Jonathan Limehouse

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The Signal Caller

Being behind the plate requires sharp vision, skillful decision-making and tremendous fortitude. Whether Charlotte catcher senior Harris Yett is behind the plate or up to bat, he’s certainly capable of affecting the outcome of the game. Yett’s hitting percentage is .343 and he has started 43 games thus far. While the team’s record stands at a moderate 16-26-1, Yett has been well above average and a stand out contributor for the 49ers.

“I’m just trying to do more damage this season,” said Yett. “Last season, I hit for a good average but I didn’t hit as much [sic] extra base hits as I wanted to, and this season I’ve just been making it a big thing to try and do damage.”

Yett’s hitting hasn’t always translated to wins for the ball club, but his steady play is encouraging as the season dwindles down.

“As a whole, it has been kind of frustrating up and down, but for me, I think I’ve done fine,” said Yett. “I’d like to be a little better. I always can get better at every aspect of the game, but I think we’re about to finish strong. We’ll pick it up in the last couple of weekends.”

Yett’s journey to Charlotte is extraordinary. He played high school ball at South Mecklenburg High School before committing to play collegiately at North Carolina State. Yett accredits a lot of his preparedness for college to being part of the South Mecklenburg Sabres.

“Playing summer ball on that team, we had a lot of guys that went off and played at really big schools. We always had a bunch of attention on us,” said Yett. “Honestly, it just helped me learn how to play in that environment and just relax a little more. In high school, probably the greatest thing I took away from it was playing actual high school ball. We ended up winning the state championship my junior year at South Meck.”

Yett was born in Charlotte, so him transferring to play in the city where he was raised is a homecoming of sort.

“I originally went to NC State out of high school, and then I went to junior college for a year and then I decided to come back to Charlotte. I just missed being close to home. I love Charlotte, I’ve lived here my whole life so I just felt it was time to come back.” said Yett.

Yett’s father, Charles, played collegiate football at Wofford University. The 222 pound Yett decided against following in his father’s footsteps and picked up a glove instead of a pigskin.

“I played a little bit of football growing up, but baseball has always been my number one sport,” said Yett. “My high school football team at the time was not very good and we would have to do summer work outs. I always played on summer ball teams, so I just had to choose one or the other, so I just stuck with baseball.”

Sticking with baseball seemed to be a wise decision, and deciding to be a catcher has led to him being a semifinalist for the Buster Posey Award last season. He’s on the watch list for his play this season.

“I caught my whole life. I can play corner infield but I just definitely feel most comfortable behind the plate.” said Yett.

Yett’s bond with his current and former roommates is special. He rooms with teammates Colby Bruce, Carson Pinkney and Joey Cooner, who are all pitchers. Their bond off of the field translates to their play on the field. 

“Oh yeah, it translates all the time because we tend to get split up between position players and pitchers just because of the practice plan and stuff like that,” said Yett. “I’m that guy who’s on the position side, but I always got to be on the pitcher’s side too, so it definitely helps rooming with some of those guys and getting to hang with those guys off the field.”

Yett speaks and trains with former teammates as well, some of whom he may be playing with in the minors in June.

“I talked to Brett Netzer, my roommate last year Josh Maciejewski, Reece Hampton and Zach Jarrett. All of them were here working out all fall so I got to learn a lot from how they took care of their business everyday and what it takes to play at that next level.” said Yett.

As Yett wraps up his last season as a 49er, the minors are just around the corner for the catcher.

I’ve got to get there first, so we’ll see come June. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to play at the next level with other professionals and the game will be faster.” said Yett.

This season hasn’t been ideal for the 49ers baseball club, but Yett wants to finish out his final season on a high note before he ascends to the next level.

This season we’re going to finish on a strong note, and after this season, that’s to be determined; we’ll see.” said Yett. 

We indeed will see, and Yett will have all eyes on him as he finishes out this season and prepares to move on to the minors.

Charlotte sports aren’t over after finals

For most, final exams will begin Thursday, May 2 and end Thursday, May 9. A lot of students tend to pack up and go home after they’ve wrapped up their finals, but why leave so soon? There’s a multitude of sporting events scheduled on campus that students can attend after finals.

