After a heartbreaking loss Friday night to Florida Atlantic, Charlotte bounced back with a 3-1 win over FIU on Sunday. This weekend's victory marks the 49ers' first conference win of the season.
"Conference USA is a fight-it-out league. Everyone had these expectations of not knowing what the conference is going to be like," said head coach Karen Weatherington.
The 49ers ended their losing skid of six games, getting back in the win column to move to 7-10 on the season, while the Panthers fell to 5-10.
Set one (25-13)
Charlotte jumped out to an 8-2 lead to start the opening set. However, FIU battled back to narrow their deficit to 16-12.
Charlotte answered with eight straight points to take a strong 24-12 lead. Following an FIU kill, a service error gave the 49ers the first set 25-13.
Set two (25-22)
The Panthers took the hard-fought back-and-forth second set 25-22.
The set opened up evenly, remaining tied at 13-13 before the Panthers broke away from the 49ers to go up 21-17. Charlotte's comeback effort was unsuccessful, as they fell 25-22.
Set three (25-19)
The 49ers reclaimed the set lead 2-1 after taking a commanding 25-19 win in the third set.
Charlotte seized a 2-0 lead on a service ace by Annika Wetterstrom, and the 49ers held onto the lead, never trailing in the set.
Emani' Foster closed out the set with a kill to give Charlotte set three 25-19.
Set four (25-22)
With the Panthers on the ropes, Charlotte achieved a 3-1 match victory with a 25-22 set four win.
The 49ers jumped out to a 10-4 lead early, but the Panthers wouldn't go down without a fight, battling back to tie the set at 21-21, hoping to force a fifth.
Foster got a kill to retake the lead. Then, two errors by FIU allowed the 49ers to take the 25-22 win.
"Our game-changers today were Amani McArthur and Jessica Ricks. Emani' Foster always plays at that level and really carries a big load, but those two were the impact we needed," said Weatherington.
McArthur's performance that caught Weatherington's eye was backed by 13 kills while playing strong defensively at the net. This marks McArthur's second straight 13-kill match and again ties her personal second-best for kills in a game.
Ricks put up 12 kills for the 49ers. Her 12 kills came from an efficient hitting percentage of .579 on the day.
Foster performed at a high level against FIU. With her 27-kill performance in the Charlotte victory against the Panthers, she falls one short of her personal best, which she set in early September. This marks her eighth match with 20+ kills this season.
Charlotte travels to San Antonio, Texas, to play the UTSA Roadrunners Friday night, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m.
The 49ers will pursue their second conference win of the season as they fight for their second-ever win over UTSA. In their 14-year history, these two teams have faced off eight times, with Charlotte picking up the win once, which came in 2017.