Sam Palian

49 POSTS 0 COMMENTS

Pieces of a puzzle

Jon Davis hangs on the rim as he dunks the ball. Photo by Chris Crews.

The Charlotte 49ers now have a record of 3-2 after cranking out a win in a close game against High Point at 70-67 this past Friday.

The Niners are experiencing quite a battle with themselves, taking one step forward and two steps back fairly often early in the season. They continue to rush into a winning record, yet are still struggling to play as a unit.

After a triple digit win and two losses, Charlotte began spreading out their play and using all of their teammates, as they hadn’t really been doing before, in a win against Presbyterian.

With four players in double digits, 45 points off of the bench, 17 points off of turnovers, three players with five or more rebounds and five players combining for 17 assists, Charlotte certainly made strides in their teamwork in their win against Presbyterian.

“We have to know not to settle, not to just rest on one win,” Charlotte’s current leading-scorer, Jon Davis said.

Of course, with any win there are things to learn from and things to improve upon, which is something that Charlotte coach Mark Price definitely realizes.

In their game against High Point, Charlotte faced a little bit of a tough situation when players started fouling out and getting hurt.

Hudson Price played admirably, scoring 17 points going 4-4 from the field, 2-2 from the three point line and 7-7 from the free throw line. Price exemplified how a player should handle himself as a teammate, stepping up and doing exactly what his team needed from him regardless of the situation. A major piece of the puzzle Charlotte is working so hard to finish.

Unfortunately in this win, the Niners faltered a little bit in their improvements as a team. They continued to spread out their scoring yet again, but they played a little more as individuals in this battle than as a team. Alongside Price, Najee Garvin had 13 points and Davis had 9 while Luka Vasic and Jailan Haslem each scored 8 points.

Comparatively, in the win against the Blue Hose, the 49ers had 17 total assists and scored 45 bench points, while against the Panthers they only acquired 10 assists and 24 points off of the bench.

Unlike Price alone, the team was not so lucky from the free throw line, going 20-37, missing an unacceptable number of free throws.

Even so, Charlotte had a very well executed defense, holding High Point’s leading scorer in Andre Fox to 10 points and only had 14 turnovers themselves. The Niners also forced 20 turnovers by the Panthers to gather 28 points.

“We had to play a lot of young guys and I’m proud of them for hanging in and I’m proud of them for getting the win. It wasn’t pretty and we missed way too many free throws as we had a chance to put it away and that’s a learning lesson for our young guys,” said Mark Price.

With a final record last season of 13-17, knowing not to settle is something this team does in fact need to keep in mind as they progress through this season. Charlotte absolutely has all the right pieces, they simply need to keep allowing themselves to be coachable and keep working on fitting all of those pieces together to make something truly great.

Niners pull out win over Blue Hose

Ryan Murphy shoots for a three. Photo by Chris Crews.

Charlotte brought Presbyterian’s record to 1-4 Monday night and their own to 2-2, after pushing past the Blue Hose with a win at a score of 83-74. Jon Davis recorded his 49th career double figure scoring game and his 20th 20-point scoring game, leading the Niners with 24 points as well as recording 3 rebounds.

Davis also had 7 assists to help his teammates gather 19 points throughout the game including points by Ryan Murphy, Austin Ajukwa, Jailan Haslem, Jaylan McGill and Andrien White.

With four players in double figures, Murphy, Ajukwa and Milos Supica all followed Davis with 11 points each. Together, the team shot 41.7% from the three point line in the first half, going 5-12, which is the same three point percentage the Niners shot by the conclusion of their last game in a loss against College of Charleston. A tremendous improvement that may otherwise go unnoticed, shows this team is working to better themselves as an all around offensive threat.

“We spaced the floor better, that was something we emphasized yesterday. Guys weren’t getting to their spots consistently and it wasn’t allowing Jon to penetrate and we’ve got to get him space so that he can draw defenses and make the plays and I thought we did a much better job of that night,” head coach Mark Price said.

Other players contributed to Charlotte’s winning score as well. Najee Garvin gathered nine, Haslem with five, White with four, Hudson Price and McGill each had a three and Luka Vasic gave Charlotte two. The team led the game in points off the bench 45-17 behind Murphy, Ajukwa and Supica’s points.

Murphy recorded his first career double figuring scoring game with his 11 points, going 3-5 from the three point line, certainly making his playing time count coming off of his redshirt season.

