Veronica Shoemaker

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Veronica Shoemaker is a sophomore at UNC Charlotte from Livonia Michigan. She packed up her life and moved down to North Carolina to chase a career in NASCAR. She is working towards a Communications and Spanish double-major with a minor in Journalism. She is also a huge sports fan, a part-time artist, and a writer for the Niner Times sport section.

Charlotte softball avoids series sweep, snags Sunday win

Jude McGough making her way home to score a run for the Niners. Photo by I. Chimena.

Charlotte finished off their weekend at Middle Tennessee with a 1-2 record. After losing both games on Saturday, they were able to win their final game at the Blue Raiders Field on Sunday afternoon. Middle Tennessee shutout game one with a final of 2-0.During the second match-up the Niners got a few runs in, but it was not enough, and they fell with a final score of 4-2. Sunday brought the final game of the weekend, and Charlotte’s only win, walking away with 4-1.

Game one: Middle Tennessee 2, Charlotte 0

At the beginning of game one, each team worked strong defensively to keep the other team from scoring a single run for the first five innings. At the top of the sixth, Lizzy Birch advanced all the way to third, but was unable to make it home before teammate Taylar Byrne grounded out near first base.

The bottom of the sixth is when the only run of the game was scored, courtesy of the Blue Raiders. Keely McGee, the first batter up for Middle Tennessee, homered the ball out to right field and paraded her way back home. Haley Wiseman shut down the Blue Raiders for the rest of the inning and did not let anyone else reach base.

Game two: Middle Tennessee: 4, Charlotte 2

Middle Tennessee completely dominated the first inning of game two by scoring three runs after they kept Charlotte from reaching base at the top of the inning. With two bases loaded, Lexi Cushing stepped up to bat and homered the ball out to right field. The Niners reacted quickly at the top of the second.

Meredith Harris stepped up to bat and slammed the ball down the right foul line, when she then advanced all the way to third. Birch singled up the middle, which gave enough time for Harris to make it back home. The game stayed 3-1 until the top of the fourth when the Niners captured another run.

Harris started off the inning by doubling to right center. Birch then stepped up to bat and singled the ball to dead center, while Harris traveled to third. Jude McGough singled out to left field, and Harris found her way back home, making the score a close 3-2.

The score stayed locked until the bottom of the sixth, when the Blue Raiders cemented their victory with another run. Precious Birdsong had worked her way to third base when Cushing reached on a fielding error. That forced Birdsong around the diamond to score the last run of the game. Middle Tennessee swept the day ending game two with a final score of 4-2.

Game three: Charlotte 4, Middle Tennessee 1

Sunday brought a fresh start and redemption for the Niners, but before they headed back to Charlotte, they were able to win their final game of the weekend. Neither team scored in the first inning, but Charlotte quickly took control and got two runs at the top of the second.

McGough was first up to bat for the Blue Raiders, when she doubled out to right field. Spenser Gray then hammered the ball towards third base and stole second while McGough advanced to third.

Kiersten Berrier doubled the ball which forced McGough home, and gave Gray the chance to advance. Bailey Rhoney then singled the ball to shortstop, and Gray scored the second run of the game for the Niners.

The Blue Raiders threw their only point up on the scoreboard at the bottom of the second inning. Cushing doubled to left center and sent teammate Morgan Harris home from second, which brought the score to 2-1.

Wiseman kept Middle Tennessee from scoring another point during the last five innings. Becca Shipper and Rhoney scored two more runs at the top of the fifth, extending the lead to 4-1 for Charlotte, ultimately ending the game.

The Niners return home this Wednesday to the Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium to play UNCG at 5:00pm looking to better their overall record of 10-18.

A Disappointing 49er Classic for softball

Senior Haley Pace brings it back to the team after her record breaking home run. Photo by I. Chimena

Following a four-game weekend against Townson and Oakland at the Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium, the Niners walked away disappointed with only one win. They struggled all day Friday and the Tigers captured the first victory of the classic at 7-2. The second game was just as rough, and the Bears stomped off with a 7-4 win. However, the Niners were able to shut out Oakland 8-0 in the first game on Saturday but lost the final game against Townson 4-7.

Game One: Townson 7, Charlotte 2

The Tigers hit the field ready to play on Friday afternoon, and kept Charlotte at bay for the majority of the game. Townson stole two runs from pitcher Haley Wiseman in the first two innings of the game, and then cemented their victory at the top of the sixth by scoring three additional runs.

By the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers had the game pretty much wrapped up at 7-0, until Haley Pace stepped up to the plate. She sent the ball flying out to right field and ordered teammate Bethany Doty home.

With a mark finally up on the scoreboard, Becca Shipper singled through the right side which brought Jude McGough back home. Unfortunately, the Niners were unable to keep the momentum going and the game ended at 7-2.

