balls present around the house, and Dale remembers playing outside in the yard with his son.

“[Zach] was always a good athlete but I think sitting with his grandfather and watching games, he learned a lot that way,” Dale said.

Zach Jarrett unloads from left field in BB&T Ballpark. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Zach Jarrett unloads from left field in BB&T Ballpark. Photo by Benjamin Robson

It was only the beginning.

Zach rose through ranks and wore a number of caps through his career. The Hickory, N.C. native played for David Craft and John Hamilton while representing the Hickory Red Tornadoes in high school. In four years, Zach earned plaudits for not only his renowned defensive ability, but also his offensive prowess.

Zach garnered “Best Defensive Player” as a sophomore and went on to earn “Best Offensive Player” as a junior. With his rising success and talent, he later acquired “Team MVP” in his senior season while leading the Red Tornadoes in extra-base hits.

The work Zach dedicated to the craft throughout his childhood, along with help of his father was finally paying off.

“I’m the person who’s been there and had seen his swing and even though he’s had people better than me to help him along the way, I understand what he needs to be doing,” Dale said. “A lot of times if he has questions or if he’s struggling, I’m the person he comes to.”

Before too long, Zach decided that collegiate baseball was the next step and that he didn’t want his career to end with high school graduation.

At the time, Zach showcased his skills playing during a tournament in Marietta, Ga.

Zach Jarrett smiles with his teammates in the dugout. Photo by Jared Allen
Zach Jarrett smiles with his teammates in the dugout. Photo by Jared Allen

The outfielder enjoyed what his father described as a “good game,” which led to bystanders asking whether or not Zach had given collegiate baseball any serious thoughts.

“I remember at dinner that night, he said, ‘That’s what I want to do, I want to play college baseball,’” Dale remembered.

The opportunity rested in front of the teenager and Charlotte, 58 miles south of Hickory, N.C. became his next stop.

The decision to play for the 49ers wasn’t overly difficult for Zach. According to his father, Zach never wanted to gallivant away from home and instead desired for his family to have the opportunity to see him compete whenever they’d like.

“It was probably one of the easiest decisions I’ve made, I fell in love with [Charlotte],” Zach said. “The coaches showed they really cared about you and how you were going to grow not only as a baseball player but also as a person.”

49ers head coach Loren Hibbs concurred.

“When you’re dealing with the grandson and son of someone like Ned Jarrett and Dale, you kind of hold your breath because you don’t really know what you’re going to get into,” Hibbs said. “From the first time we met, they were great people, a very grounded family with no sense of entitlement at all. [The recruiting process] was very positive.”

The coaches granted Zach playing time in his freshman season and the outfielder returned the favor. Zach stepped into the lineup and posted a batting average hovering around the .250 mark. While he experienced a drop off in his sophomore season, Zach led his team in RBIs, nearly batting-in a runner with each recorded hit.

Now in his junior campaign, nearly three-quarters of the way through the season, Zach has tallied more hits than in each of his prior two seasons and increased his on-base percentage in addition to his slugging percentage.

Zach Jarrett leads the line of high-fives at BB&T Ballpark. Photo by Jared Allen
Zach Jarrett leads the line of high-fives at BB&T Ballpark. Photo by Jared Allen

His talents continue to grow while he displays a character which his teammates and coaches describe as  a “positive energy guy.”

Although, there’s the theme that 7-of-10 times, failure is ordinary.

Zach enjoyed his fair share of triumphs, but also experienced a few low points thus far as a 49er. Mentally, the phenomenon is difficult to handle for some players, but the key for the left fielder is handling the adversity and channeling the positives.

Luckily, there’s a man in Zach’s corner who understands how to get over the metaphorical hurdles.

“He understands his game and we talk baseball, but the biggest thing is getting over the hurdle,” Dale said. “In racing, there’s only one winner and there were 42 people disappointed in some way. I don’t care if it was me, Dale Earnhardt or Jeff Gordon, staying mentally tough is the way you get through things and its the same way with hitting and [baseball]. I’m not a sports psychologist but I’ve been through it enough.”

Similar to the way he grasped the game, Zach is learning from the best

49ers drop first round C-USA matchup

The No. 11 seed Charlotte 49ers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first round of the Conference USA tournament but ultimately fell to No. 6 seed Louisiana Tech, 4-2.

Charlotte gained their first point after Victoria Pahlett/Tai Martin and Tyler Baker/Macy Vonderschmidt toppled their competition in doubles.

Vonderschmidt carried her momentum into the singles matchup and defeated Louisiana Tech’s Marta Sramkova, 6-3, 6-2. The Lady Techsters then battled back to regain control and top the 49ers on the afternoon.

The tournament match marked the final appearance for senior Baker. While her match decision was not counted, Baker finished her season with a team-high 19 singles wins including the fall tournaments.