The Niners and the Blue Hose had quite a tight, back and forth game for nearly the first seven minutes of the game until Ajukwa hit a three to give Charlotte the lead for most of the half. At 5:49 Ajukwa would get a tip-in giving Charlotte their last big lead of the first half over Presbyterian at 33-27. Within the last five minutes of first half play, the Blue Hose would score 11 points to put them on top with a score of 38-33 at the conclusion of the first half.

Charlotte then scored 14 of the first 24 points in the second half bringing their deficit to only one point behind when Murphy scored a three with 14:50 left on the clock bringing the score to 48-47.

With 12:30 left, Ajukwa scored his final three, giving Charlotte a lead that would keep climbing for the rest of the night at 52-50.

Seven points by Reggie Dillard and a layup by Davon Bell within three minutes brought the score back to within only one point by 9:21, but Charlotte would be able to keep their lead and get a win. Dillard and Bell were Presbyterian’s leading scorers with 18 and 27 points.

Haslem led the team with seven rebounds starting off with three in the first two minutes of the game to set the tone for his playing time. Price and Garvin would also have six and five rebounds, respectively.

The 49ers may have a lot of hard work to put in, but they are certainly starting to translate that work into wins and hope to continue to do so.

“I think it starts with the guys that have been here before, we have to know not to settle, not to just rest on one win because it’s a long season. This is only our fourth game. So, it’s a quick turn around, we have a game against a good team Friday, so we go home, be happy about the win, have a day off tomorrow, but we’ve got to get back in the gym on Wednesday and get ready for High Point,” Davis said.

Charlotte will face High Point University in Halton Arena for their third of four straight home games on Friday, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m.

Charlotte suffers first loss; Davis gets 1000th point

Jon Davis goes in for a layup. Photo by Chris Crews.

The Niners (1-1) were unable to comeback in their road game at Oklahoma State and lost the game 83-65. The loss seemed to be a combination of failing to knock down as many shots and preventing the Cowboys (2-0) from doing so, as well as the Niners could have.

With any loss comes experiences to learn from and probably a little disappointment, but junior Jon Davis is always impressing Charlotte. He became the 27th player in school history to 1000 career points. He got to his 1000th point with 3:33 left on the clock in the first half when he took and made two free throws.

Davis finished with 15 points for his 47th career double figure scoring game while Andrien White led the Niners with 18 points for his 38th career double figure scoring game.

Charlotte made it into the paint to pull down shots slightly more than Oklahoma State even did, but simply could not score as many field goals. Kendall Smith would lead five other Cowboys in double figures with 19 points.

They scored the first seven points, but two free throws by Davis and a nice layup by Hudson Price would break down Charlotte’s deficit some to a score of 7-4 with already 16:29 left in the first half.

At the half, the Niners were down 47-26 and although they didn’t make the comeback they needed they did in fact manage to outscore their opponent 39-36.

Coming out of the second half, Ryan Murphy scored six and Milos Supica scored five points off of the bench for Charlotte.

Price, Austin Ajukwa, Jailan Haslem and Najee Garvin each contributed four points to Charlotte’s score while freshmen Jaylan McGill and Bryant Thomas added three and two  points, respectively.

Charlotte returns home at Halton Arena to play College of Charleston in the first of a three home game run this Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.

Racing to the finish

The women’s team celebrating with their trophies after their conference victory. Photo courtesy Charlotte Athletics

Charlotte Cross Country consists of many incredible athletes whose hard work sometimes gets overlooked.

Several of these athletes as well as their coaches have continuously proven this season especially, why that is changing. With Conference USA honors, top finishes by both teams including a championship title, as well as an individual title at both the C-USA championship meet as well as the NCAA Southeast Regional.

Women

As a team, Charlotte claimed the C-USA Championship, tallying 64 points ahead of runner-up Southern Miss’ 87 points. It is the program’s fourth conference championship, the first since Charlotte’s three wins from ‘92-’94. Two-time NCAA Track All-America Caroline Sang took the individual championship title, deservedly so.

“The first team meeting of the year we talked about having that expectation of winning the conference championship and performing day in and out at that mindset and that level. Going in, both teams knew they had a shot at winning. The guys gave it everything we had, on the ladies side we were aggressive and took control of the race right from the beginning,” said Coach Joseph Lynn. “Caroline did an amazing job of running controlled and smooth and honestly I think if she needed to, she had a little bit left in the tank. I think we finally did what we’ve been seeing in practice every day.”