Game 2: Oakland 7, Charlotte 4

Charlotte took on the Oakland Bears in game two, and put up a good fight, keeping them from a single run until the third inning. The Bears showed their claws in the top of the third to bring home five runs by the end of the inning.

Charlotte reacted by scoring two runs of their own in the bottom of the third when Kiersten Berrier singled on a bunt, and Haley sent her home with a homer out to left field. At the bottom of the fourth, Carson Pace struck out two Bears swinging, and kept the score at 5-2.

When Erin Powers stepped up to the plate in the fourth, she singled up the middle, and advanced to second base on the throw. McGough and Taylor Tompkins found their way back around the mound and scored two more runs for the Niners. The game was at a close 5-4 when the Bears picked up two more runs at the top of the fifth. The last two innings remained scoreless, and the Bears became victorious with the final of 7-4.

Game 3: Charlotte 8, Oakland 0

Saturday was a new day for the Niners when they took the field for their second game against the Bears. They came in swinging and managed to secure two runs in the first inning.

McGough stepped up to bat and singled to the short stop, which gave Berrier enough time to make it from second to home. Shipper was waiting on third, and advanced home on a wild pitch, which gave the 49ers their first lead of the weekend.

Wiseman held off the Bears in the top of the second, and Doty scored the third run of the game in the second inning. With the bases loaded at the bottom of the fourth, Haley made her way to the plate, and doubled to left center, which sent teammates Shipper, Berrier, and Lizzy Birch home. The solid six-point defecate was not enough for the 49ers, so Haley scored another run on a wild pitch, and Harris scored the final run of the game, ending it in the fifth inning.

Game 4: Townson 7, Charlotte 4

The Tigers took charge in the final game of the classic and scored two runs against the Niners in the first inning. Powers singled the ball to the shortstop and gave Shipper the chance to make a run from third.

Townson picked up yet another run at the top of the second, but thanks to two more runs from Tompkins and Emma Ocker, the Niners tied up the game at 3-3. Sadly, it was short lived, and the Tigers recaptured the lead with two additional runs.

McGough scored the final run of the game for the Niners at the bottom of the third, and the Tigers took off with two more runs in the sixth. The game ended with a 7-4 win for the Tigers, and an over-all inadequate weekend for the 49ers.

Although it was not the best weekend for Charlotte softball, it was a prestigious weekend for Haley Pace. Thanks to the homer she hit in game one against Townson, she was able to break the home run record for the school.

The Niners head to Fullerton California this weekend to participate in the Judy Garman Classic, a total of five games from Thursday to Saturday. The action begins on Thursday at 3:00 pm when the 49ers take on the University of Michigan Wolverines.

Softball swings into the 2018 season with a weekend sweep

The Niners come together following a victorious win. Photo by Katelynn Pennington.

Charlotte started off their first weekend of the 2018 season at Elon on Friday afternoon where they swept the double header. After a long off season, the 49ers set the pace by winning their first game of the year 5-2 against the Phoenix. The second game started out a little rough for the Niners, but they ended up capping off the weekend with another win at 6-3.

Game one Charlotte took the lead in the opening inning with 1-0 when Haley Wiseman struck out two in the bottom of the first. It took until the bottom of the third for Elon to score their first run, but they soon took charge of the game in the bottom of the fourth with the score of 2-1.

The Niners stormed back on the field at the top of the fifth, and Meredith Harris sent Haley Pace home, tying the game at 2-2. After two more innings without either team getting another point on the board, the first game of the 2018 season headed into extra innings.

However, one inning is all Charlotte needed to take control and cement their first victory of the day over the Phoenix. Becca Shipper made it home from second with the help of Haley’s two-out single to the left side of the infield.

After capturing two more runs, the Niners left Elon scoreless at the bottom of the eighth, ultimately ending the game with a 5-2 win. Charlotte had little time to celebrate their victory before taking the field again for game two against the Phoenix.

Elon was hungry for a win after game one and stole the lead from the bottom of the first. The Phoenix secured two more runs, which extended their margin to 3-0 in the third, and left Charlotte with nothing.

Bethany Doty ran to first after she scored her first career hit as a 49er in the top of the third. Shipper stepped up to bat and sent Doty home, which brought Charlotte their first run of the game.

After she hit a double in the fourth, Haley was sent home by Grace Beatty. At this point, Charlotte was trailing Elon by only 1 point with the score of 3-2. Sophomore Carson Pace pitched her first full inning of the day, shut down Elon in the bottom of the fourth.

Again, Haley stepped up to the plate and delivered a two-run single that gave Charlotte the lead of 5-3 and sent freshman Taylor Tompkins home for the first time in a 49er uniform. After the Niners held off Elon in the bottom of the fifth, Tompkins scored the final run of the game at the top of the sixth when Shipper singled the ball to left field.

Carson earned her first win pitching as a 49er after she allowed only one hit and no runs for the last four innings of the game. Following this exciting weekend at Elon, head coach Aimee DeVos is only a single win away from 600 total wins in her career.