Louisiana Tech 4, Charlotte 2

Singles

No. 1 Alexandra Starkova (LT) def. Victoria Pahlett (CHA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-0

No. 2 Jazmin Britos (LT) def. Tai Martin (CHA) 6-1, 7-6

No. 3 Macy Vonderschmidt (CHA) def. Marta Sramkova (LT) 6-3, 6-2

No. 4 Zoe Chen (LT) def. Sierra Stone (CHA) 6-3, 3-6, 6-1

No. 5 Tyler Baker (CHA) vs. Alba Escalona Perny (LT) 4-6, 3-5 DNF

No. 6 Manoela Chiacchio (LT) def. Megan Smith (CHA) 6-2, 6-3

 

Doubles

No. 1 Martin/Pahlett (CHA) def. Chen/Starkova (LT) 6-4

No. 2 Britos/Sramkova (LT) def. Smith/Stone (CHA) 6-2

No. 3 Baker/Vonderschmidt (CHA) def. Chiacchio/Taly Merker (LT) 6-2

Caroline Price: Priceless

Caroline Price. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Caroline Price. Photo by Benjamin Robson

Every NBA season before Caroline Price’s sixth birthday, she travelled with her father Mark Price across the country as he finished his honored basketball career. From Cleveland to Washington D.C. to San Francisco to Atlanta, basketball surrounded Caroline at a young age. She was in-and-out of NBA arenas and perhaps expected to follow in her father’s footsteps.

However, growing up in Atlanta, a tennis hot pocket, Caroline took a detour and diverted from her father’s game. She blazed her own trail and absorbed her mother’s sport, one played with a racquet and ball – tennis.

“We had neighborhood courts by our house that I grew up on and when my dad retired, my mom and him started playing mixed doubles on a team together,” Caroline said.

Caroline Price with her father Mark Price. Photos courtesy Caroline Price/Laura Price
Caroline Price with her father Mark Price. Photos courtesy Caroline Price/Laura Price

Her mother Laura Price played tennis in high school and Mark also loved playing socially. One of their first dates was to play tennis. Once the family settled down, Laura created a junior team for her oldest daughter, Brittany.

Mark recites the memories of Caroline’s first experience with tennis. She was eager, hungry and excited to involve herself in the game. Caroline begged to join her sister’s Atlanta Lawn and Tennis Association (ALTA) team, coached by her mother. She became the team’s honorary ball girl and chased the stray balls for the older girls, just to share the court with them.

When Caroline turned eight, she joined the team. Before too long, her expertise in the game grew fast and within a year she was better than everyone else on the 12 and under team, including her sister.

Caroline evidently possessed her father’s athletic genes and while she excelled at tennis, her genetics called for a basketball career. She was athletic and taller than teammates her age and even played under her father in the fifth and sixth grade.

“I was lucky enough that my dad got to coach my middle school basketball league,” Caroline laughed. “I think I had the best middle school coach ever.”

Caroline also excelled at volleyball. However, three sports along with her everyday responsibilities became too much. Her father knew the amount of commitment required to reach the highest level in any particular sport and offered his daughter a small piece of advice.

“I told her she needed to at least break it down to two [sports],” Mark smiled. “She chose volleyball and tennis and broke her dad’s heart.”

Caroline Price playing in the Easter Bowl while in high school. Photo courtesy Caroline Price/Laura Price
Caroline Price playing in the Easter Bowl while in high school. Photo courtesy Caroline Price/Laura Price

By eighth grade, Caroline decided to devote all of her attention to tennis. Since a young age, she strove to compete at the collegiate level playing tennis. Before her sophomore year in high school, she won the Easter Bowl, one of the most prestigious junior tournaments in the country. Soon after, Caroline captured the National Clay Court Championship in singles and doubles and qualified for the junior US Open.

In 2010, it came time for Caroline to enroll at a university to continue her tennis career. Recruiters from coast to coast yearned to sign the nationally ranked juniors player.

She possessed a handful of options including Georgia Tech, her parents’ alma mater.

All signs pointed to the Yellow Jackets. Ryan Shelton, a family friend, coached the team at the time and was someone Caroline knew for the majority of her life. The college recruiting process became long and tiresome and Mark thought for sure that Caroline would select Georgia Tech. However, one school, 379 miles from home continued to recruit her and Mark pushed his daughter to visit.

Caroline Price during her time as a Tar Heel. Photo courtesy Caroline Price/Laura Price
Caroline Price during her time as a Tar Heel. Photo courtesy Caroline Price/Laura Price

“North Carolina was last on my list,” Caroline said. “I fell in love with it and decided that was my school.”

Caroline shined as a Tar Heel and achieved nearly every possible feat in her four years. She claimed All-American status on numerous occasions and helped North Carolina lift two indoor national championships in a span of three years. Her team reached the Elite Eight in her sophomore season and the NCAA finals during her junior year, ultimately losing a heartbreaker to UCLA. Caroline competed in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship and accumulated 128 singles victories, second-most in program history.

Caroline Price holding the Patterson Medal. Photo courtesy Laura Price
Caroline Price holding the Patterson Medal. Photo courtesy Caroline Price/Laura Price

Additionally, she became the first women’s tennis player to win the Patterson Medal, the most prestigious athletic honor awarded at the University of North Carolina.

“It’s such an honor because I gave my heart to that school. It’s an honor and a privilege to wear North Carolina on my chest,” Caroline smiled. “I look at the list of names who received the medal and don’t think I belong. A lot of credit goes to my parents; they raised me and held me to high standards.”

The Patterson Medal recipients embody more than just a noteworthy athletic ability.

“I was very proud of her because the award not only encompasses your athletic accomplishments but also the kind of person you are, the way you represent your school,” Mark said. “That makes mom and dad proud, not just because she’s a good tennis player but because of the young lady she’s turned into.”

