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Charlotte 49ers stumble against Blue Raiders

The Charlotte 49ers (8-5, 4-2 C-USA) took on the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (8-3-1, 3-1-1 C-USA) this Sunday, Oct. 7th, in a tough loss in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Charlotte 49ers were led by junior forward Julia Grainda, who was also named C-USA Offensive Player of the Week, with three shots on goal and one shot, which would lead to the 49ers’ one and only point of the game.

Grainda and the Charlotte 49er offense would walk into the first half matching the energy of the Blue Raiders. The first part of the half would be a lot of back and forth between the two teams, with Charlotte’s midfielders and backs remaining active against the harassment of the Blue Raiders. Around the 24th minute mark, Grainda, after a succession of beautiful footwork including a vicious “stutter-step”, would penetrate through the Blue Raider fullbacks and create a strong shot on goal which would lead to the 49ers first and only score of the night.

The Blue raiders would respond quickly though, with Middle Tennessee’s Amber Hoot capitalizing on a 49er penalty, and shooting a 30-yard free kick to put them on the board. The rest of the half would prove to be unproductive for both teams, as each team’s respective keepers, specifically Abby Stapleton, would have the goalie box on lockdown.

The 49ers would come into the second half aiming to make right what Hoot made wrong. They would attempt to use a corner kick by junior forward Megan Greene, to take the lead once again. The shot, which looked to be good, was taken care of by the Middle Tennessee defense. Hoot would again be the catalyst for another Blue Raider goal, assisting the play by having her free kick knocked to her teammate, Sydney Navarro, who then scored, putting the 49ers down one.

The rest of the half would be defined by strong attacks from the 49ers that would not be able to pan out. At the end of the day, the Blue Raiders would come out over Charlotte 2-1 in a game where the rainy weather proved to do no favors.

“Both sides created chances, but this weekend, we were not quite as productive as we have been in recent games in front of the goal. We need to spend more time in training on that aspect, too. Congratulations to Middle Tennessee,” said women’s head coach, John Cullen.

The 49ers will take on UAB this Thursday, Oct. 11 for Senior Night, 7 p.m. at Transamerica Stadium.

Amelia Clower goes beyond midfield

Clower gets ready for a throw in. Photo by Chris Crews

Senior defender Amelia Clower has entered her fourth and final year here at Niner Nation and she has had the opportunity to make an impact not just on, but off the field as well. Originally from Charleston, South Carolina, Amelia began playing soccer at the age of three. When asked where exactly the passion for the game came from, this is what she had to say.

“For a while I played on a boys team until I was like thirteen, so that was like where I really started to like soccer. And that’s where I chose soccer over all the other sports I was doing. I decided that was the one I really liked the most, and so I stuck with it,” Clower said. “And I just came around and wasn’t really ready to let it go yet and I chose to take it to the next level.”

Amelia stepped onto the pitch in 2015, seeing playing time in eight games her freshman year, and seeing playing time three Conference USA home games against UAB, FIU and Western Kentucky.

“I didn’t really have any expectations going into it. I just knew it was going to be tough, but I didn’t know it was going to be this tough,” said Clower.  “I give credit to all athletes, no matter of the division. You have to show so much mental toughness and so much emotional toughness. It’s so much aside from just the sport. You have to balance so many things.”

Being a veteran player for the 49ers this season, Amelia’s energy and actions have set the pace in a number of ways.

“I feel like when I was a freshman, it was a lot of looking up to the people that were older than me, more than they probably realized, and I kind of keep remembering that in how I just react to things. Being that person off the field that can just be talked to,” said Clower. “The first three years, I was never a starter and I had to constantly work for playing time. I feel like as someone who wasn’t a starter from freshman year, the majority of the team has someone to look up to in me, and know that I pushed through it and so can they.”

Coming off a hard loss in the postseason, the Forty-Niners took the offseason to regroup. From a veteran’s perspective, getting that far in the season and performing so well can be a different experience for upperclassmen than it can for those newer players.

“Well I feel like a lot of the freshman and sophomores, specifically the sophomores, don’t realize how exciting it can be until you actually are in the playoffs and make it through that week. I feel like once they get a little taste of that, especially being in conference, it is hard to explain how important it is to the juniors and seniors,” Clower said.

The senior defender grew up in a household where relief and mission trips to Honduras, and many other countries where the norm. This past summer, she took a trip with a non-profit org called, “Filter of Hope.”

“My view of things, my perception has kind of changed with things. I don’t know, my perspective of life I guess,” she laughed. “My view of it from the past trip has changed because I was way more involved than I had ever been in the past. You never know what kind of person you’re dealing with or what they have been going through.”