The Niners host South Carolina at the Phillips Softball Complex this coming Wednesday at 5:00pm to play in their first home game of the season.

Charlotte falls to Marshall on the road

Sophomore Yumi Garcia keeps her eye on the ball at all times. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

Charlotte volleyball matched up against the Herd on Sunday at 1 p.m. for their second meeting this season. After their exciting 3-1 victory against Marshall back in September, the Niners fell short and lost 0-3. The first set started out strong for both teams, but by the third, it was evident that Marshall would dominate the day.

In the primary set, Mackenzie Reaume got the first point of the game for Charlotte with a kill and a little help from teammate Sydney Rowan. That was the only time in the entire game that the Niners would secure the lead. Marshall kept Charlotte at bay throughout most of the first set.

The closest the 49ers got to regaining the lead came about by a kill from Tatyana Thomas which tied the set at 13-13. The Herd quickly created a comfortable lead, and their final kill came from Madison Hill, which ended it at 25-20.

Their momentum carried over into the beginning of the second set by earning four points before Charlotte was able to register their first. The Niners struggled to keep up, and at one point were trailing the Herd by 10 points with 20-10 up on the score board.

Thanks to an impressive four kills by Molly Shaw, and one from teammate Alex Boone, the 49ers decreased the defecate to four points. However, this little drive was swiftly shut down, and Marshall won the second set 25-18.

The Herd dominated the third and final set from the get-go by snagging the first six points before Marshall’s Madelyn Cole suffered a handling error, which resulted in a point for the Niners. Charlotte fell 13 points back towards the middle of the set due to a few handling and attack errors. A kill by Janell Sparks marked the final point scored by Charlotte, leaving them with 11 at the end of the set.

However, good things came out of this match for Charlotte’s Yumi Garcia. She had a total of 17 digs against the Herd, which bumped her up to second most digs in a single season, trailing first place by only two. Thomas ended the game with 10 kills, and Sofie Perrens concluded with 15 assists.

The Niners will start their final weekend of their regular season this Thursday in San Antonio, Texas, where they will take on UTSA at 7 p.m.

 

Thomas does it again

The 49ers celebrate after an amazing win. Photo by Katelynn Pennington.

Women’s soccer matched up with No. 4 seed Louisiana Tech on Friday morning at 11 a.m. for the second game in the Conference-USA championship tournament in Boca Raton, Florida. The game came down to a single point scored by none other than senior Martha Thomas in the last half of the game, resulting in another 1-0 victory for the Niners.

Charlotte took the lead offensively with a total of eight shots in the first half, leaving Louisiana Tech with only four. Despite the efforts, neither team was able to plaster a point up on the scoreboard before halftime hit.

However, it was not long into the second half before Thomas, C-USA Offensive Player of the year, worked her magic and registered a goal for Charlotte with 59:25 on the clock. Thomas launched the ball from 30-yards away on the free kick, and sent it sailing right past the Lady Techsters’ goal keeper Courtney Tompkins. For the second game in a row, Thomas was able to preform under pressure and execute the game-winning goal.

Thomas entered the game with 81 shots thus far this season, but bumped that total up to 88 following the win against Louisiana Tech. She is now trailing her sophomore record of 92 shots in a single season by only four, with one game left in the Championship tournament.

The Niners rounded out the game with a total of 13 shots on goal, and the Lady Techsters were not far behind with 11. Abby Stapleton had two impressive saves in the net this game for the Niners, while Tompkins was put to work by the 49ers offense to achieve six good saves.

Stapleton’s saves awarded Charlotte their second shutout in a row, which made her the first ever freshman goalie in the team’s history to have back to back shut outs in the Championship tournament. The Niners are now the only team in C-USA Championship history to enter the final game ranked as low as the No. 8-seed.

This win in the semifinals secured a spot for the 49ers in the final game on Sunday, where they will face North Texas, and fight for their second straight championship title in a row. This final game in Florida will be broadcast on ESPN 3 at 11 a.m.

Charlotte shuts out Rice in the C-USA quarterfinals

Senior Martha Thomas obtains possession of the ball. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

The women’s soccer team headed down to Boca Raton, Florida to meet the Rice Owls for the opening round of the Conference USA Championship Tournament on Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. The Niners were ranked No. 8 heading into the week, but after a long game, they managed to pull ahead and beat the No. 1 Seed Owls with a final score of 1-0.

This win in the quarterfinals was sweet redemption for the 49ers after falling 0-1 to Rice only a few weeks earlier at home. This was also Charlotte’s first shut out against Rice and their first win in the teams’ five total meetings. The game came down to a single goal that was scored within the last few minutes of the game by senior and C-USA Offensive player of the year, Martha Thomas.