Charlotte’s baseball team will be playing the Charleston Southern Buccaneers Tuesday, May 14 at Hayes Stadium and they’ll end the regular season at home by playing a three game series against Conference USA foes the UTSA Roadrunners starting Thursday, May 16 and ending Saturday, May 18. The team is currently 14-24-1, so the last remaining games could have a significant impact on their standing in the Conference USA Tournament, which starts on Wednesday, May 22 at MGM Park in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The same can be said for Charlotte’s softball team who’ll finish their regular season on Sunday, May 5 at home to end a three game series against the UAB Blazers. The team is currently 14-30, so that last series will be pivotal as it’s against a Conference USA adversary. Yes, the team is playing during finals week, but some students finish their exams earlier than others. For those students that do finish their exams earlier than usual, why not run over to Sue M.Daughtridge Stadium to see the 49ers compete in their final series of the regular season?

Charlotte’s track and field athletes will be participating in the Conference USA Outdoor Championships Thursday, May 9 through Sunday, May 12 at the Irwin Belk Track Complex. The track and field team will have just returned from the Virginia Grand Prix in Charlottesville, Virginia, so I can guarantee they’ll be amped to compete at home. This would be the team’s third event at home; the others were the Charlotte Invitational and the 49er Classic.

Student athletes and managers don’t get to go home after finals because there are usually games still remaining on the team’s schedule. Attending their games is beneficial on both sides of the coin because students will be entertained and athletes feed off their support and energy. Entry into all sporting events are free for students, so it won’t cost a dime to attend after you’ve finished that rigorous Calc final. Taking finals doesn’t mean that school is finished. Completing finals provides more time to be on campus where you’ll be able to attend all the sporting events mentioned above. As finals approach, consider coming to a couple of games and enjoy your 49er athletes perform.

A love for the game

There are nine positions in the game of baseball, but there’s a multitude of people behind the scenes who’re just as much a part of the team as the pitchers and fielders. Charlotte’s baseball team is loaded with promising athletes who perform admirably each inning, but what about the unsung heroes who assure the team’s prepared before each at bat or pitch.

Baseball managers Sydney Pike and Jordan Hoskins don’t play on game-day, but they’re around the game as much as the players are. Both former baseball and softball players respectively, their love for the game brought them back to home plate. While they’re no longer swinging bats or throwing baseballs, they maintain their enthusiasm and glee each time they take a step into a ballpark.

“It’s a whole lot of fun, it’s a lot of work, but I love to do it. It keeps me around the game,” said Pike.

Baseball manager Sydney Pike

Pike’s currently a freshman at Charlotte, and before becoming a manager he played first baseman at McDowell high school in Marion, North Carolina.

“I played baseball in high school and turned down an offer to go play somewhere else and just wanted to stay with it,” said Pike.

The 6-foot former first baseman’s passion and urge to be around the game led to him becoming a baseball manager.

“I just sent an email to the coaches and said, ‘do you have anything to do because I want to stay close to the game,’ and they emailed me back and said ‘yeah,’” said Pike.

An email brought Pike back to the game that he couldn’t leave, while Hoskins became involved with the team because of an uncanny relationship.

“I played softball with the head coaches’ daughter in high school, so it got me connected to it,” said Hoskins.

Hoskins is a female in a male driven-sport, but being the only girl doesn’t faze her, on the contrary it’s the complete opposite.

“It’s really interesting being around all the guys, especially being a girl doing it, it’s a lot of fun,” said Hoskins. “It’s a different environment than softball, but I love it. It keeps my life interesting.”

Baseball manager Jordan Hoskins

Hoskins played shortstop for Central Academy of Technology & Arts in Monroe, North Carolina. She was a part of the Cougars softball roster until she graduated in 2017. The 5-foot-2-inch shortstop played with Coach Loren Hibbs’s daughter Lanie Hibbs who’s a year younger than her. The two played together through the 2015-2017 seasons.

Being a baseball manager isn’t a walk in the “ball” park, there’s hardships that accompany the job.

“Just how time consuming it is, and balancing that with classes is kind of hard, but good time management and you’ll be fine,” said Pike.

Hoskins echoed Pike’s sentiment.

“I agree, it’s definitely time consuming,” said Hoskins.

Managers of any sport have numerous duties to perform throughout the day and baseball is no different.

“I usually go to class and then I’m here at the field around 11 [a.m.]. I set up the field for early work around at two o’clock. We have practice from about 2:30 [p.m.] to around 5:30 or 6 [p.m.],” said Pike. “After that, we clean up practice and do laundry that night, or whatever they need done. Then we hang laundry and do it all over again.”

A manager’s responsibilities being completed are instrumental in the team’s preparedness, so it’s imperative that they’re done so the team can perform to their full capabilities.

This being Pike’s first year as a manager, he’s taking in all the cool experiences and perks that the job entails.