Clower would spend her summer going home to home, up and down a mountain distributing water filters to help create safe drinking water for the locals.

Clower and the 49ers can be seen on Transamerica Field this Friday, Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. to take on Western Kentucky.

The 49ers fall to the Hilltoppers

Alex Boone and Sydney Rowan attempt to block the ball. Photo by Pooja Pasupula

The Charlotte 49ers (10-7, 1-1 C-USA) took on the WKU Hilltoppers (11-5, 2-0 C-USA), the current C-USA champions, this Sunday, Sept. 23rd in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Charlotte took the “Big Red” to five hard fought sets, but would end up falling in the fifth 10-15, putting Charlotte down 2-3 overall.

The 49ers were led by Reeana Richardson with 15 kills and two blocks along with Jr. Jocelyn Stoner, who also listed 15 kills. The game overall would turn to be a fight for survival, with Western Kentucky and Charlotte matching each other almost blow for blow. Stat wise, the teams would finish similarly with Charlotte’s 61 kills, four aces, and 54 assists as compared to the Hill toppers 63 kills, four aces, and 59 assists.

The first set of the night would prove to set the tone for the entirety of the game. The Niners would end up being tied with the Hill toppers twice. The Forty-Niners would fight their way through, coming close to a lead twice after two kills from Richardson, but a kill from WKU’s Rachel Anderson would put an end to all of that.

The second set would prove to be much the same with the lead going back and forth between the two squads. Stoner would prove to be the go-to girl once again, along with Sydney Rowan, as the two teammates would end up putting up back to back blocks to break a 13-13 tie.

The last part of the set would be dominated by a combination of Rowan, Stoner and Richardson as they kept up high pressure on the net and put down aggressive kills with an ace from Jr. Sofie Perrens.

The third set would prove to be a blowout for the 49ers, with the WKU Hill toppers coming out with a ferocity that hadn’t been showed yet. Molly Shaw and Stoner would show face, but the Hilltoppers would have momentum on their side.

“The third set time was a tough one, but we rebounded and got back in systematic rhythm, the lopsided scoring is happening in our sport across the nation, so we knew not to let it get to us and moved on seizing opportunities to win the fourth.”

The Forty-Niners would respond strongly in the fourth, taking it to a 22-22 tie game. Opposing kills from Stoner and Anderson would edge the score higher and higher until Rowan stepped up and capitalized on a monster kill, allowing the 49ers to snatch the set, and force a final.

The final set would follow the trend of the game with the lead jumping back and forth between the opposing powerhouses. Jannelle Curtiss would create one of the only leads Charlotte would have for the match at 4-3, but after that, it would be a rough fight for the 49ers. WKU’s Anderson would lead the Hill toppers to a 15-10 win over the 49ers.

The 49ers will take on FAU this coming Sunday, Sept. 30 in Halton Arena at 1 p.m.

49ers put away the Panthers

Jamie Fankhauser goes to strike to the ball. Photo by Chris Crews

The Charlotte 49ers (5-3, 1-0 C-USA) took on the FIU Panthers (0-10, 0-2 C-USA) this Thursday night, Sept. 20 at Transamerica field in a 5-1 win at home. The 49ers were led by junior forward Megan Greene who recorded a hat trick against FIU. Other leaders of the game included junior mid-fielder Jamie Fankhauser with two shots on goal, making one, and junior forward Julia Grainda with one shot on goal along with one made goal.

The 49ers came to the field with high intensity and momentum out of the gate, with Greene scoring a goal within the first 11 minutes of the game off of an assist from junior fullback, Riley Orr. Orr also recently was named defensive player of the week by Conference USA.

The ball was received by Orr deep in the left field. The junior then advanced the ball up-field with passion while being tailed closely by junior Panthers defender, Lauren Whitaker. Orr then made a direct pass to Greene, who fought to meet the ball despite the aggressive defense of FIU’s Kristen Telford. Telford missed a sliding tackle in an attempt to deflect the ball, and Greene quickly capitalized on the opportunity to put the ball in the net for the 49ers’ first points of the night.

Within the next five minutes, the Charlotte offense was within striking distance once again with mid-fielder, Fankhauser, leading the charge. Having received a long pass from the corner by way of mid-fielder Sophie Sipprell, Fankhauser took a shot on goal, and was able to put the 49ers up 2-0 late first half.

Greene would follow suit within the next few minutes, being the last to collect the ball from a volley of bounce off of a mix of FIU and Charlotte feet. Greene would put the 49ers up 3-0 before the half.

Later in the game, it would prove to be Grainda’s turn to score around the 50th minute of the game. She would receive the ball off of a hard pass from freshman forward Sarah McHale after a long push down the sideline.

