Thursday night began with lots of spirit and excitement for Charlotte as the team celebrated Senior Night and recognized four of their teammates for their achievements on and off the field. However, they were unable to carry that energy throughout the game and lost 2-1 to Northern Texas in another conference match.
The Niners started out strong on the field by scoring their first and only goal of the game in the sixth minute. An assist from teammate Riley Orr gave senior Shealyn Dwyer the perfect opportunity to grab the lead for Charlotte, and to acquire her first career goal. After a foul on North Texas outside the 18-yard box, Orr took the free kick and Dwyer knocked it into the net with a header.
Not only was Dwyer’s goal the first of the game and the first of her career, but it was also Charlotte’s first ever goal against Northern Texas in the six times they’ve played each other.
However, Charlotte’s lead was shot lived when The Mean Green scored a goal of their own in the 16th minute. After an assist from Tori Phillips and a cross over from teammate Ariel Diaz, Aaliyah Nolan of North Texas sent the ball around Charlotte’s goal keeper Abby Stapleton to score her fifth goal of the season.
It looked like the game would stay tied as halftime swiftly approached, but after North Texas’ goal keeper Brooke Bradley saved a shot from Niner Sophie Sipprell, The Mean Green was able to take their own shot and gained the lead with only four seconds left on the clock. From 20-yards back, Carissa Sanders shot through the 49ers and sunk the ball unassisted into Charlotte’s net.
After 11 shots on goal and a great effort to regain the lead in the second half, Charlotte was unable to change the score, and The Mean Green walked away with another conference win. The Niners finished the game with a total of 18 shots while North Texas ended up with 12. Bradley had six saves in the net for the visiting team and Stapleton did one better with seven.
“It wasn’t happening for us in the second half tonight,” head coach John Cullen said. “Tonight, a lot of players played well as individuals but not well enough as a collective unit.”
Charlotte returns to Transamerica field on Sunday at 1 p.m. where they will play Rice in their last home game of the regular season.