Sang is the first woman at Charlotte to win such an individual title since Amanda Goetschius in the 2008 A-10 5000m. She is the second woman to win a C-USA individual title, the first since Molly Kerin in 1995. Her collegiate course record time of 16:27.9 is also the fastest 5k in school history by almost thirty seconds and the third fastest time in a C-USA championship ever.

Brittany Stanley finished seventh, being placed on the All C-USA first team along with Sang. Katie Tomasi placed 15th and Bridget Abbatiello placed 18th, both earning spots on the All C-USA second team. Alexia Noch would place 23rd, just barely missing a spot on the third team.

Sang, Stanley, Tomasi and Abbatiello became the fourth foursome in program history to earn all-conference honors at the same conference championship since ‘98.

The Niners entered the meet unranked in Southeast region, having defeated four of the teams they competed against, who were ranked in their regions. Behind Charlotte’s winning 64 points, and Southern Miss’ 87 points were Rice with 95 points, UAB with 97 points and in fifth was North Texas with 135 points.

Charlotte Coach Lynn was named C-USA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.

“With his technique of coaching us, he’s more into progressing the runner as an individual. He wants us to focus on our strengths rather than our weaknesses. He’s very into the little things,” said men’s runner Mihret Coulter.

At the NCAA Southeast Regional, Sang took home the individual title which grants her an NCAA national quailing spot. She is now the first Charlotte runner to win an individual title at regionals.

Men

The men who entered the championship meet ranked 8th in the Southeast region, would place 2nd as a team. This was the highest placed finish for the men since the 2002 C-USA Championship.

With Coulter finishing third, Tom Nobles finishing fourth, Zach Marchinko finishing sixth and Alex Cornwell finishing seventh they are now the first foursome to finish in the top 10 since ‘98. These four as well as Todd Gunzenhauser earned All C-USA honors becoming the first five Niners to gain five conference awards at a championship, the previous high being four in ‘98.

Although these young men may not have won a championship title they certainly reached new highs for their team for themselves.

Nobles earned his second straight All C-USA first team honor while Marchinko added a first team honor after receiving second team last season. Coulter and Cornwell also earned first team spots and Gunzenhauser earned third team, these being the first of such honors for all three runners.

“I think in my mind, for us, conference would’ve been cool to win, but our goal has always been the bigger meets like regionals and ideally making it to nationals. So after that meet, Middle Tennessee talked about how great of a performance they had and just knowing that we were that close kinda shows that we were there and we can still perform really well at regionals. I think it just gave us a little more motivation.” Nobles said.

Nobles and Marchinko each with two All-Conference awards ties them for the fourth most in program history.

Gunzenhauser ran a personal best 8K time of 25:18.8 as well as Matt Bomkamp and Matt Conner with times of 25:40.4 and 26:05.4, respectively.

The men’s team finished sixth at the NCAA Regional.

“It makes us hungry. We came in second in our conference. Our goal is to get to nationals and put Charlotte on the map,” said Coulter. “It’s an honor. I get to train with these guys every day. I know what they put in and they know what I put in. We grind together, it’s just nice to see us getting compensated for all the hard work we’re putting in here.”

Charlotte unable to clinch championship title

#16 Fernando Garcia

Charlotte (8-5-6) fell to ODU in the Conference USA Conference Championship at a score of 1-0. A very well contended game consisted of tough defenses throughout the entirety of play, but would not be enough for the Niners to push through and even up the score or get a win.

In the 28th minute, Niko Klosterhalfen scored the game’s first and only goal off of a loose ball right inside the 18 and sent the ball into the lower left corner of the net just past Charlotte goalkeeper Elliot Panicco.

Charlotte only gave up two goals for the four that they gathered throughout the tournament.

Again, it was a game led by defensive efforts, with both teams taking a few shots in the first half and with only one of those shots leading to a goal as the Monarchs were able to capitalize on one of those opportunities where the Niners unfortunately were not.

Ryan Spaulding would have the best Charlotte shot of the match, hitting a shot right off the crossbar after ODU goalkeeper just got a touch on the ball in the 49th minute of play.

The team outshot the Monarchs 8-7 again and they would take two corners as Charlotte would only take one, again showing how incredible of a defensive game this championship match was.

Teddy Chaouche, Tommy Madden and Marco Sunol-Rojas each earned All-Tournament Team Honors.