The winning goal came about with 87:11 up on the clock. Sophomore Megan Greene obtained possession of the ball and launched it over to Thomas, who was waiting open towards the middle of the 18-yard box. As soon as Thomas got a hold of the ball, she sent it with ease right past Maya Hoyer, the C-USA Goalkeeper of the year.

The Owls tried to even the score up until the very last minute. Annie Walker took a corner kick for Rice in the last 35 seconds of the game, but she was not successful. The 49ers walked away with their first win of the tournament, and Rice headed home with their first loss in the last 12 games.

That game winning goal was lucky number 13 for Thomas, which bumped her up to tie for the program’s all-time record. Her career total goals as a Niner is now up to 46 and counting, while runner up Whitney Weinraub ender her career with 39 back in 2010.

Rice led Charlotte in shots with 17-7, and in corner kicks with 8-3. Freshman goalkeeper Abby Stapleton had a total of seven saves in the net for the Niners, and Hoyer rounded out the game with two. Both teams fought hard and fair, ending the game without a single penalty or ejection.

This win clinches a spot for Charlotte in the semifinals, where they look to defend their championship title, and take on the No. 4 ranked Louisiana Tech on Friday at 11 a.m.

 

Finally, a happy homecoming for the Niners

The 49ers celebrate after winning their first homecoming game in nail biting overtime. Photo by Chris Crews.

The 49ers rallied from a 17-point deficit Saturday night against the Blazers to bring home a thrilling 24-23 overtime win. UAB dominated the first half by scoring two touchdowns while their defense held Charlotte at zero in their initial meeting. It was not until late in the third quarter that the 49ers were able to rally back, eventually tying the game resulting in their fourth overtime play in the program’s history. Hasaan Klugh captured a career high 140 rushing yards with an impressive 68-yard passing touchdown, two rushing touchdowns and the game winning, two-point conversion catch.

Saturday night was the 49ers first overtime win since the team’s inception back in 2013. Not only was this the Niners first win of the 2017 season, it also marked their first ever homecoming win.

“We never gave up no matter what the record is, we never gave up,” Klugh said. “We approach practice every day like champions, and so I think that’s the biggest key, is preparation and approaching practice every single day as best as you can.”

UAB started the game strong on defense after they won the initial coin toss and forced Aaron McAllister to a fourth down at the UAB 34. T.L. Ford II caught an eight-yard pass from Klugh, which put him over 1000 receiving yards in his career. He is only the third 49er to achieve this accomplishment, along with Austin Duke and Trent Bostick. The Niners were third and goal when the ball was intercepted by Darious Williams at the UAB three.  As they entered the second quarter, Joel Dixon was forced to punt from their 50-yard line.

Shortly into the second quarter, the Blazers found the end zone. Chris Woolbright obtained his first interception of the season when he grabbed the ball after an attempted pass from Klugh. He moved the ball 18 yards to the Charlotte 12 where he was taken down by Charlotte’s defense. At the 13:15 minute mark, UAB quarterback A.J. Erdely completed a pass to Hayden Pittman for 10 yards resulting in a touchdown for the Blazers.

After a 15-yard penalty on Charlotte due to a personal foul by Anthony Butler, Erdely completed a 45-yard pass to Sederian Copeland at the Charlotte 7 before he was shoved out of bounds by Ed Rolle. Totaling a career best 10 tackles Saturday night, Jeff Gemmell forced a fumble on Erdely, who swiftly recovered the ball at the three-yard line. He then rushed the three yards for his seventh rushing touchdown of the season, and gave UAB a comfortable 14-0 lead as the teams hit the locker rooms for half time.

The Blazers commenced the third quarter with a field goal from the eight-yard line to create a 17-0 lead. At Charlotte’s fourth down, Arthur Hart was forced to punt from the 26-yard line where it was fumbled by Andre Wilson and recovered by Alex Highsmith for the 49ers. Charlotte opted to attempt a field goal with 3:25 left on the clock in the third quarter. After the kick was deemed good, the play was called under review, and due to a UAB personal foul, the 49ers were awarded 10 yards and a first down.  The penalty brought them just nine yards from the end zone. Klugh rushed the nine yards and pulled the score up to 17-7.

“We never got down on ourselves,” senior wide receiver Trent Bostick said. “Even though it was 17-0, we never got down on ourselves. We made the corrections we needed to make, and we went out there and executed it.”

Just after Charlotte took possession of the ball again at the 10:44 minute mark, Klugh completed a 68-yard pass to Bostick who carried it into the end zone. This was the longest pass play for the Niners this season and Bostick’s longest catch of his career.

The 49ers trailed the Blazers by three points with a little over ten and a half minutes left in the game. A timely fumble by Spencer Brown was recovered by Ben Deluca.  He drove the ball 26-yards down the field to the UAB 31. Following a Charlotte time out and an incomplete pass to Bostick, Nigel Macauley evened the score with a field goal from the six-yard line.

