Charlotte fell short of knocking off Southern Miss on the road Sunday night, falling to the Golden Eagles in a five set-thriller.
The 49ers have struggled in games that have gone the distance as this most recent loss was their fourth five-set loss in C-USA play. With two games remaining, the 49ers sit one game back of the final tournament birth.
After three sets, the 49ers trailed the Golden Eagles 2-1 in Hattiesburg, Miss. Kalyn Torain and Shelby Green led the 49ers in the fourth set, forcing Southern Miss to take an early timeout after a hot start from Charlotte. Soon after, Anna Henderson’s block and Green’s second ace forced the Golden Eagles to call their final timeout with the 49ers leading 16-10. Abreia Epps pushed the set to game-point and Sarah McDonald’s spike sealed the fourth set in favor of Charlotte, 25-23.
Southern Miss jumped out to an early lead in the final set, 4-1. Epps led the 49ers back, equalizing the match at five points a piece. Charlotte grabbed a two point-lead after a few opportune blocks but Southern Miss took advantage of multiple Charlotte errors, clinching the set and match at 15-12.
Charlotte won the first set, but the Golden Eagles rolled in the second and third creating a must-win situation for the 49ers. Epps topped the 49ers team with 16 kills and hit an impressive .343 in the loss. Brittany Leigh Held was close behind, registering 31 assists while hitting a .333 percentage to go along with her six kills.
The 49ers are on the bubble as the conference tournament approaches with two matches remaining. Charlotte didn’t lose nay ground in their loss, but a win would’ve put them level with conference No. 8 seed Marshall who also lost on the weekend. The Thundering Heard rest one game ahead of the 49ers. Charlotte will play their final two matches at home this weekend,, against Florida Atlantic on Thursday and FIU on Saturday.