Last season Charlotte at 12-4-2 got as far as the first round of the C-USA tournament and fell to New Mexico. This season was the closest they have gotten to another C-USA Championship title since they won the tournament in 2013.

The Niners wait to see if the earn a bid into the NCAA tournament at 1 p.m. this afternoon.

Charlotte moves past No. 8 in the nation FIU; earns shot at championship title

Daniel Bruce talks to his teammates during a game earlier this season. Photo by Chris Crews

The Charlotte 49ers (8-4-6) are on to the championship match after sailing past a formerly unbeaten and top-10 ranked FIU (11-1-4). They are hoping to continue their impressive postseason performance and grab the program its first championship title in four years, being the seventh in program history.

FIU took the lead at 1-0 early on in the game, after only 12 minutes of play when Santiago Patino passed the ball to teammate Paul Marie. Almost 12 minutes later the Niners put themselves back in it when Daniel Bruce sent a ball to Marco Sunol-Rojas to tie the game at 1-1.

After Charlotte brought the game up to a 1-1 tie, a Joe Brito goal would put the Niners on top where they would then stay to get a deserved win and further their run for the championship. He scored his only goal with only 14 minutes remaining in regulation time of the game. Brito managed to rush past his defender into the box and receive a cross from a hard working Dean Rutherford, to chip in a header for the Niner’s second goal of the night.

With merely 21 seconds left in the game Charlotte’s Noah Seach would score his first goal of the season bringing the score to 3-1, a further guarantee of a shot at a C-USA Championship.

Charlotte took double as many shots as FIU sitting at 14-7 as the team who better showed how determined they are. The Niners are heading into the championship final off of a recent three wins and three well fought tie games as well. Being a team that is working incredibly hard toward their goal of a confeence championship title, they can certainly accomplish it.

The Niners will play Old Dominion on Sunday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. In early October the Charlotte fell to ODU 2-1.

Garcia breaks a record; Niners win

Yumi Garcia. Photo by Pooja Pasapula

Charlotte (19-10, 6-7 C-USA) beat UTSA for the first time 3-1 to get a bid into the conference tournament next week, through quite an incredible performance.

Yumi Garcia, with 19 digs in that match broke a school record to both make history for herself and for her team. In just the seventh rally of the evening, Garcia had two digs to send her over the previous record set in 2008 of 571 digs by Carly Romberg. Her 19 digs now set her at only five digs away from becoming part of C-USA’s top 20 for digs within a single season as well as putting herself only away 11 from the 600 club.

The single win by the Roadrunners followed one of four very competitive sets in which Alex Boone had a kill to bring Charlotte up to 21-20 over UTSA, then Janell Sparks managed to push it up 23-23 after a whole seven more plays. Unfortunate mistakes by some Niners led to a UTSA win for that set.

Down a set and down 1 at a score of 14-13 in the second set, it was here that Charlotte would begin their comeback in not only the set, but for the night too.

A six-point run included two aces by Sofie Perrens, Sparks with a kill and combo block by Boone. Jocelyn Stoner hacked down a kill to give Charlotte a 19-14 lead before a combo block and a solo block by Sydney Rowan would bring it to 22-17. Shortly after, two kills by Rowan and a last block by Janelle Curtiss and Tatyana Thomas leveled out the match to 1-1.

The Niners continued their push for a win in the third, starting their continuous lead at 14-14. Rowan would have two back-to-back kills prior to 2 more from Thomas and another block and assist from Cutriss would force UTSA into a timeout as Charlotte gained their 18-15 advantage. The Roadrunners would then get only as close as a score of 19-17 behind their opponent . Some errors now by UTSA would hurt them and then a block by Curtiss and Boone led the Niners to 2-1.

Charlotte certainly committed to a win and did not let up in the slightest. They very quickly surged into a 10-5 lead over the Roadrunners prior to finishing off the night and their win with a whopping 28-15 set. Charlotte’s first 15 points of the set were essentially products of their tremendous defense which forced UTSA into quite a few errors. The Roadrunners would have a grand 30 errors to Charlotte’s 11.

Rowan and Sparks’ kill pushed the lead up to 16-13. Stoners’ kill and Taylor Berg’s first kill of the season rose the score to 20-15 when UTSA went into yet another timeout. Thomas would help on Charlotte’s last three kills of the evening, collaborating with Curtiss for another combo block and then setting up Rowan in order to clinch the match with her final kill of the game.

