Blake Canty

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49ers set to take on Minutemen

On Saturday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. the 49ers are taking on Massachusetts at home. After losing to Appalachian State on Sept. 7, the 49ers are trying to avoid dropping two games in a row and having a 1-2 record. Winning this game will give the Niners some much needed momentum heading into the matchup with No. 1 Clemson.

As of right now, Massachusetts is sitting at an 0-2 record going on the road looking to secure their first win. In both games, the first against Rutgers and then the second against Southern Illinois, they let the opposing team score 48 and 45 points while they scored 21 and 20 respectively. They come into 49ers territory Saturday looking for a repeat of last year’s game against the Niners; a win with a score of 49 to 31. Motivated by losing this year and the win against the Niners last year they will come in with an aggressive mentality trying to avoid dropping what feels like a must win game and going 0-3.

The Niners are coming into this game against Massachusetts with a better record but still stinging from the Sept. 7 loss to Appalachian State. Sitting at a 1-1 record the Niners want to clean up some things on all sides of the ball to get ready for this game. The offense has been clicking by scoring over 40 points in their games against Gardner-Webb and Appalachian State, but by getting rid of some of their three and outs, like the one at the beginning of the game against Appalachian, they can maximize their offensive outputs. The defense has been playing well, even if the scoreboard and stats do not tell the same story. The Niners defense held Garner-Webb to 28 points in the first game of the season and then followed up that performance by getting three sacks and six tackles for loss against Appalachian State. If they capitalize on some of the missed opportunities on turnovers, the Appalachian State game looks a lot different. The special teams held up until a crushing blow at the end of the second half by way of a blocked punt changed the game. 

“Same thing that happened in practice last week. They lined up in a particular look with a certain amount of guys to the side, then they switched it and added another and we didn’t change the count and left a guy unblocked and he volleyball spiked it right back at us,” said Head Coach Will Healy.

The Niners have the edge in this game due to it being in their home stadium and Massachusetts having to travel into hostile territory. They also have playmakers on both sides of the ball and more big games from the team gives them a big chance to win this game. Whether it is the hot streaks of Chris Reynolds’s touchdowns, Benny Lemay’s rushing yards and touchdowns or the big game from the entire receiving core, the offense is set up to have a big game against Massachusetts. The defense is also prepared to have a big performance whether it is Alex Highsmith, Jeff Gemmell or Jacione Fugate who all put up big plays for the Niners defense against Appalachian State.

The 49ers have been ready for this game since the Appalachian State game ended. Through film study and practice they are prepared to go fight in front of the home crowd again and give the fans something to cheer for. The Charlotte 49ers are set to take on the University of Massachusetts Minutemen on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m.

The Watermann Way

The Charlotte 49ers men’s soccer team just gained a new defender by the name of Jaxson Watermann. After his freshman year at Chapel Hill he decided to transfer to begin his new career as a Charlotte 49er. 

Playing for the Carolina Rapids and then coming out of high school as a three star recruit, Watermann redshirted for his freshman year and trained hard with the team. Now ready to begin, he is the newest defender to suit up for the 49ers and expectations are high for him and the team so they can show what they can bring to the sports world.

Redshirt Freshman Defender Jaxson Watermann

Growing up in North Carolina, Watermann first started playing soccer as a child with his brother. Starting at six years old, they would go to the recreational center to play soccer and that is where his real love for the sport began. As his love for the sport started to grow, he began paying close attention to players and even watching matches for certain teams. He became an FC Barcelona fan and also favored Lionel Messi as his favorite player all time. As he became more and more invested in the sport, he even started to see players whom his skillset resembles.

“I’d say Raheem Sterling or Lucas Moura, just because I try to incorporate a lot of pace, dribbling and just getting into my game and that is all characteristics that they share,” said Watermann. 

This season everyone has high hopes for Watermann and this is even evidenced by the praise that was given by his Head Coach Kevin Langan. 

“He brings energy, pace, fitness, drive and enthusiasm,” said Langan. 

The 49ers’ coach plans on using Watermann to push the pace, and when he is on the field, wants him running and setting. Coach Langan also is very enthusiastic about Watermann’s ability and his willingness to learn.

Watermann transferred from Chapel Hill to Charlotte due to the history of the team and the chance for this opportunity. He has known the coaches for a while and some of his teammates for years. Watermann jumped at the opportunity to be a part of the illustrious program. The program has been top 25 consistently for the past couple of years and has faced some tough opponents as well.

Watermann has two teammates that are from his childhood and also from his U.S. Soccer Development Academy tenure. Another big factor that drew him into the program is that he is from Harrisburg and played for his high school team, which is 15 minutes away from where the 49ers play their home games. His support system being so close to him so he is always able to use them as a sounding board helped with the decision making process as well. The fact that the coaches and players that Watermann has a history with welcomed him with open arms helped him to make his decision to become a 49er.

“My teammates, they’ve been really supportive from the start. Our captain Teddy, he has been really supportive of my game. Patrick Hogan, my freshmen Kameron Lacey, Carson Price and Sean Suber. Sean [has been] my best friend since I was seven, so everybody I know has been pretty close and pretty supportive of me,” said Watermann. 

During captains practices over the summer, the team really gelled well and came together as a strong support for the new addition. He went through a seamless transition and became a part of a strong team that is going to play hard to represent the Charlotte 49ers. With high hopes, a strong support and the joy of playing at home and with friends, the future is looking bright for Watermann.

When it is game time, Watermann becomes a fierce competitor. The level of focus and drive he shows really reflects how hard he works to be the best he can every day. He is humble when it comes to his own skills and the things that he can improve on in his own game. Worried more about the team and winning than his own stats, he wants to help get wins however he can help. 

“There is always things to improve on. Me personally, I try to improve on my speed of play, finishing just things that will help us win games,” said Watermann. “I think we just approach every game with the same mentality. We do not really look ahead towards future opponents; we just look towards the game and team that we are about to face, and then after we play that game then we move on to the next game,” said Watermann. 

The goal for this season is to make it as far as possible but Watermann has his sights and hopes high as the season begins to start. 

“As a team [we want to] just make it as far as possible. Our team goal is to make it to the Elite Eight, but I honestly think that we have a really deep squad, good players at each position and everyone working hard, I think we can make a run for it,” said Watermann. 

Not just an athlete, Watermann loves soccer, listening to his favorite Drake song “The Motion” and eating Blaze pizza. For his life after athletics he wants to pursue a career in entrepreneurship and technology, hopefully merging the two. When not preparing for matches, practicing or going to school, Watermann is most likely to be caught listening to music, playing video games or hanging out with his friends. He loves being a Charlotte 49er, and one of his favorite parts of attending Charlotte is being able to play for and with people that he loves and cares about. Welcomed with open arms and love, Watermann is set to become a big part of the Charlotte 49ers’ future for a long time.