“Getting to travel around to universities and meeting a ton of people, and a ton of different coaches and players is probably the coolest experience,” said Pike.

Hoskins offers similar insight and thoughts concerning the benefits of being a baseball manager, but the competitiveness of collegiate baseball appeals to her also.

“I’d say definitely traveling and getting to experience the college baseball experience and seeing how competitive it all is,” said Hoskins.

The two have visited Clemson, Arkansas, Old Dominion, Wake Forest and Western Kentucky thus far. Hayes Stadium remains their home.

Hoskins and Pike are invaluable pieces to the team, they’re the glue that holds the team together. Regardless of whether or not the the team’s winning or losing, Hoskins and Pike will be tirelessly working to make sure Charlotte’s baseball team is prepared to conquer its next opponent. The 2019 season isn’t over so these two have a lot of baseball ahead of them, which I’m sure they don’t mind.

Right on track

The Charlotte 49ers men’s and women’s track and field programs participated in the Charlotte 49er Classic Thursday, March 14 through Saturday, March 16 at the Irwin Belk and Track Center.

Day One: Upperclassmen set the pace 

In the first five events of the men’s decathlon, junior Robert Yardley led all competitors with 3,274 points. Yardley managed to set new personal records in the long jump and shot-put events, finishing first overall in both. The Florida native finished fourth in the 400m, third in the 100m and second in the high jump.

Senior Desirae Rowell paced the field in the women’s heptathlon with 2,999 points through the first four events. The Cary High school alum placed first in the women’s 200m with a time of 25.55 seconds. She placed first in shot put as well setting a new personal record for the event. The biology major also placed third in the high jump (1.60m / 5 feet, 3 inches) and fifth in the 100m hurdles.

Junior Amaka Awuruonye placed second in the women’s heptathlon 24 points behind Rowell with 2,975. Awuruonye set a new personal record as she led the field to the finish in the 200m at a mark of 25.75 seconds. The Charlottean set a new personal record in the shot put as well. The junior also recorded a first-place finish in the high jump at 1.69m (5′ feet, 6.5 inches). She also placed fourth overall in the 100m hurdles.

Senior Taylor Parcells had a day finishing with 2,579 points. The Jersey native came in fourth place in the high jump and fifth in the shot put.

These upperclassmen astonished on day one of the 49er Classic.

Day Two: All-around team effort 

Day two of the 49er classic saw four Niners earn individual victories: Robert Yardley, Amaka Awuruonye, Stevan Veselinovic and Jade Jordan.

Yardley earned an individual win in the men’s decathlon remaining atop the boards. The senior set new personal records in the men’s decathlon in the long jump and shot-put events, discus, pole vault and javelin throw. The Bolles high school alum placed first in discus to boot. Yardley also finished second in the high jump, third in the 100m and fourth in the 400m.

Awuruonye was victorious in the women’s heptathlon with a total of 4,664 points. The junior recorded a first-place finish in the high jump at 1.69m (5 feet, 6.5 inches), second in the long jump (5.33m / 17 feet, 6 inches), second in the 800m and she was fourth overall in the 100m hurdles.

Sophomore Jade Jordan won the women’s long jump with a mark of 5.76m (18 feet, 10.75 inches). Senior Carlecia Spivey recorded a new personal best as she came in second at 5.66m (18 feet, 7 inches). Junior Torri Weathers finished tenth place while Freshman Madison Anderson set a new personal record in the event.

Rowell finished third overall in the heptathlon with 4,533 points. The senior wound up placing third in the high jump (1.60m / 5 feet, 3 inches), fourth in the 800m, fifth in the long jump and fifth in the 100m hurdles. Parcells competed as well finishing with 4,283 points. The senior recorded a new personal record in the javelin throw, finishing second with a throw of 36.09m (118 feet 5 inches), fourth-place finish in the high jump and fifth in the shot put.

Junior Jayon Woodard performed admirable as he won the men’s 100m in 10.51 seconds. Woodard’s time is currently the seventh-fastest time in program history.

Senior Steven Veselinovic exhibited his strength as he went on to win the men’s hammer throw with a 63.70m (209 feet, 0 inches) heave.

Junior Bridget Abbatiello and freshman Chandler Horton both recorded top-20 finishes. Horton in particular recorded her best finishing time in the event at 4:43.35.

Senior Markel Dalton finished second overall in the men’s long jump with a mark of 7.17m (23 feet, 6.25 inches), which is a personal-best.

The entire team was golden on the second day of the 49er classic.