Charlotte’s defense would also hold UTSA to a .155 hitting night while they hit for .343 within their own first set and for .458 in the third, ending the game with a .312 hitting night. The defense would also lead with a tremendous 18-3 in blocks over their opponent.

Among a few Niners with double digits in the game, Rowan would lead with 18 kills, Sparks then with 13 and Thomas with 10. Perrens would rack up 24 assists and Mackenzie Reaume would contribute 22. Rowan would end the night with her 13th double-double through 12 digs and and her 18 kills. Boone would match her own career highs with a solo block and nine assists for 10 in the nights.

The Niners had a quite comeback and a most tremendous performance and will continue their run in the regular season Saturday, Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. against Florida Atlantic.

Niners beat New Mexico; move on to semi-finals

49ers celebrate after a goal earlier this season. Photo by Chris Crews

Fourth seed Charlotte (7-4-6) is making their way through the Conference USA tournament. The Niners beat fifth seed New Mexico (8-6-4) in the quarterfinals by way of a penalty kick from Callum Montgomery.

The lone goal was scored off of a penalty kick taken by Montgomery, but it was quite a play that would result in the opportunity.

Daniel Bruce would run the ball down the left side of the box and serve a rather nice cross over to the right side of the box where Fernando Garcia was making a run in to the meet to the pass for yet another attempt at the first goal of the game when a New Mexico defender would foul Garcia in the box to give Charlotte a penalty kick.

Montgomery’s goal was the third of the season and his second career game-winning goal.

Charlotte led the game with a 15-13 shot advantage. The two teams certainly battled offensively, but a good offense would be no good without a highly reliable defense behind them as well.

A very solid defensive effort by Mongomery, Patrick Hogan, Luke Johnson, Zhuvonte Wilson and Noah Seach as well as the consistently incredible goal keeping by Elliot Panicco meant Charlotte was able to get a win. The match was Panicco’s sixth shutout of the season, recording seven saves in the quarterfinal competition.

On top of the defensive efforts, Tommy Madden would lead the game in shots with four, Teddy Chaouche would take three and Bruce would have two.

Charlotte had several wonderful scoring opportunities in the first half, one by way of a free kick in the 19th minute from Chaouche from quite a ways out that would unfortunately be stopped by New Mexico goal keep Jason Beaulieu.

Another would come in the 31st minute when Bruce took a nice shot that was again saved by the keeper. Marco Sunol-Rojas would soon take another shot in the 36th minute, but his header would be stopped as well.

Madden would take two shots next, one in the 39th minute, that would be just tapped away by Beaulieu. His next would come in the 41st minute as his shot would be just a bit too high.

In the 67th minute, Bruce took a shot from fairly far out that would go right over the goal keeper’s head, but would ring off of the crossbar.

The Niners will continue their all around tremendous efforts on Friday, Nov. 10 at 4:30 p.m. in Norfolk, VA.

Bruce named Offensive Player of the Week

Daniel Bruce swings the ball around Kentucky defender. Photo by Chris Crews.

After his performance against Kentucky on Saturday, redshirt junior Daniel Bruce was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week, for the 2nd time in his career.

Bruce was awarded his first C-USA Offensive Player of the Week last season was earned through a game-winning goal over No. 3 Clemson.

Bruce spent his first year at Charlotte redshirted and then took only three shots in 2015, very quickly became a driving force on Charlotte’s offense.

He was essential last season in helping his fellow Niners claim the C-USA regular season title as well as continue to be nationally ranked throughout the season and earn a seed in the NCAA Tournament.

To earn his second career Offensive Player of the Week Bruce scored Charlotte’s lone goal against Kentucky in the 1-1 double over time tie game.

Zhuvonte Wilson crossed the ball from near midfield on the right side to just inside the box on the left side of the field for Callum Montgomery to head he ball straight to Bruce who scored a wonderful goal propelling right into the net, for his sixth goal this season.

Bruce leads the Niners with six goals and is currently tied for second in C-USA for goals in conference play with four goals. His six goals this season so far put him at 12 career goals as well as having six assists.

As the fourth seed, Charlotte will face New Mexico in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Conference Championship Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. in Norfolk, VA.

