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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.