Last summer, there were legitimate concerns when it came to college sports occurring during the 2020-21 school year. With the ongoing pandemic and the world-changing daily, rumors and speculation about the possibilities of a season became normal.
Despite the doubts, athletics went on for the Charlotte 49ers, and teams have produced memorable moments all year long.
As the school year nears its end, the Niner Times Sports staff looks back on the first pandemic sports year with the top-ten moments. The moments have been voted on the by the staff.
#10- Coach Kevin Langan wins 100th game
Charlotte men's soccer coach Kevin Langan has become a household name and has helped lead the 49ers men's soccer team to success since his arrival in 2012. The 49ers have only missed the NCAA tournament once, and they have added another trip to the big dance in 2021. Langan won his 100th game as head coach when his team beat UAB by 3-0 on March 13. All of the coach's wins have come as the head coach of Charlotte.
#9- Charlotte baseball opening up Atrium Health Ballpark
Charlotte baseball had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity back on March 23. The team opened up the brand new Atrium Health Ballpark in Kannapolis, NC, the home of the minor league Kannapolis Cannonballers. The stadium had gone unused to this point due to the pandemic. Charlotte and Appalachian State played the first-ever game in the stadium. The 49ers dominated en route to a 15-4 win.
#8- Ben DeLuca breaking the school record in tackles
Even though Covid-19 related issues plagued charlotte football's season, Ben DeLuca brought a memorable moment for the program. As a redshirt senior, DeLuca picked up his 307th tackle against Western Kentucky on December 6. The tackle broke the previous record of 306 set by Jeff Gemmell the year before. DeLuca has gone to sign as an undrafted free agent with the Los Angeles Chargers.
#7- Charlotte volleyball's historic season
Charlotte volleyball had one of its best seasons in recent memory, making a run in the Conference USA Championships. In a shortened season that was supposed to happen in the fall, the 49ers went 12-4 in the regular season with a signature win against Clemson. With seven straight wins to end the year, the team went onto to beat UAB, 3-2, in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Championships.
#6- Charlotte baseball earning highest ranking in history
Charlotte baseball started off the season with a 6-0 record, and that impressive play was a sign for what was to come. The 49ers battled through losses here and there, along with a big win at home against #9 Tennessee, 9-0. The team finally entered the national rankings on April 12 after starting Conference USA play with an 11-1 record. D1Baseball ranked Charlotte at #21. Since that ranking, the team made it to #15 in the D1Baseball poll on April 26, and then the team went on to beat North Carolina the next day, 4-1.
#5- Charlotte women's soccer makes surprise run
Charlotte's women's soccer team had a surprise run in the C-USA tournament after an up and down season. The 49ers started the season 1-3 and had trouble closing games. They went on a 3-3 run in the last six games and dropped their last game of the year to Western Kentucky. However, Charlotte beat North Texas (1-0) and Western Kentucky (2-0) to make the C-USA finals. They would go on to lose to Rice, 0-2.
#4- Charlotte men's soccer makes 15th NCAA Tournament
The Charlotte men's soccer team knows how to win. In a pandemic world, that didn't change. After a rough start where they started 0-2-1, they beat #7 Kentucky 2-1 in overtime. The 49ers won five straight games and didn't allow a goal. Despite not winning the C-USA Championship, #14 Charlotte earned an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament.
#3- Rocio Safont breaking the record for all-time singles wins
Safont has impacted Charlotte women's tennis since she stepped foot on campus four years ago. This year all of her hard work paid off as she broke the school record for singles wins with her 79th on March 20 against Charleston Southern. Safont beat the Buccaneers' Khyanna Singh 6-2, 6-3. The win also helped her team pick up the win.
#2- Charlotte cross country makes history at NCAA Tournament
For the first time in school history, Charlotte's men's cross country team made the NCAA Tournament. The team had their season in the fall and won the Conference USA Championship on October 31. In addition, the team won the Mountains to Sea Open at Appalachian State at their first meet. Despite having a fall season, the NCAA Championships were held in the spring. The 49ers earned a bid to the tournament that was held on March 15. They placed 28th out of 30th teams. Nick Scudder led the team with a 76th place finish.
#1- Octavia Jett-Wilson's monster week
Many players impacted Charlotte's women's basketball team in 2020-21, but Jett-Wilson had one of the most notable weeks in recent memory for a Charlotte player. She averaged 38.0 points and 11.0 rebounds per game on the week of Feb. 10-13. She surpassed 1,000 career points and earned a slew of awards, winning ESPN National Player of the Week, named to the NCAA Starting Five, earned C-USA Player of the Week, and other awards.