At the time, Caroline set her sights on the Pro Circuit, which she competed in and lifted a title in her first professional competition. However, she shifted away from that lifestyle and ventured into a role presently common in her family: coaching.

In spring 2015, Caroline’s father Mark accepted a head coaching job with the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball program, only for his daughter to follow a few months later as the volunteer assistant with the 49ers women’s tennis team.

At the time, Caroline didn’t know Michaela Gorman, Charlotte’s head women’s tennis coach, personally, but she fell in love with the university through her father. She aspired to help in any way she could and didn’t see any harm in asking.

“She came to me in January and said, ‘I’d like to help you,’” Gorman said. “Nobody’s ever said that to me, it was amazing.”

Caroline Price (left) stands alongside head women's tennis coach Michaela Gorman (right). Photo by Benjamin Robson
Caroline Price (left) stands alongside Charlotte head women’s tennis coach Michaela Gorman (right). Photo by Benjamin Robson

Needless to say, Gorman welcomed Caroline aboard.

“I love [coaching],” Caroline said.

Coaching poses different challenges for athletes. While Caroline is still on the tennis court daily, she’s no longer holding the racquet, directly affecting the outcome of a certain match. Instead, she’s on the sideline analyzing her players’ strengths and weaknesses and creating a game plan to help her team win.

But also, she’s relatively the same age as her players.

“It’s been quite a challenge especially since my age is close to the girls’,” Caroline said. “Being a volunteer, I think I have a special position in that I’m an authority to an extent but I can also relate to the girls more outside the tennis courts.”

Gorman admires Caroline’s approach and how she’s embraced the coaching role.

“I’ve told her before, she’s a very mature 23-year-old,” Gorman said. “She’s an adult and has taken this more as job than trying to be their friend. The team knows she cares about them.”

Caroline’s youth is beneficial. Gorman noted that Caroline’s eye for the game offers a perspective that combines well with her own coaching methods. She’s been through the fire, recently, and understands the players’ situations. She can relate to the team, which is an aspect Caroline appreciates.

Caroline Price coaches Macy Vonderschmidt between sets. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Caroline Price coaches Macy Vonderschmidt between sets. Photo by Benjamin Robson

Mark and Caroline’s mother, Laura, are happy for their daughter; however, there’s one surprise neither expected.

“We bought a house, thought we were downsizing a bit,” Mark said. “All of a sudden, Hudson (Caroline’s brother) transferred back [to Charlotte to play basketball] and Caroline graduated and moved to Charlotte. It’s nice having everyone close, it’s been fun for Laura and me.”

It’s the first time in years since the majority of the Price family lived under one roof. While Caroline’s sister is married and living in Asheville, Caroline and her two other siblings reside in Charlotte and have adopted the culture and lifestyle.

“I love it, I’m very close with my family,” Caroline said. “It’s a special time to all be together. It’s rare.”

Although Caroline is back home living with her family, close to the tennis courts, she no longer challenges the one person that helped build her into the player she is today. She’s grown and her tennis game has massively improved since she was in high school, enough that her father, the one with the self-proclaimed decent forehand and weak backhand shies away from one-on-one competition.

“I can’t beat her anymore, that’s why,” Mark said. “I think she was about 14 the last time I beat her.”

Victoria Pahlett: Victorious

Just over two years have passed since Victoria Pahlett boarded a plane from Sweden bound for Charlotte. Looking back, she has zero regrets.

Earlier in her career, the recognized Swede ranked among the top 10 juniors in her age group nationally and earned a top 40 ranking in the seniors category across Sweden. Pahlett held numerous options at the next level after fulfilling her requirements at ProCivitis, one of the most prominent upper secondary schools in the south of Sweden, but in the end chose Charlotte. Pahlett joined the team and enrolled in the university in the Spring of 2014.

With minimal experience at the collegiate level, Pahlett smashed her way into Charlotte’s No. 1 singles position and maintained the role for three consecutive seasons. The junior continues to climb the 49ers’ all-time career singles record list at the No. 1 and has positioned herself within striking distance of the top spot moving into her senior season.

While Pahlett aspired to further her tennis career in Charlotte, she also embraced the role of a student and has proven why she’s victorious in more ways than one.

Victoria Pahlett. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Victoria Pahlett. Photo by Benjamin Robson

How did you get involved with tennis living in Sweden?

I started playing tennis when I was three years old. My dad was really successful and I have two older brothers who used to play and I always grew up playing with them.

What brought you to Charlotte, what did you fall in love with here at the university?

I had a lot of options but this was the only option that started in January. I loved the campus when I came to visit and it seemed like a really nice environment. That determined why I ended up here. I like it here!

You’ve been tabbed the “Perfect Niner” for you 4.0 GPA in each of your semesters here at Charlotte, how do you keep everything balanced?

I’m just a very driven person. If I feel if I don’t reach my full potential not getting an A, I’ll go for the A. In general I feel that I always aim for the highest in case I don’t reach it, I’m a little disappointed but still I feel I have the potential to reach it.

Rumor has it that you’re an entrepreneur and you have your own business back home in Sweden?

Yes, I do.

Victoria Pahlett looks on during a match at Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Victoria Pahlett looks on during a match at Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex. Photo by Benjamin Robson

What is your business?

It’s fashion. It began with bracelets. I’m not going to reveal too much but in the summer, I’m going to go back home and work on it more when I have more time. It’s fun and more like a brand. I started it in the Fall of 2013 before I came here [Charlotte].

