Charlotte lost against Middle Tennessee Sunday night. Photo by Chris Crews

The 49ers women’s volleyball team fell just short of winning an important conference game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders by a score of 3-2. Coming in, Charlotte appeared to be the heavy favorite to take the game but the Blue Raiders had other ideas, as they improved to 6-16 on the season and 2-6 in conference play. Meanwhile, the loss pushed the Niners to 17-6 with a 4-3 record versus Conference USA opponents. Even with the loss, they maintain the sixth spot in the C-USA standings.

The five-set game saw a lot of back and forth action between the two teams, with Charlotte winning the second (25-23) and third (25-18) sets but losing the first (25-22), fourth (25-20) and the fifth (19-17), which was ultimately the final blow. The last set was particularly suspenseful, considering how close it was and because it was to determine the victor.

It began with a 2-0 lead for Charlotte, and after that it was an incredible back and forward contest, with neither team ever trailing by more than two points. This alternating affair led to a 17-17 tie and both teams were hungry to get to the “magic” 19th point. Consecutive kills courtesy of Dora Peonia and Makila York, respectively, got the Blue Raiders to the coveted 19th point, completing the upset.

Middle Tennessee outplayed Charlotte in terms of kills (75 to 40) and hitting percentage (.199 to .163). The bright spot, however, was the fact the team representing green and gold had fewer errors (20 to 39) on the night. Janell Sparks and Tatyana Thomas both had impressive games, with each getting to double digits in kills. Further, Thomas’ .529 hitting percentage for the game is worthy of recognition as well.

The two-game road trip is officially completed and up next the Niners will host North Texas on October 22 at 1 p.m. The game will be a tough one, as North Texas has gone 19-2 this year.