The Charlotte 49ers (13-11, 3-5 C-USA) took on the UTSA Roadrunners (14-5,6-1 C-USA) in an all-out brawl that would go five sets. The night was defined by twists and turns that can only be found in the depths of the most high-end action movies.
The 49ers were led through the night by senior outside hitter Jannelle Curtiss and Reeana Richardson who finished the night with a whopping 19 kills all to herself. The Roadrunners were led by Head Coach Laura Neugebauer-Goff and assistants Paul Koncir and Dominique Gonzalez. UTSA players were led by Hannah Lopez with 17 kills.
The 49ers came into the first set with extensive energy, a stark contrast to what seemed to be a lackluster entrance by the Roadrunners. Charlotte’s Yumi Garcia would be the first one to draw blood for the night with an ace early in the set followed by another one from freshman Tyra Galloway.
UTSA’s Montse Castro and Kirby Smith both respond with kills of their own, igniting a fire under the Roadrunners for the rest of the half. The Roadrunners continued to ride their wave after another ace and kill that put the score up 11-8 Charlotte. Within the next few minutes, the Roadrunners had tied the game at 13. The rest of the set would set the tone for the rest of the game.
With heavy blows coming from both sides, including Charlotte’s Jocelyn Stoner, Richardson and UTSA’s Kara Teel. The Road Runners would go up 22-18 towards the end where Charlotte’s inside hitters would make a last-ditch effort to shut down the 49ers, but a faulty block would give the set to the Road Runners. The 49ers fell 25-19.
The second set would begin much like the first. With high intensity from the 49ers spurned by their first loss, Charlotte would gain momentum quickly, going up 4-0 early on in the set. It would be Castro who would get UTSA’s first points of the night on the board. The 49ers continued to extend their lead, increasing the range to 12-5 and then 17-7.
Charlotte continued to dominate the set until a faulty block allows the Roadrunners to score. Just like the last set, a wave of energy is given to UTSA which they ride through the rest of the set. UTSA continues to advance and build until a tough sequence of volleys and back and forths, allowing the 49ers to score off of an ace. Charlotte mounts a strong come back, working their way to the set point of the match. It is here that the Roadrunners attempt a last stand, fighting their way to a 24-17 score until the 49ers are finally able to close the set.
The third set would be up for grabs until the last few points. Eight times the teams would be tied, showing just how eager and just how hungry both teams were for the advantage. Curtiss and Stone would be the front-runners once again for the 49ers. The pair, along with Richardson, would lead the 49ers to a 24-24 set point and would close out behind Richardson at a 26-24 score.
Set number four would not go the 49ers’ way after the first point. The Roadrunners would play as if they had been slighted the last set. Teel and her team would show a ferocious display of upfront assault on the net. The 49ers would try to keep up, but Lopez and Teel would return and send back all the aggression of Curtiss, Richardson and Galloway, putting the Roadrunners in position for a fifth set.
The fifth and final set wasn’t a long one but would embody the volatile nature of all the sets before it. The 49ers again would come out swinging, putting three points on the board early with the Roadrunners responding by taking the score to 9-7. The 49ers would put their foot on the gas one last time, but a pair of kills by Teel would show the Roadrunners to be the victors of the night. The 49ers would fall in five sets to UTSA.
The 49ers will take on the FAU Owls this Sunday, Oct. 21 at 12 p.m.