Are you able to keep up with it here in the United States?

It’s hard to do both, school and tennis plus keep up with it, so I’m prioritizing. I don’t think I’d do a good job keeping up with it all at the same time but I have people helping me back home. I’m trying to keep it where it is right now and then we’ll see.

What has been the biggest challenge for you?

My biggest challenge is myself. I’m so hard on myself and sometimes you just have to give yourself a break. You can’t be perfect in everything you do. Then mentally, it’s tough to always stay on top but I try to always stay positive and happy.

Victoria Pahlett sets herself before showing off her backhand. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Victoria Pahlett sets herself before showing off her backhand. Photo by Benjamin Robson

What motivates you to keep going and pursuing your goal?

Just someday to reach my goals. I feel like being done with school next year and leaving with a great degree. I want to fulfill my other dreams beyond tennis afterwards.

How often do you go back home?

I go back home over the summer and during winter break.

You’ve travelled the world quite a bit, what has been your worst travel experience?

I have been around the world a lot but I think it was the food in China. It was a rough trip. I loved seeing all of China and their culture but when it came to food, it was tough. I’m a very plain person when it comes to food and I struggled a lot!

Where do you see yourself after tennis?

I want to be an entrepreneur. I want to have my own business but I want to give tennis a shot for a year or so after I graduated. I want to see what kind of ranking I can obtain because in Sweden, either you go pro or you quit. There’s no in between like here. But, I want to give it a try and if it doesn’t work out, I think I have other options for myself.

49ers men’s tennis falls in final regular season matchup

The Charlotte 49ers men’s tennis team claimed two singles wins and two doubles win but ultimately fell to the College of Charleston, 4-3 in their final regular season match.

“Losing a 4-3 match is never easy,” head coach Jesse Tarr said. “I am really proud of the guys. They left it all on the court and we gave ourselves an opportunity to beat a really tough Charleston team. Credit to Charleston, they were the better team today.”

Vikram Hundal and Jordi Massallé Ferrer won their 20th doubles match of the year, claiming the fourth spot on the all time most single season doubles wins list.

The 49ers now focus their attention on the Conference USA tournament, beginning Thursday, April 21 at Rice University in Houston.

Col. of Charleston 4, Charlotte 3

Singles competition

  1. Juan Estevarena (COFCM) def. Vikram Hundal (CHA) 1-6, 7-5, 6-2
  2. J. Massalle Ferrer (CHA) def. Charlie Ghriskey (COFCM) 7-6, 6-3
  3. Sam Rice (CHA) def. Rodrigo Encinas (COFCM) 6-4, 6-1
  4. Zack Lewis (COFCM) def. A. Garcia Moreno (CHA) 6-1, 7-6
  5. Vasily Kichigin (COFCM) def. Oriol Puig (CHA) 6-1, 2-6, 6-2
  6. Garrett Gordon (COFCM) def. Sam Brazil (CHA) 6-4, 6-2

Doubles competition

  1. Vikram Hundal/J. Massalle Ferrer (CHA) def. Juan Estevarena/Rodrigo Encinas (COFCM) 6-4
  2. Charlie Ghriskey/Josh Record (COFCM) def. Josh Aubrey/Carl Solik (CHA) 6-4
  3. Sam Brazil/Sam Rice (CHA) def. Zack Lewis/Matt Daly (COFCM) 6-4

49ers end regular season on winning ways

The Charlotte 49ers women’s tennis team defeated Wofford on the road to claim their fifth consecutive victory to cap off the regular season.

Four straight singles wins propelled the 49ers to a 4-1 triumph after falling behind 1-0 in doubles play.

“We had a great focus in singles after some tough doubles matches,” head coach Michaela Gorman said. “I’m very proud of the way we were able to go out and finish the day, and the regular season, with a win.”

Each 49er led their respective singles contest however both Tai Martin and Macy Vonderschmidt’s matches were left unfinished due to their teammates’ success.

Charlotte will now rest before looking towards the Conference USA tournament beginning Thursday at Middle Tennessee. The 49ers will wait to receive their seeding until all teams finish their regular season.

Charlotte 4, Wofford 1

Singles
No. 1 Victoria Pahlett (CHA) def. Catherine Martin (WOF) 6-3, 5-2 (ret.)
No. 2 Tai Martin (CHA) vs. Cassidy Hicks (WOF) 7-5, 1-2 DNF
No. 3 Macy Vonderschmidt (CHA) vs. Taylor Carlson (WOF) 6-2, 5-4 DNF
No. 4 Tyler Baker (CHA) def. Mareli Sanchez (WOF) 6-2, 6-2
No. 5 Megan Smith (CHA) def. Emily Erickson (WOF) 6-2, 6-1
No. 6 Alexandra Lee (CHA) def. Brooke Graham (WOF) 6-0, 6-1

Doubles
No. 1 Martin/Pahlett (CHA) vs. Hicks/Kalli Karas (WOF) 3-2 DNF
No. 2 Lauren Reid/Samantha Russell (WOF) def. Smith/Sierra Stone (CHA) 6-1
No. 3 Carlson/Martin (WOF) def. Baker/Vonderschmidt (CHA) 6-2

49ers claim fourth-straight win

Tyler Baker. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Tyler Baker. Photo by Benjamin Robson

Charlotte women’s tennis claimed their fourth-straight victory and extended their season-best winning streak after recording a 5-3 triumph at UNC Greensboro. The 49ers now hold a 9-9 record and six wins against ITA Carolina Region opponents.