Day Three: Wins and records

The third and final day of the 49er Classic resulted in 10 individual wins, nineteen top-five finishes, thirty-two top-10 finishes, and eighteen 49ers set new personal records, seven of which will move into the all-time top-10 for the program’s history.

Junior Terrell Adams was sensational winning twice, once in the shot put and the other in discus. The Raleigh natives shot put mark of 17.25m (56 feet, 7.25 inches) measured-in to be the third-best throw in program history. Adams’s winning throw in discus was a 54.94m (180 feet, 3 inches) heave.

Senior Sasha Dajia’s 17.09m (56 feet, 1 inch) toss garnered him a second-place finish behind Adams.

Redshirt senior Tom Nobles’ time of 8:23.62 in the men’s 3,000m earned him a first-place finish. Nobles’ time is a new personal best for him and it’s currently the fifth-fastest time in school history.

Sophomore Noah Shore led the 49ers in the 800m events finishing in third place with a time of 1:53.83. Junior Nolan Patrick had the next fastest time at 1:55.16.

Junior Alex Cornwell finished third in the men’s 3,000m finishing with a time of 8:27.32, which is now the eighth-best time in school history.

Sophomore Cemere Petty, senior Kiana Lee and freshman Maya Singletary won the women’s 4x400m relay with a time of 3:38.91, which is the third-fastest time in program history.

Both the men’s and women’s 4x100m teams finished in first-place. The men’s team comprised of freshman Brent Carrol, redshirt junior Christian Bass, sophomore Nico Menzel and junior Jayon Woodard finished in 40.46 seconds. The women’s team included all senior runners; Cameren Pryor, Alex Council, NyAsia Daniels and Kyra Atkins won for the women.

Woodard had more individual success as he won the men’s 200m. His time of 20.95 seconds is the fifth-fastest time in program history.

Junior Justin Hollis leaped over the competition winning the men’s pole vault with a height clearance of 4.40m (14 feet, 5.25 inches).

Like Woodard, senior Markel Dalton found more individual success as well. The senior was triumphant in the men’s triple jump with a mark of 15.48m (50 feet, 9.5 inches).

Senior Keon Howe competed unattached but managed to earn first-place in the men’s pole vault invite with a clearance of 5.10m (16 feet, 8.75 inches).

Seven women Niners ran in the women’s 200m, each finished inside the top-30. Kianna Lee ran the fastest time at 24.55 seconds, which is a new personal best. The other runners that competed were Kristen Williams (24.71), NyAsia Daniels (24.83), Alex Council (24.86), junior Jasmine Parquet (25.28), Cemere Petty (25.48) and Tayler Grier (25.48).

Chandler Horton ran the ninth-fastest women’s 3,000m time in program history in 9:59.11. She finished third overall.

Freshman Jasmine Jenkins currently has the eighth-best women’s shot put in Charlotte history as she finished fifth with a throw of 12.58m (41 feet, 3.25 inches).

The final day of the 49er Classic was one for the record books.

The Charlotte 49ers men’s and women’s track and field athletes came to perform, and that’s exactly what they did.

Charlotte loses heartbreaker against Wolfpack uptown

The Charlotte 49ers (8-8) went mano-a-mano with the undefeated NC State Wolfpack (16-0) at BB&T Ballpark. The 49ers couldn’t secure a tying run in the ninth inning resulting in a 6-5 loss to the Wolfpack.

“I told our guys this was a College World Series level game,” said Coach Loren Hibbs.

Charlotte set the tone of the matchup by scoring first off of a single by Tate Pennington and two RBIs from Carson Johnson and Drew Ober in the third inning.

Starting pitcher Chase Gooding was magnificent at the mound, only allowing one hit and striking out three batters in three innings of play.

NC State responded to the 49ers third inning rally in the fifth inning with an RBI single from Jonny Butler that batted in Lawson McArthur.

The 49ers wouldn’t let their momentum be halted as Dominick Cammarata hit a homer down the left-field line in the sixth inning to put the Niners up 3-1. The 49ers would score again in the seventh inning as Johnson hit his second RBI of the contest which batted in Todd Elwood.

The eighth inning didn’t fare well for the 49ers defensively as they allowed two back-to-back runners on base, which set up a three RBI homer from Patrick Bailey that tied up the ball game 4-4.

The ninth inning sealed the deal for the Wolfpack as they scored twice off an RBI single from Will Wilson and a walk from Brad Debo, which scored Wilson to put NC State up 6-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Charlotte willed their way back to 6-5 off an RBI double from Johnson — his third of the ball game — and it batted in Tommy Bullock. The 49ers couldn’t get the tying run as Harris Yett flied out to right-field to end the game.