McAllister rushed for a loss of four yards at the UAB 37, then he recovered his own fumble at the UAB 35 and ran it in for an alleged touchdown. The play was called under review and ended up being reversed, leaving the ball at the 35-yard line.

Thanks to efforts by the team, including hurries on UAB’s quarterback from Butler and Tommy Doctor, the Blazers were kept from scoring in the last 25 minutes of the regular game. Since neither team managed to put any more points on the board, the players, coaches and fans prepared for an intense overtime battle.

UAB started their overtime drive at the Charlotte 25 where Erdely pushed his way through the Charlotte defense for a one-yard rushing touchdown. With a score of 24-17, Charlotte answered UAB’s touchdown when they gained possession of the ball. Klugh rushed 15 yards and completed a three-yard pass to Ford II at the UAB 7. He then rushed the remaining yards to make the score 24-23. The game winning call from coach Lambert was to go for two. Chris Montgomery lobbed the ball into the hands of Klugh, which gave Charlotte the extra point they needed for their triumphant victory. The team took a victory lap around the field to shake hands with all of the fans.

“They ran the ball down our throat pretty good in the first half of that overtime and I had made the decision pretty early, if we scored I was gonna go for two,” Charlotte’s head coach Lambert said. “I think they do a good job of executing that two-point play and I just felt like it was the right time to run it.”

The 49ers head into a bi-week, but will return at Old Dominion on November 4 at 3:30 p.m. where they look to get their first win against the Monarchs on ESPN 3.

The Mean Green show Charlotte no mercy

The 49ers stand together before the start of the game. Photo by Chris Crews.

Thursday night began with lots of spirit and excitement for Charlotte as the team celebrated Senior Night and recognized four of their teammates for their achievements on and off the field. However, they were unable to carry that energy throughout the game and lost 2-1 to Northern Texas in another conference match.

The Niners started out strong on the field by scoring their first and only goal of the game in the sixth minute. An assist from teammate Riley Orr gave senior Shealyn Dwyer the perfect opportunity to grab the lead for Charlotte, and to acquire her first career goal. After a foul on North Texas outside the 18-yard box, Orr took the free kick and Dwyer knocked it into the net with a header.

Not only was Dwyer’s goal the first of the game and the first of her career, but it was also Charlotte’s first ever goal against Northern Texas in the six times they’ve played each other.

However, Charlotte’s lead was shot lived when The Mean Green scored a goal of their own in the 16th minute. After an assist from Tori Phillips and a cross over from teammate Ariel Diaz, Aaliyah Nolan of North Texas sent the ball around Charlotte’s goal keeper Abby Stapleton to score her fifth goal of the season.

It looked like the game would stay tied as halftime swiftly approached, but after North Texas’ goal keeper Brooke Bradley saved a shot from Niner Sophie Sipprell, The Mean Green was able to take their own shot and gained the lead with only four seconds left on the clock. From 20-yards back, Carissa Sanders shot through the 49ers and sunk the ball unassisted into Charlotte’s net.

After 11 shots on goal and a great effort to regain the lead in the second half, Charlotte was unable to change the score, and The Mean Green walked away with another conference win. The Niners finished the game with a total of 18 shots while North Texas ended up with 12. Bradley had six saves in the net for the visiting team and Stapleton did one better with seven.

“It wasn’t happening for us in the second half tonight,” head coach John Cullen said. “Tonight, a lot of players played well as individuals but not well enough as a collective unit.”

Charlotte returns to Transamerica field on Sunday at 1 p.m. where they will play Rice in their last home game of the regular season.

The 49ers pick up another victory on the road

Teddy Chaouche, Daniel Bruce and Ryan Spaulding celebrating a win. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

The men’s soccer team took a trip down to Florida Atlantic University and put the Owls in their place Saturday night by snatching up a 3-1 victory. With impressive goals by Daniel Bruce, Teddy Chaouche and Ryan Spaulding, the Niners were able to extend their record to (5-3-3) and (2-1-2) in conference play.

The first goal of the game was not scored until the 32nd minute after two corner kick attempts by Chaouche and three shots on goal by the Niners. Bruce scored his fourth goal of the season with an assist from teammate Joe Brito.

As half time neared, it looked like the game was going to be held at 1-0 when the teams hit the bench. With only 12 seconds left in the half, Chaouche launched a free kick from 35 yards, which settled in the net and gave Charlotte a 2-0 lead.

When the teams took the field again, the Owls came back charging with a goal in the 54th minute. FAU’s own Felix Halle Smith sunk a header into Charlotte’s net with an assist from his teammate Alvaro Rodriguez which brought the score up to 2-1.

The final goal of the game, and his first one of the season, was scored by Spaulding for the Niners in the 68th minute. After an attempted shot was blocked by FAU’s goalie Julian Murillo Toro, Spaulding took the rebound and extended Charlotte’s lead to 3-1.

The 49ers ended the game with 14 shots on goal, while FAU finished with six. Throughout the evening, Toro had three saves for the Owls and Elliot Panicco settled with zero for the Niners.