 

Championship run ends in a loss for Niners in PK shootout

49ers celebrate earlier in the season. Photo by Pooja Pasupula

Last season, Charlotte ended their fight for a championship title with another PK shootout and were able to turn that into a deserved win. Unfortunately in this season’s championship game, after 110 minutes of battling for a scoreless game, the Niners would enter a PK shootout yet again, this time against North Texas. This year, however, Charlotte was not able to come out victorious.

Charlotte (11-8-2) earned the first attempt, with Kyla Clark taking the first shot and sending it a little wide. North Texas’ Tori Phillips then scored the first goal of the afternoon to put them up 1-0. Meredith Hamby took the next shot for Charlotte and had it saved, fortunately her teammate Abby Stapleton then saved the next North Texas (14-3-4) attempt by Brittney Lawson.

Abby Taylor then got Charlotte back in it with a ball right through the reach of Brooke Lamp. Elle Marie DeFrain responded with another goal for North Texas. Riley Orr took what would be the last PK for the Niners as Taylor Torres then put one into the net to win the championship title for the Mean Green.

Charlotte came into the championship game as the No. 8 seed, ready to meet with the No. 2 seed and they most certainly battled, both highly intent on the win. The draw is the first in meetings between the two teams.

The Niners would compete in the last 66 minutes of play without their Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year. Martha Thomas left the game with less than two minutes to go in the first period of the game and unfortunately would not return to the game.

The Niners who have yet to beat the Mean Green in their seven meetings, had several good scoring opportunities to put themselves in place for a win, but would be stopped by goal keep Brooke Bradley.

All-Conference USA Freshman Team member Stapleton, though, showed the same commitment to defending her team’s net, saving 7 North Texas attempts and finished her first conference tournament without having given up a goal in 290 minutes.

In the second half, Taylor and Julia Grainda had decent back-to-back shots that were sadly kept out by the Mean Green’s defense. Jamie Frankhauser took a pretty shot in the 80th minute of play only to be thwarted by a stop by Bradley. She would take a second shot from the far post after Megan Greene sent her a pass in the 97th minute. The shot would go just over Bradley’s head to then come back into her hands for another save.

As the final minute of over time approached, Mary Manser would send the ball toward the net hitting the crossbar and heading straight to the ground unfortunately, not over the goal line which the referees had initially decided. The game remained scoreless after an incredible fight from Charlotte.

“We’re immensely proud. You know, to play three games in five days and not give up a goal, I mean that’s the sign of a championship team. Today, we just came up a bit short. I thought we were the better team, we had the more dangerous chances. We couldn’t ask anymore,” said Coach John Cullen. “I think we’ve done the program and the athletic department at Charlotte proud by just back-to-back finals. This one today, just wasn’t our day.”

A highly offensive and competitive season for these Niners who worked incredibly hard to have the season that they did, will now be losing four seniors. A player who could be considered the program’s greatest, Martha Thomas, along with teammates Kyla Clark, Virginia Lingo, and Shealyn Dwyer have sadly reached the end of their collegiate career.

Charlotte will return in the spring, and in the meantime will be preparing for the program’s 25th season in 2018.

5 Niners earn C-USA Honors

Thomas quickly makes her way past an opponent. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

This season’s Conference USA honors have been awarded and on the lists are Charlotte 49ers Meredith Hamby, Abby Stapleton, Megan Greene, Kelley Suggs, and Martha Thomas.

Meredith Hamby and Abby Stapleton were added to the All-Conference USA Freshman team, marking the second-straight season that two Charlotte players were placed on the freshman team. It is the eighth season in a row that at least a singe player has earned a spot on the team.

Stapleton has been the team’s chief goalkeeper for the large majority of the season, starting in 17 0f 18 matches. In a come-back win over FAU at Transamerica field, she recorded her highest number of saves during a conference match at nine shots. She earned her career best in Charlotte’s season opener against USF with 10 saves.

Hamby saw the most minutes of any field player at 1584 minutes of playing time. As a part of the back line she helped hold 10 opponents to a goal or or less, six times in conference matches, through her incredible defensive play.

Three Niners were placed All-Conference teams, including Kelley Suggs to the All-Conference USA third team and Martha Thomas and Megan Greene were placed on theAll-Conference USA first team.

Suggs was also tabbed to the 2016 All-Conference USA Tournament team when Charlotte won the conference title last season. At her defensive midfielder position she helped her defense in holding those 10 opponents to their one goal or less as well as playing an integral part in one of the most impressive offensive strikes in the nation.