“We played really well for seven innings and we showed we’re capable at times of playing at an extremely high level,” said Coach Hibbs. 

The 49ers accumulated 12 hits at 37 at-bats opposed to the Wolfpack’s nine hits at 35 at-bats. Charlotte had one error in the sixth inning.

Johnson and Yett led the team in hits with three apiece. Johnson led the team in RBIs with three.

The 49ers will begin Conference-USA play as they travel to Bud Metheny Baseball Facility for a three-game series against Old Dominion (12-3) Friday, March 15 at 6 p.m.

A hero comes home

The NBA All-Star Weekend brought a ton of premier athletes and star-studded celebrities to the Queen City, but it also brought a former Charlotte 49er back home. Larry Ogunjobi stopped by Jerry Richardson Stadium on Friday, Feb. 15 to sign autographs and converse with his 49er family. Ogunjobi played football at Charlotte for four years before being drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 65th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Ogunjobi reflects on his life in the NFL, compared to his time at Charlotte. 

“I’d probably say the lifestyle, just the difference in having all that free time to really focus and master your craft rather than you going to class [where] you’re doing this and doing that. When you’re in the NFL, football is your job [that] you do almost 24/7/365, so I think the biggest thing would be the lifestyle,” said Ogunjobi. 

Balancing football and school is a task for any collegiate athlete, but Ogunjobi managed to excel in athletics and academically. He was First Team All-Conference USA in 2016, and Second Team All-Conference USA in 2015. Ogunjobi ended his illustrious career at Charlotte with 217 total tackles, 49 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 33 fumble recoveries and he started all 46 games he’s played in. He’s currently the program’s all-time leader in tackles for loss and sacks and previously held the title for tackles as well, but has since moved to fourth all-time, having been passed by Karrington King, Ben DeLuca and Jeff Gemmell.

Ogunjobi wasn’t solely a force on defense, he was a force in the classroom as well. He was named to the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 Athletic Director’s List and Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Ogunjobi graduated December 2016 with a degree in computer science, and while he considered medical school, the NFL seemed to be his destiny as he was the first player from the Charlotte 49er football program to be drafted into the league.

Ogunjobi hasn’t played for Charlotte since the team’s 2016 season, so it’s been quite a while since he ran onto McColl–Richardson Field and heard the “Pride of Niner Nation” marching band blare the Charlotte 49er fight song. Ogunjobi may no longer attend Charlotte, but he hasn’t forgotten the relationships he made when he was here. 

“I’d say the people, I have a lot of friends and family here, they helped me a lot throughout my college career. So I think that’s the biggest thing, just being far away from home,” said Ogunjobi. “It’s a little different, but I have the guys come up to Cleveland every now and then so it’s always good to keep in contact with everybody.” 

According to the Cleveland Browns official website, in 30 games Ogunjobi has accumlated 80 total tackles, 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble so far in his two-year career with the team. His performance thus far dignifies why he sees himself as one of the top players at his position. 

“One of the top defensive tackles, so that’s pretty much the goal right now,” said Ogunjobi. 

Training camp doesn’t start for months, so Ogunjobi doesn’t have to report to the Browns for a while. Nonetheless, there isn’t any doubt that Ogunjobi is training and working daily because he is, and always will be, a 49er. 

The previous version of this story stated that Larry Ogunjobi is currently the all-time leader in tackles and has been corrected to state that he is now fourth all-time behind Karrington King, Ben DeLuca and Jeff Gemmell.

49ers triumphant over Blazers

The Charlotte 49ers (6-18, 3-10) came into Bartow Arena for a Conference USA matchup against the UAB Blazers (14-11, 6-6). The game throughout was tightly contested but Charlotte managed to defeat the Blazers 69-62.

Jon Davis was the catalyst for Charlotte’s victory scoring 29 points, including 18 points in the second half down the stretch. This performance marks Davis’s 90th career double figure scoring game and his 46th career 20 plus points scoring game. Davis is currently one point away from scoring 2,000 career points in his illustrious tenure as a 49er.

Other notable performances included Malik Martin contributing 13 points and Cooper Robb causing four turnovers off of steals. Robb and Davis also made clutch free throws to seal the game for the 49ers. Davis and Martin led the team in rebounds racking up six boards a piece.