“I’m proud of the way we worked today,” head coach Michaela Gorman said. “This was a great team win against a tough UNC Greensboro squad.”

The 49ers jumped out to an early lead with doubles victories from tandems Macy Vonderschmidt/Tyler Baker and Megan Smith/Sierra Stone. Each duo topped their opponent 6-3, clinching a point rendering a DNF in Victoria Pahlett/Tai Martin’s No. 1 doubles matchup.

Charlotte carried the momentum into singles as Pahlett, Vonderschmidt, Baker and Smith each tallied a victory.

Pahlett won her first set 6-2 before Soumeya Anane was forced to retire due to an injury in the second set.

The 49ers will aspire to improve upon their season-best winning streak as they take on Wofford, Saturday, April 16. First serve is set for 1 p.m.

Charlotte 5, UNC Greensboro 2

Singles
No. 1 Victoria Pahlett (CHA) def. Soumeya Anane (UNCG) 6-2, 1-1 (ret.)
No. 2 Sarah Swiderski (UNCG) def. Tai Martin (CHA) 6-1, 6-2
No. 3 Macy Vonderschmidt (CHA) def. Amy Ellis (UNCG) 6-0, 6-0
No. 4 Masey DeMoss (UNCG) def. Sierra Stone (CHA) 6-0, 6-2
No. 5 Tyler Baker (CHA) def. Blaine Boaz (UNCG) 6-3, 6-4
No. 6 Megan Smith (CHA) def. Jamie Grinberg (UNCG) 6-1, 3-6, 11-9

Doubles
No. 1 Martin/Pahlett (CHA) vs. Boaz/Swiderski (UNCG) 5-5 DNF
No. 2 Smith/Stone (CHA) def. DeMoss/Franco (UNCG) 6-3
No. 3 Baker/Vonderschmidt (CHA) def. Ellis/Grinberg (UNCG) 6-3

Jordi Massallé Ferrer: King of the court

With one crack of the forehand, Jordi Massallé Ferrer claimed immortality within Charlotte athletics.

The sizzling sun rays beat down on the darkened green playing surface at Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex. Massallé Ferrer stood with two feet planted behind the white end line. He gripped his Babolat AeroPro Drive racquet in his right hand as his left palm caressed the vibrant yellow, felt tennis ball. Fairfield’s Ofir Soloman stood across the net, swaying back and forth as Massallé Ferrer tossed the ball above his head and served.

Fans looked on as the senior hailing from Sant Feliu de Guixols, Spain volleyed back and forth with his opponent. Massallé Ferrer danced and slid from left to right before claiming the match-point and his 85th career singles win, the most in Charlotte 49ers program history.

Jordi Massallé Ferrer. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Jordi Massallé Ferrer. Photo by Benjamin Robson

“It’s an honor,” Massallé Ferrer said. “I think it’s just hard work, dedication and the willingness to do the little things.”

Massallé Ferrer grew up with a racquet in his hand. He remembers traveling with his mother to play games with friends, strictly for fun at three years old. He adapted to tennis naturally even though he cherished soccer as a child.

“I’m from Spain, I love soccer but my mom always wanted me to play tennis,” Massallé Ferrer said. “I was brought in that direction and I never complained. I love the sport and when I was smaller I was good at it. That just made it easier.”

The Spaniard accomplished noteworthy feats by the time he boarded a plane for the United States.

Massallé Ferrer claimed the singles title in Catalunya, Spain and reached the Spanish National Championship finals in doubles. He ranked 112th in the Open rankings in Spain and reached the International Tennis Federation finals in 2011. However, it took more than just a polished backhand to succeed across the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to his acclaimed tennis skill set, Massallé Ferrer excelled in the classroom and spoke proficient English by the age of 16. A close friend that experienced the intercontinental transition four times with his own children advised Massallé Ferrer to take the “great opportunity.”

Jordi Massallé Ferrer. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Jordi Massallé Ferrer. Photo by Benjamin Robson

Massallé Ferrer flourished in the United States and winning became routine. In his freshman season, Massallé Ferrer won 25 singles matches, seventh most in program history and fell one short of matching the mark in his sophomore campaign. Last season, the Spaniard claimed 29 singles victories and played an integral part in helping the 49ers reach 18 wins, second most in school history.

The trend continued this season, as the senior has tallied 15 victories in 21 matches thus far, but not because of his physical attributes.

“Right now, I don’t win the majority of my matches because of physical strength, “Massallé Ferrer said. “I win because of my experience.”

Massallé understands the game better than most and he’s become accustomed to various play styles and tactical approaches. In his three previous seasons at Charlotte, Massallé Ferrer played alongside Jack Williams and Kamil Khalil in doubles. Massallé Ferrer’s teammates’ approaches differed, but molded him into a versatile player.

“With Kamil and Jack, I used to return on the deuce side and now I return on the ad side, which I like better,” Massallé Ferrer said. “Jack liked to finish points faster, therefore I knew I had to adapt, while Kamil liked to make the opposition miss.”

This season, Massallé Ferrer plays beside classmate Vikram Hundal and recently shattered the record for most career doubles wins in 49ers history. Additionally, with a handful of matches remaining, including the Conference USA championships, Massallé Ferrer and Hundal are chasing the program record for most doubles wins in a single season.