By the end of the night, Chaouche had four corner kicks in the first half and rounded out the game with five after he attempted his final one in the 77th minute. Rodriguez had three corner kicks for FAU, which all came about in the second half.

Charlotte will host a top-10 ranked Louisville Cardinals at the Transamerica field on Tuesday 17 at 7 p.m for another non-conference game.

 

 

 

Charlotte falls to Old Dominion at home

#16 Fernando Garcia takes the field before Charlotte’s game against ODU. Photo by Chris Crews

After coming off a tie game against UAB on Tuesday night, Charlotte took the field Friday to play Old Dominion. Despite an early 1-0 lead in the first half, the 49ers (3-3-3, C-USA 1-1-2) lost 2-1 to the Monarchs (7-1-2, C-USA 4-0-0) at home.

Charlotte scored their first and only goal of the game in the first period just inside the sixth-minute. With a couple of assists from teammates Zhuvonte Wilson and Daniel Bruce, freshman forward Fernado Garcia was able to score his second goal as a 49er.

Carlotte kept the Monarchs at bay for the rest of the first period, blocking them from making a single shot on goal. The Niners rounded out the period with six shots on goal and tied ODU with seven fouls.

Both teams entered the second period with a lot of energy, but it ultimately belonged to the Monarchs. The first yellow card of the game was pulled in the 56th minute on Garett Walke of ODU, but that did not stop the Monarchs. They scored their first goal to tie the game shortly after, in the 60th minute.

Following a few consecutive fouls on ODU, Bruce attempted a penalty kick, which would have resulted in the Niners taking the lead back. However, the ball went sailing over the net leaving the score tied at 1-1. Two minutes later in the 80th minute, Max Wilschrey scored on a penalty shot for the Monarchs, which broke the tie and gave them the lead for the rest of the game.

The second and last yellow card of the game was pulled on ODU for player Hans Kroschwitz in the 81st minute. After a few last-ditch-effort shots by Charlotte, their night ended in a disappointing defeat.

The Niners concluded the game with 17 shots on goal, while the Monarchs only had three. ODU goalie Mertcan Akar had a total of nine saves throughout both periods, and 49er Elliot Panicco rounded the game out with two. Overall it was a tough night for the Niners in only their third loss of season.

“We have no choice,” head coach Kevin Langan said after the game. “We just gotta come in tomorrow and work.”

Charlotte looks to even the score when they host the Radford Highlanders at the Transamerica Field on Tuesday Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. in another non-conference game.

 

34: The number to look out for

 

Jeff Gemmell snags the ball after a play during the N.C. A&T game. Photo by Chris Crews

The 2017 season has been a dream come true for Jeff Gemmell. After finding success in his new position and becoming a new leader for the 49ers, number 34 is definitely one to get familiar with.

The spring game this past April was Charlotte’s first time hitting the field without all of the 2017 seniors that Gemmell had known and work with for the past two years. Since he played throughout the 2016 season, the redshirt sophomore got the chance to learn and grow with them.

“It was definitely different because up until that point, those guys had always been around, and not having them there was just a little bit different,” Gemmell said. “I won’t say it was bad, I won’t say it was good, you know it was just a new experience.”

One of Gemmell’s biggest influences from the 2017 class was senior linebacker Nick Cook. Cook finished off his career on the field by setting a 49er record for the number of solo tackles in a single game and number of tackles in an FBS game. Though he graduated last year from the program, Cook is still on staff working with the players on strength and conditioning.

“I’ll go down there and say, ‘hey man can you give me some tips on how you prepare for game week?’ or ‘hey man can you, you know, tell me how you analyze this film, how you break down this film?’ It’s definitely a big key for me having him there. He helps me out a lot,” Gemmell said.

Though Cook is still around in the fieldhouse and ready to help, he is not the only thing that has played a factor in Gemmell’s success so far this season.

“This summer I really just worked on my flexibility, worked on my strength and conditioning well, really focused on film study too,” Gemmell said.

He spent the 2016 season playing outside linebacker, but this fall he made the switch and s tarted as an inside linebacker.

“I’ve played football ever since I was six years old and I’ve never, I’ve played middle linebacker maybe one time throughout that time,” Gemmell said.

There is a lot to learn when making the switch from the outside to the inside of the defensive lineup, and Gemmell realized all of the work it would take to be a dependable teammate.

“Being in the middle of the defense you kind of have to know every moving part. I know what everybody on our defense does now compared to last year where I was really just focused on what I was doing,” Gemmell added.

Although he played in every game last season, he still hadn’t recorded his first career start as a 49er. That all changed in the season opener at Eastern Michigan.

“I’ve been thinking, I’ve been thinking and dreaming about that, praying for that my whole life and it finally came to existence this year and it was just, [I] couldn’t be more blessed,” Gemmell said.