The 49ers didn’t shoot as well as their opponents did shooting 38.3 from the field, compared to UAB’s 38.5 field goal percentage. Charlotte’s ability to knock down nine out of 13 total free throws were instrumental in their success, especially towards the end of the game.

The Charlotte 49ers will look to end the season strong on the road as they go up against the Old Dominion Monarchs at Ted Constant Convocation Center on Saturday, Feb. 9. The game is scheduled to tip at 2 p.m.

49ers drop the ball against North Texas

The Charlotte 49ers (5-17) couldn’t come away with a victory against the North Texas Mean Green (19-4) in the teams final home regular season game at Halton Arena on Feb. 2. The 49ers fail to Mean Green 73-66.

“When we watch the film, this one is definitely going to hurt because we kind of gave it away in some ways,” said Coach Ron Sanchez. “I really wanted this one for the guys.”

Guards Jon Davis and Malik Martin provided the majority of the 49ers offense with Davis scoring 25 points and Martin scoring 12.

Guard Cooper Robb had a career high in rebounds with 10 boards. The 49ers unfortunately came up short on the glass against the Mean Green being out rebounded 32-24.

“I’m going to start calling [Cooper] the little big man; he’s battling his tail off and really growing and learning.” said Sanchez.

Cooper had eight defensive and two offensive rebounds during the contest.

“We’re all learning as we go and every game is something we can learn from.” said Robb.

The 49ers shared the ball exceptionally well as they passed for a total of 18 assists opposed to North Texas’s 11.

“The way that we’re moving the ball [and] the way that we’re sharing the ball, I think we’re playing a game that you can see is five guys on the floor trying to be unified and synchronized.” said Sanchez.

The 49ers will look to finish out the season strong as they begin their road trip against Middle Tennessee in Murphy Center Thursday, Feb. 7. Tip-off time is scheduled to be at 7:30 p.m.

PREVIEW: 49ers go on the road to face Roadrunners

The Charlotte 49ers will will look to capture a win against UTSA at the Convocation Center on Thursday, Jan. 24. 

Memory Lane

The last time Charlotte played against the Roadrunners was Saturday, Feb. 17 of 2018 at Halton Arena. The 49ers lost their last encounter with UTSA 97-89. Former Charlotte guard Andrien White was the team’s leading scorer with 25 points. Current senior point guard Jon Davis was the team’s second leading scorer with 19 points. Davis also led the team in assists with eight. Current sophomore guard Luka Vasic led the team in rebounds with 11, and he was the team’s third leading scorer with 13 points. Reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Year guard Jhivvan Jackson led the Roadrunners in scoring with 30 points. 

Obstacles 

UTSA is currently the fourth scoring offense in Conference USA. Now a sophomore, Jackson is currently Conference USA’s and the Roadrunners’ leading scorer, averaging 21.7 points per game. Sophomore guard Keaton Wallace was a member of the 2017-18 Conference USA All-Freshman Team and he’s currently the Roadrunners’ second leading scorer, averaging 18.2 points per game. The Roadrunners are No. 1 in Conference USA in defensive rebounds averaging 28.2 per game. 

Keys to victory 

The 49ers are the fifth best scoring defense in Conference USA, so they’ll need to be defensively stout against UTSA’s high octane offense. Both Jackson and Wallace are bound to be on Coach Ron Sanchez’s weekly game plan. 

The Niners will need to find another productive scorer aside from Davis. White led the 49ers in scoring in their last meeting with the Roadrunners, and since White is no longer on the team, someone else will have to join Davis in providing offensive productivity. Davis is Charlotte’s leading scorer averaging 21.6 points per game, so getting him going is crucial as well. Cooper Robb, who recently hit the floor for the Niners again, may help add to Charlotte’s offensive goal.

Charlotte is currently the last scoring offense in Conference USA, so offensive efficiency is vital. The 49ers need to play good defense and score when the opportunities present themselves. 

Charlotte will also have to limit turnovers and play smart as a team. The 49ers average 15.4 turnovers per game, which is second to last in Conference USA. 

The 49ers will have to be a force on the glass in order to out-rebound the Conference’s top ranked defensive rebounding team. Sophomore forward Milos Supica is currently Charlotte’s leading rebounder, averaging 5.3 per game, so he should be an integral part of the game plan.

The game is scheduled to tip at 8 p.m. and it will air on ESPN+.

Charlotte drops to 8-6 with loss to Marshall

The Charlotte 49ers came up one point short against the Marshall Thundering Herd in Cameron Henderson Center on Jan. 5. The 49ers loss this interconference affair 63-62. The 49ers are now 0-2 in Conference USA play and are currently riding a three game losing streak. 