Greene who was Suggs’ high school and club teammate, certainly earned her spot on the first team this season after previously earning a spot on the All-Conference USA team and being named the conference’s freshman of the year. She was the fourth freshman in program history last season to have reached 10 goals as a freshman, and she has reached that landmark again this season grabbing another double-digit season at 10 goals yet again.

Thomas, currently an All-America candidate, was awarded both a spot on the All-Conference USA team as well as being named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year for the second season in a row. She was also chosen as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year this fall and clearly lived up to the title repeatedly.

She is currently 1 of 10 candidates for the Senior CLASS award and was featured in Sports Illustrated last fall as one of six athletes in the Faces in the Crowd section. Of many recognitions received from TopDrawerSoccer.com, she was placed at No. 20 on their National Midseason Top 100 charts, most certainly the highest ranking ever receive by a Conference-USA player.

Thomas enters post regular season holding the program’s records for most goals with 45, most points with 116, and most shots with 297 shots. As far as game-winning goals though, she only needs one more to equal Whitney Weinraub’s 13.

These outstanding 49ers and their excellent teammates will began their conference tournament play in the quarterfinals as the N0. 8 seed defeated the No. 1 seed and regular season champions Rice this morning.

 

The final quarter

The three seniors from the men’s basketball team: Hudson Price, Corey Bias and Austin Ajukwa. Photo courtesy of Uncle Jut

Hudson Price, Corey Bias, and Austin Ajukwa have each reached their final season of college basketball and they are certainly hoping to make their senior year the greatest they’ve seen.

Price, a 6’7” guard from Orlando, Florida who just happens to be the coach’s son, transferred from TCU for the 2015-2016 season and would sit out for his redshirt season. He excels academically earning a spot on NABC Honors Court list last year.

“We’ve been through two rebuilding years and this year our goal is definitely to finish in the top four and that’ll give us a bye in the conference tournament and I think we’ll have a great shot to win it,” Price said.

Price saw minutes in 28 games last season with two starts. He had his first career 20 point game at Elon in 2016 with 23 points off the bench, having a a nearly perfect game going 6 for 6 from the field, while going 4 for 4 from the three and 7 for 8 from the free throw line.

Corey Bias, a 6’1” guard from Milwaukee, Wisconsin walked on to the Charlotte men’s basketball team in 2016.

Bias was recently awarded a scholarship for his senior season at Charlotte in September.

“I love the unity here. Everybody likes each other well enough, especially this year everybody’s working hard together moving toward our goals. Committing to that process is something that the team has been working for since Coach Price got here,” Bias said.

Bias saw his first action in a game last season in the final minute of the Niners’ home C-USA win over North Texas. He scored his first two career points going 2 for 2 from the free throw line against Southern Miss in another home win for Charlotte.

A third senior, Austin Ajukwa a 6’7” guard from Columbia, South Carolina sat out the first nine games of the 2016-17 season at Charlotte after transferring from Clemson.

Ajukwa had his first career double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds at North Texas last season. In February of last season he managed to score a career high 30 points and grab 11 rebounds in Charlotte’s win over FIU.

“We’re getting better every single day. As seniors, we have to lead by example. We’ve been around the game pretty long you know we have that experience. All of us have to come ready to work in practice everyday, and know that new players especially with our big freshman class that our teammates are looking up to us, as leaders and as captains,” Ajukwa said.

Senior year never lasts as long as you hope it will, and it will come to an end far too quickly. These seniors have set out to make it last as long as they can and to put Charlotte men’s basketball at the top.

Niners best Panthers 2-3

Dean Rutherford and teammates celebrate after scoring winning goal. Photo by Chris Crews.

After heading into overtime for the fourth straight home game, Dean Rutherford found the net in the 92nd minute and the Niners pulled out a 4-3 win over Georgia State. Four Charlotte (6-4-4) players were able to score against the Panthers (9-5-1), Daniel Bruce, Teddy Chaouche, Tommy Madden and Rutherford.

“We scored four good goals tonight, that’s the difference. We played very, very well in front of the goal. I think we had 15 shots, scored four and had another couple of good looks. We looked very efficient in front of the goal, we’ve been working on it very, very hard,” coach Kevin Langan said.

An offensively competitive game between the Niners and the Panthers seemed at first like a sure win for Charlotte and then quickly as if they would be looking at yet another draw. Ending yet another game in over time, a fourth goal by Charlotte’s Rutherford made for his first goal of the season and his career.