He was one point away from tripling his record tackles in a single game (five vs Elon) by grabbing 14 in his first start at EMU.

“I can’t give any, any glory to anyone but God honestly, that’s really the only reason,” Gemmell said.

After only four starts for the 49ers, Gemmell understands the pressure and expectations of being out on the field with the other members of the Charlotte defense. He has found his niche on the team, and works hard every week to be someone his teammates can count on.

“I’m a guy who likes to lead through his actions. On the field I think playing middle linebacker, and playing next to Karrington, I feel like I have a responsibility to my teammates to kind of fulfill that leadership role,” Gemmell said.

Gemmell prefers to lead by his action, not his voice.

“I haven’t always been a big vocal guy, but I’m a guy who will show up to work every single day, and lead through my actions,” Gemmell said.

As he continues to put in work on and off the field in his second season, Gemmell has high hopes for the football program throughout the rest of his college career. He knows firsthand the hard work that he and his teammates put in, and he believes that it will all pay off.

“I think, you know, as the next few years come upon us, one of my main goals is just to get to a bowl game, win a conference championship, you know,” Gemmell said. “Coach Lamberts done a great job with us as a team and I feel like we, we owe it to him and all of our fans, to go out there and be a successful program.”

With about two-thirds of the season left, the 49ers still have a decent number of games to play. Gemmell is not one to look too far past the weekend that lies ahead of him because he likes to focus all of his energy on the next game.

The linebacker is looking forward to a game however, not for a specific reason, but for a feeling.

“If I had to pick one game, I’d probably say Southern Miss, because we went down there last year, it was definitely a good experience last year going down there and beating those guys,” Gemmell said. “Definitely felt successful when we went down there, so I’m trying to, you know, I’m ready for that feeling again.”

Charlotte Volleyball Shuts Down UAB with a 3-1 Win

Senior Janell Sparks sets up for a kill. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

The 49ers walked away with a 3-1 victory in Alabama when they played against the UAB Blazers Friday night. The Niners are now 5-0 in on the road matches this season and 2-1 in conference play.

Charlotte and UAB started out the first set pretty even until Charlotte broke away from a 10-10 tie on account of a bad set by the Blazers. The 49ers stayed ahead for the rest of the set, and thanks to a couple of kills from senior Janell Sparks, the game ended it at 25-19.

Set two started out similar to the first one, and both teams stayed neck and neck until a service error from the Blazers set the Niners off on a little hot streak.

The 49ers gained five points in a row due to some errors by UAB and a kill from Katria Stewart. Charlotte was able to hold UAB at 16 while two kills by Sparks and an attack error by the Blazers bumped the 49ers up to 25 points.

Charlotte was looking to sweep the match, and entered the third set with a lot of energy. However, they were not able to hold off the Blazers who kept the score as close as they could until the end.

An attack error by UAB tied the game at 25-25, however, a ball handling error by Yumi Garcia and an attack error by Stewart gave the Blazers their only set win at 28-26.

The 49ers managed to end the match in the fourth set with a 25-21 win. They started the game out strong, and a service error by the Blazers bumped the score up to 17-9 before UAB could gain another point. The Blazers came back towards the end, but due to an error and another deadly kill by Sparks, Charlotte gained the win.

Sparks led the team in kills with 19, and Tatyana Thomas contributed an impressive 11 to Charlotte’s total of 39 for this match.

Mackenzie Reaume and Sofie Perrens tied in the number of assists with 20, and Garcia had the highest number of digs with 18. Sydney Rowan contributed a close 17 digs during the match, along with aces in the first and final sets.

The Niners head down south to play against Florida Atlantic who is 1-1 so far in conference play. The match will start on Sunday at 12:00 p.m. and round off Charlotte’s weekend on the road.

Charlotte volleyball serves up 11th straight victory

Tatyana Thomas serves during a match. Photo by Leysha Caraballo

Charlotte volleyball hosted The Herd at the Dale F. Halton Arena Friday night where the 49ers served up a 3-1 victory. Marshall had won six of the last seven match-ups against Charlotte, but the Niners were not intimidated when they hit the court.

Charlotte entered the match with a 10-game win streak, looking to add another one onto their record-breaking season. They bumped up their overall to 14-3 so far in 2017, and are 1-0 in conference play.

Both teams started set one off strong and stayed within a few points of each other. Finally, Charlotte had Marshall stuck at 19 for set point, but the Herd rallied back and was able to dig up three more points before Charlotte finished off the first set at 25-22.

Although Charlotte had captured the first set win, the second one belonged to The Herd. They kept the Niners trailing about two to three points behind for the whole set until Marshall sealed it at 25-19.

With the teams tied at one match each, the third frame began with a tight contest. The teams stayed tied for a while until Charlotte pulled ahead by a few points. The teams were tied yet again at 23-23 until an attack error from Marshall and an ace served up by senior Tatyana Thomas assisted the Niners in capturing their second set.

