The 49ers won their third consecutive conference match with a 3-0 (25-12, 27-25, 25-22) victory against the UTEP Miners. The win moves the 49ers to 5-8 in conference play and 16-14 overall.
“Tonight was about preparation,” said Charlotte Head Coach Karen Weatherington. “We have been really doing a great job preparing for the little things that we have to do in each match. It really came together well.”
During the match, senior libero Yumi Garcia made 13 digs to give her 699 digs this season. This mark broke the Conference USA single-season digs record.
“Can you ever say enough about Yumi,” said Weatherington. “She has fundamentally set the standard for a high-level libero. She’s going to be one of the greats to ever step on this floor.”
Garcia expressed her emotions and excitement about accomplishing one of her final goals at Charlotte after the match.
“When I got here, I set some personal goals,” said Garcia. “That was the only one that I hadn’t broken yet. I’m not going to lie, I cried.”
Charlotte got out to a quick start in the first set by claiming a 14-7 lead behind five UTEP errors and kills from Jocelyn Stoner, Lana Strejcek, Sydney Rowan, and Molly Shaw. Trailing by seven, UTEP Head Coach Ben Wallis called a timeout to regroup.
Out of the timeout break, the 49ers continued to fire on all cylinders on both offense and defense. Fueled by several Miners’ errors and a balanced offensive attack, the 49ers closed the set out on an 11-5 run to take the set 25-12.
The Miners regrouped during the break and aggressively initiated their offense. Mallory Yost and Cheyenne Jones led the Miners to a 13-7 lead with five and three kills, respectively. The six-point deficit prompted Weatherington to call a timeout.
Rowan recorded four consecutive kills after the timeout break to help the 49ers rally and trim their deficit to 13-12. Rowan’s kills urged the Miners to use another timeout.
Charlotte and UTEP fought back and forth throughout the rest of the set, but the 49ers were able to pull away late to secure a 27-25 second-set victory.
The 49ers and UTEP went back-and-forth during the third set as Shaw and Rowan guided the 49ers offense while Strejcek and Garcia anchored the defense. The 49ers kept their composure in the final set, only recording nine errors in comparison to the Miners’ thirteen. The Miners could not overcome their errors late in the set, as the 49ers took the third set 25-22.
“I’m really proud of the unit and group effort tonight,” said Weatherington.
Charlotte looks to conclude the regular season with a senior-night win on Saturday, Nov. 16, against FAU. The 49ers will honor the careers of the senior players who have dedicated their time and effort to the program in their final home volleyball game.
“They are my first class all the way through, and I told them that I was going to be emotional this weekend. I told them if they look at me and see tears in my eyes, it’s because they’ve done everything for this program,” said Weatherington emotionally. “They’re leaving a legacy of success.”