Charlotte scored two goals in the first thirty minutes of play, the first being a product of good passing. Luke Johnson drilled the ball down field to Spaulding who utilized his footwork to pass the ball inside to Bruce from the left side of the box. Bruce then sent a close shot right into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season, continuing to lead the team in goals.

Georgia State quickly responded to their deficit with Nick Hague’s first goal of the season, getting the ball out of action and into the net less than two minutes after Charlotte’s second score.

With just under a minute in the first half of play, Rashid Alarape would take a penalty kick only for Elliot Panicco to make a wonderful block and another save after that when Alarape attempted to shoot the ball right back for a goal.

The game would reach it’s half with Charlotte up 2-1 and leading shots so far 10-7.

Panther Max Hemmings tied up the game, scoring Georgia State’s second goal of the game off of assists from both Frank Rosenwald and Alarape in the 50th minute of play.

No more than five minutes later, the Panthers would take the lead at 3-2 as Adu-Boahene Kwaku passed the ball to Alarape who sent the ball into the left corner of the net.

Only just over three minutes after Georgia State took the lead, Madden tied the game for Charlotte in the 57th minute when he sent a ball flying just into the right side of the net on a free kick.

The final goal by Rutherford gave Charlotte the win in their last regular season conference home game at 4-3 after 91 minutes and 19 seconds of play at Transamerica Field.

The Niners will return to Conference USA play when they travel to New Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 9 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

Another draw for the Niners

Daniel Bruce attempts to take a shot against South Carolina. Photo by Chris Crews

Before the match began, seniors Sean Bowman, Banks Fisher, Marco Sunol-Rojas and Zhuvonte Wilson were honored for their senior night. Less than four minutes after coming into the game, Ryan Spaulding scored his second goal of the season in the 30th minute of play for Charlotte’s only goal of the game. After 110 minutes of play, the game would end in a 1-1 tie between C-USA teams South Carolina (4-8-2, 0-4-2 C-USA) and Charlotte (5-4-4, 2-1-3 C-USA).

A quick turn-around in intensity of play for Charlotte led to much more aggressive competition from both teams. Before the second half the 49ers would take two more shots including a header by Callum Montogmery sent just over the goal to match the Gamecocks with three shots each in the first half.

“We started the game so flat. It kind of shocked me a little bit because we haven’t done that,” Charlotte Coach Kevin Langan said. “We managed to turn it around, we got a goal before half time. Second half, I thought we played extremely well. We forced their goalie into numerous saves, just couldn’t get that second goal.”

An early shot attempt by Daniel Bruce in the second half went high to miss the net and a second by a header from Bruce just in front of the goalkeeper would be saved by Gamecock William Pyle.

Spaulding’s third career goal was not enough for Charlotte to end regulation with a win. Going into the last five minutes of the second half, the 49ers led the game in corners 6-5 and in shots 11-4.

In the 86th minute of play Luca Mayr would take a corner to give Peyton Ericson a goal to bring South Carolina to a tie with the Niners at 1-1.

Both Spaulding and Joe Brito would each have another attempt at a second Charlotte goal in the last two minutes of the half only to end regulation time with Bruce putting up quite the fight within the last minute in the box to help his team get a win.

The Niners had a tough defensive front, holding the Gamecocks to three shots in the first half and only two in the second. Elliot Panicco had a beautiful diving save in the 25th minute of the match to hinder South Carolina’s Mayr from scoring.

Charlotte led 17-10 in shots by the game’s end and through their tremendous offensive effort, Brito led the team with four shots, Bruce with three and Spaulding, Teddy Chaouche and Callum Montgomery each with two shots. Fernando Garcia, Tommy Madden and Noah Seach also each took a single shot.

Unluckily, the Charlotte 49ers’ 17 shots produced only a single goal and would secure no more than a tie with the South Carolina Gamecocks.

“All in all, a really disappointing night for us. I think we’re good enough, I think we’ve got a really, really good team. I think we’ve got all the pieces we need, but there has to be an urgency to our play now. The season’s coming to an end, so we’ve got to start playing with that playoff soccer mentality, leave it all on the field and take care of business. Tonight, hopefully we learned a big lesson,” Langan said.

Charlotte’s last non-conference home game will be played Tuesday night, Oct. 24 at 7 p.m. at Transamerica field against Georgia State.