It was a solid team effort with four of the 49ers starters scoring in double figures. Senior guard Laia Raventós led the team scoring 19 points. Redshirt junior guard Jade Phillips was the second leading scorer with 15 points. Sophomore guards Mariah Linney and Octavia Jett-Wilson scored a combined 24 points. Linney scored 13 points and Wilson scored 11 points.

Charlotte and Marshall were neck-and-neck the entire game, but Marshall managed to outscore the 49ers in the end. The Thundering Herd outscored the 49ers 18-17 in the fourth quarter. Neither team led by more than eight points the entire contest. 

The 49ers will look to rebound at home in Halton Arena against the FIU Golden Tigers Thursday Jan. 10. This will be another interconference game, and it’s scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. 

49ers struck by Thundering Herd

The Charlotte 49ers (3-10) couldn’t pull out the win against reigning Conference USA champions, the Marshall Thundering Herd (9-6). The 49ers were narrowly defeated by Marshall 85-84 at home in Halton Arena. 

“I couldn’t ask our team to do more.” said Coach Ron Sanchez.

Jon Davis put on another strong-willed performance, scoring 37 points. Milos Supica had another standout game scoring a career-high 23 points. Davis and Supica’s combined 60 points weren’t enough to propel the 49ers over Marshall. 

“They gave us all they had. We made some mistakes but I think we shot the ball well. We got to the free-throw line as we wanted to in our game plan,” said Sanchez. “We challenged Milos in practice and I asked Jon to give us more if he had any left which he obviously did. I am very pleased with the naked eye observation as far as effort goes tonight and for the most part executing the game plan.”

Davis’s performance does put him seventh on the 49ers all-time scoring list with 1,761 career points. Davis passed former 49ers Jobey Thomas (1998-2002) and Curtis Withers (2002-2006). 

Bo Blight had a commendable performance as he recorded his first career double figure rebound game with 10 boards. The 49ers dominated the game on the boards out-rebounding Marshall 33-26.  

The Charlotte 49ers will look to capture an interconference win as they battle against the FIU Golden Tigers on Thursday, Jan. 10. The game is set to tip at 7 p.m. 

Charlotte tames Wildcats before Christmas

The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team clashed with the Davidson Wildcats on Friday, Dec. 21. The 49ers defeated the Wildcats 78-66, outscoring them by 13 points in the fourth quarter. 

“Great to see our team kind of maturing before our eyes. Talked about this in the locker room; when we’ve been in a lot of tight games and just going back-and-forth, back-and-forth, and we haven’t been able to have that maturity to close out [sic].” said Coach Cara Consuegra. 

The game was relatively close throughout, but Charlotte’s adjustments coming into the fourth quarter won them the contest. 

“The difference in this game is we switched to our zone late and we were able to obviously get the stops that we need and pull away to make this the type of victory that we should’ve had,” said Consuegra. 

Charlotte’s offense was exceptional with sophomore Mariah Linney leading the 49ers in points with 22.  

“Pleased that our offense is continuing to improve. Two games in a row, we’re doing a much better job just executing, looking for the right things, [and] sharing the ball. With three people in double figures, two more knocking on the door, [and] more assists than turnovers, that’s how we want to play offensively; that’s Charlotte basketball.” said Consuegra. 

Sophomore Octavia Jett-Wilson was the second leading scorer for the 49ers scoring 19 points.  

“I’m stepping up trying to be more of a leader knowing that I’m not a freshman.” said Wilson. 

The 49ers’ next game will be against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on Friday Dec. 28 in Halton Arena. Scheduled tip-off time is set at 7 p.m. 

Charlotte trounced by Demon Deacons

The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team went mano-a-mano with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Wednesday, Dec. 6. The 49ers loss to the Demon Deacons 69-43. 

“There’s no way to sugar coat it; there’s really not a lot of positive things I can say other than we played very poorly tonight,” said Coach Cara Consuegra. “We deserve the outcome of the game, you get what you earn in this game.”

Charlotte kept in striking distance in the first quarter trailing Wake Forest 18-16. The 49ers couldn’t keep pace after the first quarter being outscored 20-9 in the second, 12-10 in the third and 19-8 in the fourth. 

Redshirt junior Jade Phillips led the 49ers in scoring with 24 points. 

“The shots were falling so I just shot them. I tried to get good looks, make sure the shot clock counted down,” said Phillips.

The 49ers were outrebounded 45-24.

“There’s absolutely no excuse for a team to ever out rebound us by 21,” said Consuegra.