The Panthers would respond with their own attack on goal led by FIU Panther Ashley Adams. Adams would score off an assist by teammate Kaydeen Jack. She would then slip between the cracks of a Charlotte defensive breakdown, and get a shot off on goal.

After a foul by the Panthers in their own penalty box within the last few minutes of the game, Charlotte would get a penalty kick which would be taken by Greene. She buried the shot immediately, putting Charlotte up 5-1 for the night.

The Charlotte 49ers finished the night with 17 shots overall, nine being on goal, and five being buried in the Panther’s net. Charlotte’s keepers would finish with five saves.

The 49ers travel to Norfolk, VA this coming Monday, Sept. 24 to play ODU.

Orr stakes her claim early

Orr takes a corner

Junior defender Riley Orr has already made her mark for the Charlotte 49ers this season. After coming off of an extremely strong performance in a win over Longwood and against VCU, Orr had the honor of C-USA Defensive Player of the Week bestowed upon her, the first time since 2014 that a Charlotte 49er has received this title.

In her first year at Niner Nation, Orr was selected for All-Conference USA third team and made the All-Conference USA Freshman team. She would go onto to be a key player in her team’s backfield during her sophomore campaign, starting in 13 of the 16 matches that she played.

In the conference championship, Orr would put in a critical PK late game that would bring the 49ers close to a back to back championship run. When asked about her upbringing, and how exactly soccer and athletics came into the picture for her, this is what she had to say.

“Well, I started playing soccer when I was about five years old. I took it up after my brother because I was always dragged to his sporting events, and he was big into soccer,” said Orr. “I just feel like I kind of followed in his footsteps.”

Orr, a Mooresville native, played soccer at Lake Norman High where she helped lead her program to a 63-6-3 record during her time there. She also helped her team collect three conference titles during her high school career at Lake Norman, and was selected as her team’s defensive MVP.

She was selected as an NCCA East-West All-Star and competed on the west team, while also receiving Honors from the NCSCAA as an All-State player. With the Charlotte 49ers, Orr’s energy and leadership have blossomed and grown not from her raw talent, which she has possessed since her days at Lake Norman, but from her experience on the collegiate level. Orr’s role, as well as the team’s role together has grown since she first stepped onto Transamerica Field.

“Well freshman year, I feel like we really didn’t have any expectations coming in. We just kind of gave it our all throughout the season, and we managed to come out as C-USA champions. Now as we’re getting older and evolving, we’re just progressing as a team and getting better and better each day.”

Along with the team goals and relationships, the leadership has developed quite a bit as well.

“Off the field, I feel like I’ve become closer with teammates and I’ve done a lot more off the field with teammates than freshman year,” she said. “I don’t know how to explain it, we’ve just become closer as a team. Especially since my freshman year, I was kind of quiet.”

The 2017 season ended in dramatic fashion, with the lady 49ers fighting their way to the top of Conference USA play once again. Head Coach John Cullen had the opportunity to do something with his girls that many other programs wouldn’t, the chance to be back to back champions.

At the end of the night, penalty kicks would be the deciding factor, and the 49ers would end the match scoreless against the North Texas Mean Green. Coming off of a high-intensity championship game in that manner, Orr and teammates worked hard in the offseason.

“My offseason, I just trained a lot with Megan and a few other teammates just running on the track and playing WPSL,” Orr said.

Orr currently sits at one goal and one assist in the four games she has played this season.

The Charlotte 49ers will take on the Rice Owls at home on Sunday, Sept. 16 at 1 p.m.

Running it Back

Benny LeMay prepares for the next play. Photo by Chris Crews

The Nation

The Forty-Niners, coming off of a frustrating 1-11 season, look to turn a new leaf with “clear eyes and full hearts” as the famous television coach, Eric Taylor would say.  With the offseason bringing in a change in coaching staff, Head Coach Brad Lambert has been given an opportunity to reshape the program in his image, and revitalize a winning culture within Niner Nation.

“It’s been good,” said Coach Lambert.  “It’s always a worry of yours, but the nice thing about the guys we brought in, you know Chris has been a head coach before at Tulane. Glenn has been a head coach at West Georgia. Shane has been a head coach at Miami (Ohio). So it’s been good for me because they have good ideas, and we can bounce things off each other.”

With key offensive players like Hasaan Klugh, Benny LeMay, and Aaron McAllister returning, much of Charlotte’s running game will remain intact.

Klugh, a redshirt senior, has led the team as starting QB for the last two years. The QB has made up for 19 of the 49ers’ 23 touchdowns this past season, including every single TD in Charlotte’s 25-24 OT win against UAB at Homecoming.