“Jordi is the greatest player to come out of here [Charlotte]. It’s definitely comforting to have him on the court next to me,” Hundal said.

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Jordi Massallé Ferrer competes in doubles alongside teammate and classmate Vikram Hundal. Photo by Benjamin Robson

Those close to Massallé Ferrer boast about how hard he trains and the focus he dedicates to his craft. According to head coach Jesse Tarr, the hours his senior has committed to tennis over his career are uncountable.

“I don’t know if I could count,” Tarr said. “At least two or three hours a day for 17 straight years. I’m only the tennis coach, not a mathematician, but it’s not a little bit.”

Tarr isn’t the only witness.

“Other coaches say he doesn’t have a weakness,” Tarr said. “Tennis-wise, he can do a little bit of everything on the court. The guy hates to lose. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a practice match, a match over the summer or the conference championship. He competes at the same pace simply because he hates to lose.”

Massallé Ferrer’s work ethic is evident in his prosperity on the court, but his success expands beyond the four white boundary lines.

The senior shines in the classroom and in his sophomore year, the university recognized his efforts and presented him the Hugh McEniry Award – given to the 49er male student-athlete with the highest GPA.

“Jordi is a very business-oriented guy. He’s on top of everything [school and tennis],” Hundal said. “You wouldn’t guess it because of all his success, but he’s a very humble guy.”

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Jordi Massallé Ferrer lines up a backhand return. Photo by Leysha Caraballo

Despite Massallé Ferrer’s prestigious accomplishments, he still finds a way to fulfill what he feels is a leadership role this season.

“This year, I feel like a mentor trying to help the young kids,” Massallé Ferrer said. “Trying to give them a desire to become better and do the extra things that in my case helped me.”

Tarr recognizes Massallé Ferrer’s contributions as a leader within the 49ers men’s tennis program.

“He’s a good person. He’s reliable, he shows up on time and the guys respect him,” Tarr said. “Even if he’s stressed in his own personal life, with his school or tennis, he’s always present in everyone’s lives. If someone’s having a bad day, he’s talking to them without me asking. He lives with some of the guys and they rely on him. We joke that he’s a father figure.”

It’s what Massallé Ferrer has become known known for. His smooth forehand and swift reaction time propelled him to unprecedented heights on the court, but becoming a household name and leaving a lasting impression within an athletics program requires the full package.

“If you’re lucky as a coach, you’ll coach someone like Jordi in your career.”

Getting to know Lizzy Birch

Lizzy Birch. Photo courtesy Charlotte Media Relations
Lizzy Birch. Photo courtesy Charlotte Media Relations

There’s few players in the conference better at reaching base than Lizzy Birch. The freshman ranks sixth in Conference USA with an impressive .481 on-base percentage (26 hits and 21 walks) through 34 games played. Avid Charlotte softball fans have come accustom to seeing Birch on base but how well does Niner Nation know the Mint Hill, N.C. native off the diamond?

Any superstitions? If so what?

I don’t tie my cleats but I’m not sure that’s a superstition. I tie them right when I get them and if I have to tie them again I’d get someone else to tie them.

What is your perfect pizza?

I love pizza! I’m really simple, I just like cheese.

What is the longest you’ve gone without sleeping?

Not that long. I’ve never pulled an all-nighter before.

Favorite sundae topping?

Rainbow sprinkles.

Who is your role model and why?

My parents. They’re really supportive and fun to be around.

Zombies have invaded the earth, who’s fighting on your team?

Courtney Carroll because we roll in a pack, Becca [Shipper] and Alex Paulson.

Lizzy Birch (right) and Courtney Carroll (left). Photo by Leysha Caraballo
Lizzy Birch (right) and Courtney Carroll (left). Photo by Leysha Caraballo

Who’s the funniest player on the team?

Courtney [Carroll].

Favorite thing about UNC Charlotte?

The people.

One place you could travel to right now?

Greece.

If you could only do one dance move for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Hopefully not, I’m not a good dancer.

What scares you the most?

I don’t like snakes.

What’s in your refrigerator right now?

Salsa, milk and hot pockets.

What’s the most random thing you’ve ever watched all the way through on Netflix?

Any of the documentaries on World War II. I’ve watched about four of them.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would play the lead role?

Amanda Bynes. The Amanda Bynes circa She’s the Man era.

If you had to live without one of your five senses, which one would you give up?

My taste.

What is something you’ve always wanted to try but have been scared to?

Brussel sprouts.

What is your favorite candy?

Sour Trolli gummy worms. The pink and blue ones.

Biggest pet peeve?

When people leave my door just a little bit open. That really gets me.

Do you believe in ghosts?

No. I just don’t find them scary therefore I don’t care to believe in them.

One superhero power you’d like to have?

This one gets me. Either to read minds, be invisible or to fly because I don’t like traffic.

Lizzy Birch fields a ground ball at second base. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Lizzy Birch fields a ground ball at second base. Photo by Benjamin Robson

What is your favorite show on Netflix?

Gossip Girl.

If you could sing one song on American Idol, what would it be?

I’ve actually thought about this a lot. I’m not a very good singer but anything by Tori Kelly. “Dear No One” or “All in My Head.”

What is one skill you’d like to learn?

How to sew.

How would your friends describe you?