It all came down to the final point to determine the fourth set. The Herd and the 49ers were tied at 24-24 and played that close until Charlotte pulled ahead 27-26. When sophomore Mackenzie Reaume got up to serve, there was a lot of energy and noise all throughout the arena. An attack error by Marshall ended the set at 28-26, and ended the game with a 3-1 victory for the 49ers.

Reaume dominated the assists with 28, and sophomore Yumi Garcia had the highest number of digs for the night with 16. Freshman teammate Sydney Rowan was not far behind with an impressive 14. The entire team had a successful night, but Thomas was definitely the star of the game.

“Yeah, me and Mackenzie were just connecting, I don’t know, on the floor, like the energy and the crowd, I mean I had no choice but to kill it,” Thomas said.

Thomas had 16 kills, seven aces and two blocks throughout the course of the evening. She was in the bleachers signing autographs and taking pictures with the fans following the Niner’s victory.

“This team is about being together,” Head coach Karen Weatherington said. “And they have a word of the day, and that word was ‘dub’ and they just kept putting it out there because they want to win.”

Charlotte will continue conference play when they host Western Kentucky on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Halton Arena. The team is looking to continue their win streak to 12 games and to start 2-0 in conference.

 

Haley Wiseman is Pitch Perfect

Haley Wiseman delivering a pitch to the plate. Photo by Katelynn Pennington

On Friday, Feb. 24 at 2:30 p.m., history was made at the D.L. Phillips Softball Complex. It wasn’t the highest scoring game by the Charlotte 49ers, nor was it the most intense softball game held in the complex. It was, however,  a huge day for junior pitcher, Haley Wiseman. Not only did she throw a no-hitter against Robert Morris on that sunny afternoon, but she also threw Charlotte’s first perfect game since the 1998 season.

Haley is originally from Winter Haven, Florida and has had her fair share of success before she ever put on the Charlotte jersey. At Lake Region High School, Wiseman was voted pitcher of the year her junior and senior years, she was voted the 2015 Defensive MVP at Barry University and she was also voted 2015 Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year. She has been playing softball since she was only 8 years old.

“One of my favorite softball memories over the years is getting to pitch to my dad from when I was eight until now,” Wiseman said. “We had a lot of good memories at tournaments all over the country and spent countless hours in the bullpen together.”

The 49er started off her softball days in a rec league, but then worked her way  into travel ball a short while after. When she was 9, she started pitching with coach Mike Littlejohn, whom she stays in touch with to this day. Although she did not have a specific role model in softball when growing up, the pitcher explained that “all of my past teammates and coaches have inspired and helped me get to where I am today.”

All of those influences led her to join the 49ers for her sophomore year of college.

As a sophomore, she started 19 games in the circle for the Niners, and she completed 15 of them. In those 15 games, she struck out a total of 154 batters, the fourth most in the C-USA. She only allowed 93 hits the entire season, which was the sixth best in C-USA.

“I think a major improvement I have made since I have been at UNCC is my physical strength and conditioning.” Haley said. “We all work really hard in the weight room every week in season and in the off season of softball.”

All of her hard work in the weight room and during practice really shows when she is in the circle pitching. Her stats so far this season are 11-7, with an eight-game win streak starting on Feb. 15 and ending on March 3.

The game she pitched against Robert Morris was the first no-hitter since former 49er Lexi Betancourt kept Elon from getting a single hit in 2015, and ended that game at 3-0. The last perfect game Charlotte saw was pitched by Sherry Olekson back in 1998 against Youngstown State. Wiseman is only the fourth woman to pitch a perfect game for Charlotte, the other two being Brooks Bower in 1997 and Wendy Stratton back in 1990. Wiseman realized she was on her way to a perfect game when she had one out in the last inning. She said that she “just tried to keep throwing how (she) had been the whole game.”

Wiseman is a great team player and believed that her teammates are the ones who helped her make it through the five innings. When asked about Charlotte’s performance as a whole, the Niner said, “My teammates really kept the upbeat environment in the dugout and kept the momentum the whole game by scoring 11 runs, which made it possible for me to perform successfully as well.”

The pitcher felt in command the entire game, and was not nervous during a single play because her fellow 49ers were hitting the ball and keeping the Colonials at bay. Charlotte scored three runs in the first inning, four runs in the second, and three more runs in the third, so she felt there was no need to worry.

Following the dominating performance against Robert Morris, Wiseman pitched three more victorious games for Charlotte, but said “I don’t think (the perfect) game has really influenced me since.”

“I just focus every game on taking one pitch at a time, and taking the confidence gained that game into the next, as well as making improvements each game,” Wiseman said.

She pitches every game like she would any other, and that is one of the keys to her success.

The day will remain in the history books of the Charlotte 49ers softball program forever. When Wiseman was asked to describe Feb. 24 in one word, she choose “exhilarating.”