Despite many of these key moments in his career, Hassan Klugh will not be assured of his starting spot, as graduate transfer Evan Sherreffs, and redshirt freshman Chris Reynolds are both talented prospects for Charlotte this coming season.

When it comes to the rest of the 49ers offense, a lot of excitement is present among the team.

“We have a lot of versatility in the backfield, Aaron McAllister is a very fast guy in the back field,” LeMay said. “Cam is so versatile in the open field, so it will be great seeing what those guys do.”

The Niners currently stand 3-2 when it comes to season openers, while the Fordham Rams also stand 3-2 for their last five openers.

The Rams

The Rams ended their 2017 season standing with a 4-7 record. They started off their season opener in a 6-64 blowout loss against Army in West Point, NY.

With a lopsided box score showing Fordham putting up 240 passing yards compared to Army’s zero, it would seem as if the Rams’ defense had an easy assignment, but the game itself would tell a different tale. Army’s Ahmad Bradshaw and D. Woolfolk would come together to combine for 272 rushing yards themselves. In the end, Army would rush for 513 yards compared to Fordham’s 105.

The rest of the Rams’ season would be a melting pot of triumphs and defeats. The Rams would taste well-earned victories in hard fought battles, such as their 38-31 win over Central Connecticut State University, and suffer crushing blows like their 10-41 loss against Yale University.

The Rams are returning for their 2018 season with 23 seniors, eight being receivers, along with two kickers and a long snapper, which could be very promising for Fordham’s passing and kicking game.

Players to be on the lookout for include senior wide receiver Corey Caddle, who started five games this past season. The young receiver put up 392 yards his junior season, with 11.9 catches and a team leading four scores. Having his senior year interrupted by injury, the receiver is sure to step into his senior year on fire, expecting his role to expand and grow as his confidence does.

Another weapon for Rams to look out for is senior QB Luke Medlock. Appearing in eight games last season, and starting in one behind Kevin Anderson. Medlock was the second highest in passing yard averages with 75 per game.

The Rams have been known for their extensive passing game. In the past they have been led by QB Kevin Anderson who averaged 219 per game. With the graduation of Mr. Anderson, there is sure to be a shift in power which will be seen for the first time on Sept.1 in Niner Nation.

The Captain

Junior running back Benny LeMay has made his presence felt both on and off the field in his two short years in Niner Nation.

LeMay, a returning starter for the Charlotte 49ers will be serving his team as an on field captain this this coming season. The running back has 907 career rushing yards already, only 93 shy of the 1000 yards club, in his career as a 49er. He is number four all time in rushing yards for Charlotte, ranked ninth in C-USA with a 66.5 rushing average, having played all 11 of the 12 2017 season games, while starting in eight.

“Ben’s a fine, fine football player and we need for him to stay healthy. I like our depth at running back, with him being the lead guy. He’s got a chance to have a really big year for us,” said Coach Lambert.

“We want to be able to run the ball, we want to be able to put it in his hands as many times as we can, the thing that kind of gets over looked with Benny is he’s a really good catcher of the football out of the backfield, so we try to utilize that as much as we can as well, he’s a very skilled guy and we’ve got to utilize him.”

LeMay himself has set some high expectations on both himself and his team this coming season. When asked how the team plans to use last season’s 1-11 record to their advantage, this is what he had to say.

“We’ve definitely got a lot to prove this season. It’s something you definitely don’t want to throw in the trash, but you want to keep it in your rear view mirror. That way you see it everywhere you go, you use that as motivation for the season to come,” said LeMay. “They deserve to see us win.”

Kickoff is at 6 p.m., next Saturday at Jerry Richardson stadium.

Charlotte unable to comeback against Middle Tennessee

49ers players defeated on the sideline. Photo by Chris Crews

The Charlotte 49ers (1-9; C-USA: 1-5) failed to secure a victory, falling 35-21 against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (5-5,C-USA 3-3). Saturday, which also happened to be Veteran’s day, proved a turnout of over 10,000, including many active and inactive servicemen in attendance. The loss put the Niners record at a disheartening 1-9, while the Blue Raiders increased to 5-5.

The receivers for Charlotte were led by Mark Quattlebaum and Trent Bostick, both registered touchdowns and finished with 94 and 67 yards respectively. Benny LeMay and Aaron McAllister shared the rushing load. LeMay finished the game with 14 carries for 59 yards while McAllister totaled six carries for 57 yards.