I’m not sure, probably goofy and outgoing.

What is your favorite restaurant in the university area?

Cheddar’s.

What is the last book you read?

1984 by George Orwell. I read that senior year.

First music album?

NSYNC.

If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Probably a turtle, they live a long time.

Favorite ’90s jam from a ’90s kid?

Anything NSYNC.

Stone claims Charlotte’s lone victory in loss to No. 47 Georgia State

The Charlotte 49ers women’s tennis team battled nationally ranked Georgia State on the road over weekend, ultimately falling to the Cougars, 6-1.
Junior Sierra Stone posted the 49ers solo victory after claiming a three set decision in the No. 5 spot. After dropping the first set, Stone rallied back to earn her second victory of the spring since recovering from an early-season injury.
Charlotte returns home Wednesday, April 6 to welcome Campbell at 2 p.m. The match marks the first of three at home for the 49ers extending into the weekend.
No. 47 Georgia State 6, Charlotte 1
Singles
No. 1 Linn Timmermann (GAST) def. Victoria Pahlett (CHA) 6-2, 6-2
No. 2 Kristin Rehse (GAST) def. Tai Martin (CHA) 6-3, 6-2
No. 3 Niri Rasolomalala (GAST) def. Macy Vonderschmidt (CHA) 6-4, 6-2
No. 4 Chiara Volejnicek (GAST) def. Tyler Baker (CHA) 4-6, 6-1, 10-6
No. 5 Sierra Stone (CHA) def. Lara Vovk (GAST) 1-6, 7-6, 10-8
No. 6 Daniela Ramirez (GAST) def. Alexandra Lee (CHA) 6-2, 6-2Doubles
No. 1 Tarani Kamoe/Timmermann (GAST) def. Martin/Pahlett (CHA) 7-5
No. 2 Megan Smith/Stone (CHA) vs. Rasolomalala/Rehse (GAST) DNF
No. 3 Ramirez/Volejnicek (GAST) def. Baker/Vonderschmidt (CHA) 6-3

49ers sweep Winthrop in double-header

Haley Pace fields a ground ball at shortstop. Photo by Benjamin Robson
Haley Pace fields a ground ball at shortstop. Photo by Benjamin Robson

Charlotte 49ers softball (20-14) recorded their 19th and 20th win of the season Tuesday, March 29 outscoring Winthrop over two games. The 49ers defeated the Eagles 2-0 and 9-1 respectively.

“A lot of positive things happened today,” coach Aimee DeVos said of the wins. “We had nice and strong pitching performances and the offense was pretty incredible. It was a nice little push, and we can definitely use that to head into Wednesday’s game with South Carolina.”

GAME 1: CHARLOTTE 2, WINTHROP 0

The 49ers didn’t break out the bats until the fifth inning after Haley Wiseman kept the Eagles scoreless through 15 outs.

Haley Pace led of the fifth and smacked a first pitch home run over the the left field fence. Her self-created RBI gave Charlotte momentum as Grace Beatty followed and reached base on a hit-by-pitch. Meredith Harris then moved Beatty into scoring position on sacrifice bunt. Erin Powers’ one-put double to right center scored Beatty and increased the 49ers’ advantage to two.

Wiseman went on to throw a complete game and earned her seventh personal win of the season.

GAME 2: CHARLOTTE 9, WINTHROP 1 (6 innings)

The Eagles struck first in the second game, scoring one in the first inning. With Lexi Betancourt in the circle for Charlotte, she kept Winthrop quiet for the ensuing three innings before the 49ers tallied runs.

In the fourth, Pace singled up the middle and advanced to second on n ensuing groundout. She then scored the tying run after Harris doubled to left center.

“Haley Pace has been as consistent as she can be at the plate for us, and I think that it was contagious today,” DeVos said.

The following inning, Charlotte scored sixth insurance runs beginning with Alex Paulson. The freshman worked a full-count walk to reach based and tagged each bag on Emma Ocker’s single which she extended to a triple on errors. Bailey Rhoney followed and drove in Ocker on a double to right.

Pace and Beatty then walked to load the bases. Harris stepped to plate and earned another RBI on a four pitch walk.

Erin Powers extended the 49ers momentum and ripped a bases clearing double to right center helping increasing Charlotte’s lead, 7-1.

Betancourt stepped back into the circle in the sixth and tallied three quick outs including two strikeouts before Charlotte summoned the mercy rule, scoring two more runs and ending the contest.

The 49ers return to Phillips Softball Complex Wednesday, March 30 to battle South Carolina. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.

Carolina Rebellion injects energy into our own backyard

Carolina Rebellion 2016 lineup. Photo courtesy Carolina Rebellion's Facebook page
Carolina Rebellion 2016 lineup. Photo courtesy Carolina Rebellion’s Facebook page

Convening in Concord, N.C., Carolina Rebellion is the most energized musical gathering on the east coast. This year, a plethora of legendary classic artists will mix with today’s chart-topping rock icons for a three-day, epic soirée in early May guaranteed to boil your blood (in a good way).

The Scorpions, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, A Day To Remember, Rob Zombie, Deftones and Disturbed headline the sixth annual rock-fest and are joined by the likes of Bring Me the Horizon, Lamb Of God, 3 Doors Down, SIXX:A.M., Alice Cooper. In total, 50+ bands will shake four stages the first weekend in May (6-8).




