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.