Quarterback Hasaan Klugh went 18 for 30 with one interception. He tallied 258 passing yards and 11 rushing yards and contributed on two touchdowns. The 49er offense finished with 356 total yards, compared to Middle Tennessee’s 457. Both teams had costly penalties during the game. The Blue Raiders had nine flags for 85 yards while the 49ers had seven penalties for 78 yards.

The 49ers offense came out strong with a mixture of running and passing plays, all for positive yards. The drive was culminated by a 16-yard rush from Benny LeMay for a touchdown, giving the Niners an early 7-0 lead. Klugh went 18 for 30 Saturday’s game, putting up two touchdowns along with 258 yards with only one interception.

After the 49ers made their run, the Blue raiders would claim the rest of the first quarter with running back Tavares Thomas making two crucial touchdowns to put the Blue Raiders up 14-7 to close the first quarter.

The second quarter of the game would prove to be a struggle for Charlotte’s offensive. The 49ers had an opportunity to put points on the board during their second drive of the frame. A 12 yard reception by tight end RJ Tyler and a 12 yard rush from LeMay positioned Charlotte within the Middle Tennessee 20. The Blue Raider defense made a stand and forced the Niners to attempt a field goal. Nigel Macauley would miss the kick, wide right, from 36 yards out.

Middle Tennessee posted two more touchdowns before the half. The first came after a six-yard reception from Ty Watkins, an offensive lineman. Later in the quarter, Blue Raider quarterback Brent Stockstill found his receiver Ty Lee 63 yards downfield for another seven points.Lee led the receiving corps for Middle Tennessee with 121 yards on the night.

After the halftime break, a renewed 49ers team appeared. On their opening possession Klugh connected with receiver Mark Quattlebaum for 14 yards and a first down. The following play, Klugh found Quattlebaum again for a 52-yard reception that brought the Niners within the Blue Raider 10. Quattlebaum, one more time, was the man for Klugh and he caught a three yard pass in the end zone for the second touchdown of the night.

Though those were the only points the 49ers would receive in the the third quarter, the team showed an improvement in the penalty column. After having six penalties for 73 yards in the first half, Charlotte did not trigger any flags during the third quarter.

“We got pretty stirred up at the second half,” Lambert said. “I don’t like the penalties in the first half. You know, we can’t have any penalties. I’m not going to embarrass our school by having any penalties in the first half, and that’s what I told the team. I think we had one penalty in the second half. You know we’re not going to do that, have personal fouls and unsportsmanlike like conduct. I thought that was the biggest thing in the first half.”

Charlotte’s defense was able to hold the Blue Raiders scoreless in the third frame. Middle Tennessee was still ahead, 28-14 going into the final 15 minutes.

On the opening drive of the fourth quarter, Klugh looked to find his receiver downfield. Instead, the ball was intercepted by a Blue Raider defender and returned for 26 yards. Middle Tennessee continued to drive down the field with eight plays for 44 yards, ending with a four yard pass from Stockstill to Patrick Smith for a touchdown.

The two teams engaged in a defensive stand-off for much of the fourth frame, until the 49ers broke through with under four minutes left in the ballgame. After a 36 yard reception from Workpeh Kofa, accompanied by a 15-yard reception from Tyler and a 18-yard rush from Aaron McAllister, the 49ers were within the Middle Tennessee 30. Klugh then found veteran receiver Trent Bostick downfield, and he converted the 26 yard reception for a touchdown.

The 49ers were not able to put any more points on the board, and the game finished with a final score of 35-21. With only two games remaining on this year’s slate, Charlotte will travel down to Hattiesburg next Saturday to take on Southern Miss. They will return home for the season finale on Nov. 25 to face FAU.

 

Charlotte looks ahead to the season

Freshmen Luka Vasic, Bryant Thomas and Jaylan McGill chat during a scrimmage. Photo by Chris Crews

The 2017-18 Men’s basketball season is just a few weeks away, and all eyes are on the 49ers. Coming off of a 13-17 (C-USA 7-11) season filled with high offensive triumphs, defensive struggles and a first round exit from the Conference USA tournament, the 49ers look to make some changes. The 2016-17 season was the year Coach Price was able to truly begin to mold the program in his image, this year he seeks to reap the benefits.

The theme of last season, without a doubt, was transfers. This year, the name of the game is freshmen. With incoming first years such as 6-foot-2 wing Jaylan McGill, 6-foot-9 forward Bryant Thomas, and forward Milos Supica walking into the program, a new wave of energy is on the horizon for Niner Nation.

McGill, a young guard out of Olympic High School in Charlotte, will be a breath of fresh air to the 49ers already strong backcourt. Averaging 17 points and five assist his junior year in high school, the wing will offer Charlotte another high volume shooter who is able to distribute and handle the basketball off of the bench.