Wake Forest’s presence in the paint was felt, outscoring Charlotte 30-14.

“Clearly the offensive struggles that we’ve been having are continuing to affect us,” said Consuegra.

The 49ers next game will be against Mercer at Hawkins Arena in Georgia Sunday, Dec. 9. Tip-off time is at 1 p.m. 

The Dirty Work: A basketball manager’s story

A roaring applause is heard as the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team exits the tunnel onto Halton Arena’s hardwood court. Head Basketball Manager Matthew Sholtis glances into the crowd and sees new and familiar faces as he walks into his final Basketball Madness as an undergraduate.

The Apex, N.C. native is a senior at UNC Charlotte and has been a part of Charlotte’s men’s basketball program since his freshman year. The men’s basketball team’s season is around the corner, and Sholtis is eager to contribute and witness it unfold, game by game. 

“I’m just looking forward to us getting better every day. We got a brand new staff [and] a lot of new players. We’re just taking it one day at a time, we’re not looking forward to the season at all right now. We’re trying to win tomorrow’s practice, and I’m just looking forward to learning everything I can from this coaching staff. [I’m] just trying to take it all in as my last year,” said Sholtis.

He’s been there to take in the standing ovations from the fans, coaches’ half-time speeches, the opposing team’s fans heckling, the shot clock buzzers, the announcers’ play-by-play and the persistent blowing of the referee’s whistle. Sholtis has taken in a lot in his three years with the team, but that’s why he loves being a part of it every season and it’s what he’ll miss the most.

“Just every day, coming in, hanging around the coaches, setting up for practice [and] hanging with the other managers that I’ve created some great friendships with. People call it the dirty work, but I love doing it. Rebounding for the guys, doing laundry…it’s just great to be a part of the program. It’s the best job a college student could ever have.” said Sholtis.

Sholtis won’t miss it too much though, considering he’ll be back next season in a different role with the team. 

“I was lucky enough for Coach Sanchez to offer me a graduate assistant position, so I’m going to be a GA for the next two years and get my graduate degree. After that, I plan on going into coaching, so in those two years I’m gonna try to learn as much as I can.” said Sholtis. 

Sholtis has already learned and observed a lot from Coach Ron Sanchez.

“The intensity level in practice is on another level. He comes from Virginia and they’re one of the best teams in the country. He knows how not only to run a program, but [to] rebuild a program, because he did it at Virginia [and] he did it at Washington State. He forms great relationships with all of our guys, down to all of the players [and] the managers. He always says come into the office, talk to us whenever you want,” said Sholtis. “He has a great relationship with everybody, and that’s one of the biggest things you can have as a head coach. People might think it’s all X’s and O’s, but it’s a lot more than that, so that’s what I learned from him.”

Sholtis takes every game in stride. He doesn’t predict the future, especially concerning the season. 

“I don’t like to make predictions, I just kind of like to go with the flow. Like I said earlier, take it one game at a time. Just improve from the beginning of the season to the end of the season, that’s the only thing we can ask for. The one thing coach says every day at practice is that he’s not going to coach effort and he doesn’t have to because our guys give one-hundred percent every day, which is all you can ask for as a coach, and that’s what you want from a team, so we’re going to see where it goes from there.” said Sholtis. 

One player in particular that has seen the maturation of Sholtis as a person and manager is 49er point guard Jon Davis. 

“Matt’s my guy, outside Matt and Adam, those are really the only two guys that’s been here all four years, and Ryan Parr. Matt’s cool, Matt’s going to be one of my lifelong friends. He’s one of those guys that you meet and just sticks as a friend. He and I have a good relationship outside of basketball and he’s just become one of my best friends,” said Davis.

The camaraderie between Sholtis and Davis exists because of Sholtis’ commitment to the team and its players. 

“I always put in a lot of hours. I get here at 6:45 [a.m.] rebounding for our players. [I] try to slip a work out in and then just cut up film in the office, and I’m always asking the coaches what I can do to help. Especially my senior year, I’m going to spend as much time as I can investing in this team. Just doing everything I can to help us be better. It might be a small part, but every part matters. I’m going to do everything I can to help us be successful.” said Sholtis. 

In his fourth year here at UNC Charlotte, Sholtis has witnessed ups and downs, but those up and downs are what has propelled him into the position he’s in today. Sholtis wants to be a coach one day and his aspirations aren’t too far out of reach. This season isn’t his last as a 49er, and it isn’t his last doing the dirty work that has made him who he is today.