The Charlotte 49ers registered a clean sheet in their season-opening 3-0 victory against the Gardner Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs.
During the first half of action, the 49ers played suffocating defense that forced several Gardner Webb miscues, penalties and turnovers.
“When your defense is doing well and holding a good line, it helps your offense,” said Head Coach Kevin Langan. “They didn’t have too much to deal with tonight, Elliot and the defenders, but what they did have to deal with they did it very well.”
As a result of the stifling defense, the 49ers’ offense was able to establish their rhythm early in the game and orchestrate several trips deep into opposing territory. The offense capitalized on these opportunities in the 25th minute when junior midfielder Joe Brito found senior forward Maclean Holbrook for the 49ers’ first goal of the season.
After the goal, both teams conducted drives that appeared to have scoring potential but were upended by either turnovers or stingy defense. The score at halftime remained 1-0.
After the halftime break, the Gardner Webb defense began to give way to Charlotte’s offense despite Langan claiming that the team diverged from the game plan in the second half.
“We took over the game [and] started very well,” said Langan. “Then [in] the second half we lost our way a little bit.”
Axel Sigurdarson’s goal off of a rebound in the 72nd minute and Teddy Chaouche’s goal off of a penalty kick in the 83rd minute sealed the victory for the 49ers.
Charlotte finished the game 3-17 shooting and allowed only three shots from the Gardner Webb offense.
Before next week’s matchup, Langan wants the 49ers to focus on recovery and improving upon their performance against Gardner Webb.
“We’ll recover really really hard […] and really watch a lot of video,” said Langan. “There’s a lot of great lessons we can take from this game.”
Charlotte looks to remain undefeated when they play host to the High Point Panthers on Monday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.