Thomas, a 6-foot-9 big man also from Charlotte, lead the nation with 7.7 blocks per game. The forward will bring a presence to the paint that the 49ers lost with Anthony Vanhook.

Averaging a double double in high school with 17 points per game and 10 boards, the combination of Thomas and 6-foot-7 sophomore Najee Garvin will prove to be a huge problem, matchup wise for many teams in the conference.

In addition to the growing Charlotte frontcourt, is junior transfer Jailan Haslem, a 6-foot-10 260 pound center out of Warner Robins Georgia. Haslem offers another big body to the charlotte interior and is a presence not easily ignored. Averaging 7.9 boards along with nine points at Gordon State college, Haslem has the ability to collect ball on both side of play, and put up consistent second chance points.

With a 6-foot-9 wingspan, he also shows proficient rim protecting ability, having averaged 1.2 blocks at Gordon.

The 49ers will look to their returning on-court leaders to set the pace in terms of morale. Junior guard Jon Davis is the prime example. Coming off from a stellar sophomore season where Davis led the team in scoring, shooting 38 percent from behind the arc, Davis undoubtley is the leader of the pack.

Averaging 19 points per game off of 35 minutes, which allowed the guard to finish second in scoring for C-USA, the then sophomore made a habit of taking over games in the second half. Finishing the season with two buzzer beaters, one at home against ODU and another against the UTSA Roadrunners,  Davis has shown that not only does he have the ability to take over games, but also to finish them, something we will undoubtley be seeing more of this coming season.

6-foot-7 redshirt junior Austin Ajukwa is definitely another component to keep your eye on this coming season. Transferring from Clemson earlier in the season, Ajukwa quickly found his niche among the team in his first game, played against Florida.

Averaging 11 points and four boards, Ajukwa was able to offer high energy and a high level of play on both ends of the floor.

Recording two double doubles and scoring in double digits over 10 times, Ajukwa will walk into the season in a new role of leadership that he is sure to thrive in. Junior shooting guard, Andrien White will also play a key role this season as both a veteran and key role player.

Coming off a season averaging 11 points and four rebounds with 19 double figure games, the guard’s role will only expand from there. With all three if these key pieces returning to the program, and the 49ers have strong foundation to build off of.

Last season, the 49ers averaged 76.5 points per game, placing fourth overall in C-USA basketball in terms of scoring, second overall in terms of three point percentage as well as free throw shooting. With three of those major contributing pieces returning to the program, Mark Price and his coaching staff have a strong foundation to build off of.

As new faces and new talent walk into the door of Niner Nation, Price has the chance to not only renew his game plan, but to revitalize the winning culture of Charlotte 49er men’s basketball program.

Consistency will be key for Mark Price and his boys this coming season both in the record books and off the court, in order to see a deep conference run come March. With high hopes, and even higher spirits, the team looks to be in good condition to “stake their claim” in conference play and show the rest of C-USA what it means to be a Charlotte 49er.

49ers host their 16th annual “Dig Pink” night

The 49ers celebrate after a point on Dig Pink night. Photo by Pooja Pasapula

The Charlotte 49ers hosted their 16th annual “Dig Pink” night, this past Friday Oct. 27 in Halton Arena. The aim of Charlotte’s Dig pink campaign is to raise awareness and activism within the local community in an effort to combat the breast cancer. The match itself was a loss in a very tight battle with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. The Charlotte 49ers falling in three sets.

“I just think for the first time all season, we didn’t come out with the same level of preparation, both teams,” said head coach Karen Weatherington.

Halton arena itself appeared to be an ocean of complete pink, with the match itself drawing out a little over 1,200 spectators, putting it number 11 on the list for Charlotte volleyball’s most attended games. Senior outside hitter Janell Sparks finished the game with 11 kills and one block. Her teammate, freshman outside hitter Sydney Rowan, finished the game with 15 kills, two blocks and one ace.

The annual Dig Pink events focus on raising both money and awareness for breast cancer research, specifically for the Levine Cancer Center and the Carolina Health Center.

“We do this event every year. This year, we were definitely directing our efforts to be more local.” said Weatherington this past week at a local Dig Pink fundraiser.

With cancer having such a far reach, and playing a part in the lives of so many individuals, Charlotte’s Dig Pink has always been an event that brings out a certain drive, dedication, and support for the cause regardless of background.

“Years past I’ve been able to keep up with what they had been doing here, and it just looks like so much fun, and it’s such a cause that hits home for so many different people, and for me especially,” said freshman Alex Boone.