“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Rock n’ Roll is a way of life and Carolina Rebellion is living proof… We are honored to be on this year’s lineup,” Brent Smith of Shinedown said. “We hope the Rebels are ready, because we are!”

Shinedown returns to Carolina Rebellion for the first time since headlining in 2012. This year though, the Jacksonville, Fla. natives reappear with added songs on their setlist, notably consisting of numerous chart-topping tracks off their fifth studio album Threat to Survival.

After a three year hiatus, critics questioned whether Shinedown had anything left in the tank since their inception in 2001. AllMusic verified that fans shouldn’t have any worries:

“If anything, Threat to Survival proves that Shinedown still have plenty of gas left in the tank.”

Shinedown begins their summer tour April 15 in Cabazon, Ca. With two weeks of prep prior to their showing in North Carolina, the hard rockers will welcome a potential record-breaking crowd on day two.

If Bring Me the Horizon live is a foreign language, then a simple google search will properly acclimate the unfamiliar souls. 

The alternative rock veterans hailing from Sheffield, England add to the heavy rock names gathering 17 miles of Charlotte, N.C. Oliver Sykes and co. make their first appearance at Carolina Rebellion and certainly will welcome the relatively new faces after flooding the United Kingdom with heart-pounding performances for the past decade.

Additionally, Bring Me the Horizon carries their newest album, That’s The Spirit, with them on their revamped setlist after transitioning from their metalcore roots. This shouldn’t bring any worries though as Bring Me the Horizon’s most recent release continues to earn plaudits in the music industry. If anything, Rebels should feel excited for Bring Me the Horizon’s presence.



With Carolina Rebellion’s storied success over the past half-decade, welcoming 80,000 fans last year, the most in history, it’s no surprise that the festival is now expanding to three days in 2016.

“From its inception, we believed Carolina Rebellion would grow into a three-day festival,” co-executive producer Danny Wimmer said. “There is a loyal rock fan base here to support Rebellion’s continued growth. While this, of course, means another full day of music, including more classic artists, the entire festival experience will be noticeably enhanced.”

Sure, another day will add to the nonstop head-banging euphoria, but this year guests can expect an upgrade in gourmet food.

The entire festival experience will be noticeably enhanced,” Wimmer said. “This year’s emphasis will be on food. We will be hosting a ‘Gourmet Man Food’ offering that reflects the cultural food explosion that is happening all around the country.”

Godsmack on the Rebellion stage of last years festival. Photo by Benjamin Robson.
Godsmack on the Rebellion stage of last year’s festival. Photo by Benjamin Robson.

The expanded Pig Out BBQ Village will certainly “kick things up a notch” serving attendees large portions of statement-making food all weekend long.

Furthermore, Carolina Rebellion added The Music Experience which features “all the elements in making music in a band setting.” Guitars, amps, drums, keyboards and electronic gear that are used by today’s most popular bands will be on display all three days in addition to artist signings and interactions.

Monster Energy promises to keep all Rebels fueled offering free sampling throughout the weekend on their Monster Energy viewing deck. Moreover, Monster Energy is still giving 25 pairs of tickets at select Circle K locations in the area and awarding one Rebel the ultimate experience that includes tickets, hotel, spending cash and a SIXX:A.M. meet and greet.

For full festival details and to purchase tickets, visit http://carolinarebellion.com/tickets. Weekend and single day passes are still available, get your tickets soon!

For more information on Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion, visit:

Men’s tennis drops East Carolina

The Charlotte 49ers men’s tennis team swept East Carolina on the road over the weekend, defeating the Pirates 4-0.

“We played indoors today in a tough environment against a talented ECU team,” Charlotte coach Jesse Tarr said. “All three of our doubles teams played solid and technically sound doubles today.”

The 49ers claimed a quick two wins in doubles competition as Vikram Hundal and Jordi Massalle Ferrer recorded their 15th doubles win of the season. The momentum gained for their victory as a duo carried over into their respective singles matches. Both Hundal and Massalle Ferrer defeated their respective opponents in the one and two spot in three sets.

Charlotte’s Sam Rice tallied another victory in singles forcing an end to the day as Charlotte carried their seventh victory back to the Queen City.

Men’s tennis returns to action Sunday, April 3 as they head to Gaffney, S.C. to take on Limestone at 2:30 p.m.

Charlotte 4, East Carolina 0

Singles competition

  1. Vikram Hundal (CHA) def. Tendai Tapfuma (ECU) 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
  2. J. Massalle Ferrer (CHA) def. Kasey Countee (ECU) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
  3. Sam Rice (CHA) def. Fredric Lehfeldt (ECU) 6-2, 2-6, 6-2
  4. Vlad Anghel (ECU) vs. A. Garcia Moreno (CHA) 1-2, unfinished
  5. James Ling (ECU) vs. Oriol Puig (CHA) 1-1, unfinished
  6. Will Bissett (ECU) vs. Sam Brazil (CHA) unfinished

Doubles competition

  1. Vikram Hundal/J. Massalle Ferrer (CHA) def. Tendai Tapfuma/James Ling (ECU) 6-3
  2. Sam Brazil/Sam Rice (CHA) def. Fredric Lehfeldt/Vlad Anghel (ECU) 6-4
  3. Kasey Countee/Will Bissett (ECU) vs. Josh Aubrey/Carl Solik (CHA) 5-5, unfinished