With a host of events and fundraisers such as Chick-Fil-A day, where the 49ers partnered with the University Place Chick-Fil-A, where they allowed customers to donate some of their proceeds to the cause for cancer research. Donning their pink t-shirts, the ladies made sure to make it known exactly what they stood for.

“It means everything to me. I talk about it every year, my mom is a cancer survivor and we’ve been touched by cancer in our family and in our team in so many different ways. In our department, we have so many different survivors across campus who reach out and come to support us in this event,” said Weatherington. “It touches me a lot, having football, and having many students come out, our team leadership, other athletes. It’s very personal when I get the chance to stop one of them and talk about their expectations and what we do to serve. Community service is the corner stone of Charlotte athletics. Every body dumped their effort into Dig Pink.”

The huge efforts and devotion of each member of the charlotte 49ers volleyball team and coaching staff, on top of the constant waves of support from fans make the annual Dig Pink campaign possible. With a record turnout for the game itself, the Charlotte 49ers have added another year to the books when it comes to upholding this outstanding tradition and legacy.

“I did tear up, I’m not even going to lie,” said Weatherington. “Looking around right between the first sets, and everybody is there wearing pink and pink ribbons. I teared up and just wanted to keep thanking everybody for doing it, but it is a personal grind. We have friends right now in the volleyball world living with cancer, so it means a lot to see everybody step up and help us out.”

The 49ers fall to the Rice Owls

49ers libero Yumi Garcia sets the ball. Photo by Pooja Pasapula

The Charlotte 49ers(17-9, 4-6 C-USA) fell to the Rice Owls  in a  3-1 loss  Sunday in Halton Arena. The 49ers were led by Sydney Rowan with 12 kills and 17 digs, as well as Tatyana Thomas with 11 kills and three aces.

Both teams walked into the first set with high energy and strength, but it was the Owls who showed aggression. Putting up 20 kills in the first set alone, the Owls gave Charlotte a battle with the 49ers barely outlasting. Charlotte would go on to take the first set, 28-26.

The rest of the game would not follow the same pattern. The Owls, led by Nicole Lennon, who would end the game with 21 kills and 12 digs, went on a rampage in the second, putting the 49ers down on the score board early. The 49ers, led by two kills from middle hitter Tatyana Thomas, and one from freshman outside hitter Sydeny Rowan were able to catch a second wind and tie the match at 14-14. This would not last long, with Rice’s Lennon helping claim the lead once again, and never holding it until the close of the set at 26-24.

Charlotte took the lead early on in the third set, but fell behind when the Rice Owls went on a 15-6 tear led by Lennon and freshman right side hitter Kassidy Muse. Putting up only eight kills overall in the set, the 49ers would not be able to come back from this deficit. The Owl’s would close out the set at 25-16.

The fourth set belonged to the Rice Owls from the beginning. With 27 kills and stand out performances from Nicole Lennon and Grace Morgan the Owl’s were able to close out the set 30-28.

The 49ers will travel to Ruston, Louisiana to take on Louisiana Tech this Friday, Nov. 3 at 8p.m.

The 49ers fall to Rice

Louis Stephens dribbles the ball. Photo by Chimena Ihebuzor

The Charlotte 49ers took on the Rice Owls Sunday evening in their final home regular season match of the year. Though forward Megan Greene collected six shots overall with three on goal, the 49ers (9-7-1) lost 1-0 to Rice (12-2-1).

Charlotte, led by Greene, would come out strong in the first half, attacking Rice’s backfield hard and often. The first portion of the half proved too much for the Owl’s. Struggling to contain players like Greene and mid-fielder Martha Thomas, the Owl’s keeper, Maya Hoyer, would be forced to lock in. As the half continued on, fatigue would begin to rear its nagging head among the Charlotte offense, allowing Rice to gain momentum.

With this new second wind, Rice Mid-fielders Lianne Mananquil and Annie Walker would seize the opportunity. In the last three minutes of the half, Rice would show aggression not seen beforehand. The Owls would reap the fruits of their labor at the 2:26 mark by the hands of Walker, connecting on her first and only shot on goal to close the half.

Rice would ride this wave entering the second half, showing energy on both sides of play, and showing the 49ers the same aggression shown them. The 49ers would refuse to just lay down and watch this happen. Collecting seven fouls in the second half, the 49er backfield would show a level of physicality not often displayed.

In the end, the 49er offense would not be able overcome Rice’s momentum, and would close out the game without a goal despite having 15 shots overall. Charlotte would finish the game with six shots on goal, and four corner kicks. Highlight players of the game would include Greene with six shots overall, with three being on goal and Midfielder Thomas with four shots overall with one on goal.

The 49ers will take on the ODU Lions in Norfolk, Virginia this Friday in their final match of the regular season.

The 49ers take out the Radford Highlanders.

Daniel Bruce celebrating during Tuesday’s Radford contest. Photo by Pooja Pasupula

The Charlotte 49ers (4-3-3, C-USA 1-1-2 ) took on the Radford Highlanders in a Tuesday night contest at Transamerica field. Daniel Bruce ended the contest, scoring the lone goal in double overtime.

Coming into the first half, both squads operated within a stalemate. It was Charlotte’s own on-field leader, #10 Bruce, who took the reigns in his own hands, who finished with nine shots, five of which were on goal. Bruce, along with forward Tommy Madden and Joe Brito, were able to keep the Highlanders back field engrossed to the point where no shots on goal were made at all.

Walking into the second half, the 49ers continued to apply pressure on the Highlanders defense.  With forward Callum Montgomery getting active, and Bruce continuing to lead the charge, Charlotte was able to close the game with 23 overall shots, 10 of which being on goal.

Radford forwards, Kieran Roberts and Sivert Daehlie played the biggest roles offensively. With the Highlanders having 10 shots all together as a team, Roberts and Daehlie would claim all of them. The 49ers defense would prove to be too much for the forwards.

Led by Elliot Panicco, the Niner backfield would only allow Radford four shots on goal.  With neither team scoring towards the end of regulation, the game saw two overtimes. Charlotte forward Bruce, in dramatic fashion, would score a last minute goal, locking in the 49ers for their fourth overall win.  In the end, the Highlanders would finish the game with only four shots on goal and eight corners.

The 49ers will travel to Boca Raton, FL to take on the FAU Owls this Saturday, Oct.14.

Chartlotte overcome the UTEP Miners

Sydney Rowan goes up for a hit. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

The Charlotte 49ers (16-5, 3-2) took on the UTEP Miners in a Friday night showdown in Halton arena. The 49ers would collect their third conference win in a 3-1 victory lead by Janell Sparks.  Sparks led the Niner charge on Friday night, putting up 19 kills, 12 digs and four spikes. Charlotte came out the gate slow, but was able to build energy towards the end of the set, putting away UTEP for another confernce victory.

The 49ers approached the second set with high energy. Coming in, Charlotte was quickly able to put down 15 kills off of 25 total attempts. Sparks had a huge hand in this showcase, along with freshman Sydney Rowan who put up 18 kills along with one assist. Charlotte would dominate once again take the set at 25-10. The third set took a turn for charlotte, with UTEP’s hitters moving with a mission. Led by players such as Macey Austin, Cheyenne Jones, and Kylie Baumgartner, the Miners sought to create momentum. Putting up 19 kills off of 49 attempts, UTEP would claim the third set 25-23.

The fourth would not prove the same. Charlotte would kill UTEP’s momentum early on and show high energy at the net. With 16 kills in comparison to UTEP’s 6, the forty-niners would close out the set at 25-13, finishing the game 3-1.

Charlotte will travel to Miami to take on the FIU Panthers this coming Friday, Oct. 13.

Charlotte 49ers put away the Panthers

The 49ers celebrate a goal. Photo by Pooja Pasupula

The Charlotte 49ers (7-3, 2-0 C-USA) won against the FIU panthers (1-5, 0-1 C-USA) in a Sunday shutout at Transamerica stadium. Holding the Panthers to only two shots on goal in the first half and four shots in the second, the 49ers’ Abby Stapelton, would only have to make a total of five saves.

Forward Megan Greene would take three overall shots, two on goal, and one connecting to put the 49ers up 1-0 early in the first half. Midfielder Martha Thomas was extremely lively Sunday, collecting seven overall shots with three being on goal. In the end, none of them would connect, but it would be off of Thomas’ assist that Greene would collect her goal.

Coming into the second half, FIU would gain somewhat of a second wind. With four shots on goal coming from players such as FIU’s Isabell De Almagro and mid-fielder Courtney Phillips, FIU would force Charlotte’s GK Stapleton to get busy. Forward Julia Grainda would claim the first goal of the second half off of an assist from mid-fielder Amelia Clower, putting an end to FIU’s momentum.

As the 60:00 minute mark rolled around, Charlotte’s strikers and mids would again begin to move aggressively on goal. With 10 shots on goal in the second half alone, the 49ers would prove too much of a handful for FIU’s defense. Sophomore Midfielder Jamie Fankhauser, off of another assist from Clower, would seal the deal at the 66 minute mark to put the 49ers up 3-0. Charlotte would finish the game with 23 shots overall, with 10 being on goal.

The Charlotte 49ers will travel to Texas to take on the UTEP miners this Friday, Sept. 29 at 9 p.m.