Charlotte volleyball lost to visiting No. 22 Rice 3-2 (23-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 11-15) on Sunday, Oct. 16. After forcing a fifth set, the Owls proved too much for Charlotte, narrowing out a victory. Emani' Foster continued her high-level performance at the net in October as she led the team with 25 kills.
With their loss to the Owls, the 49ers move to 8-11 on the season and have their two-game win streak snapped. Rice is now 17-2 in the regular season and remains undefeated in conference play through seven games.
First set (23-25)
Charlotte started hot against their formidable opponent, with six unanswered points, three of which came from Annika Wetterstrom's aces. Later in the set, Rice answered with five straight points to tie the set up at 12.
The first set was neck and neck following that. Charlotte took the lead a few times before the end of the set. However, Rice's 5-2 run gave them the set win 25-23.
Second set (25-23)
Charlotte was able to get a lead early, 13-8. This lead was due in part to a 7-1 run featuring kills from Camilla Ferrari, Amani McArthur and Foster.
Rice quickly stopped the deficit by going on a six-point run to gain the lead, 15-14. Later in the set, Rice held to their advantage at 23-21. However, Charlotte rallied to score four straight to close out the set 25-23.
Third set (19-25)
The third set again showed the match's intensity as both teams were tied at 14. Rice then went on a three-point swing that gave them enough of a blanket to beat Charlotte in the third 25-19.
Fourth set (25-22)
Once again, Charlotte would not be silenced as they rallied back in another set. Rice was able to get control of the game early with a 16-12 lead.
However, an incredible 5-1-point turnaround tied the game at 17. Charlotte went on another rampage with a five-point run. Kills by McArthur, Jessica Ricks, and Foster were highlighted in the run, giving Charlotte a 23-19 lead. Charlotte closed out the set 25-22 with a kill from Camyrn Upshaw.
Fifth set (11-15)
Like the sets beforehand, the fifth set was competitive and down to the wire. Charlotte got ahead 7-5, but Rice tied it at 11.
The 49ers ran out of gas as Rice went on a four-point run to close out the set 15-11. This gave Charlotte the 3-2 loss, narrowly falling to a challenging team.
"We played incredibly good volleyball today. I am so proud of the road warrior mentality we displayed this weekend. We played clean and stayed aggressive, never backing down from a top-25 team," said Head Coach Karen Weatherington. "We loved the support on the road from our volleyball alumna, family and friends. Niner Nation showed up for us and stated that we made them proud".
A look at the stats
Charlotte as a team performed well at hitting as they outhit Rice .273 to .260. Charlotte also had more blocks with a 12-5 advantage.
Foster and McArthur again performed at a high level at the net, as they had 25 and 13 kills, respectively. Foster's 25 kills marks her fourth straight match with 20+. This ties her longest streak, which she set earlier in the season.
Sophie Whalen led the team in digs with 16, and Wetterstrom once again dealt a high number of assists with 33.
Homecoming weekend action
Charlotte is back in Halton Arena this weekend after traveling from Texas. They take on No. 23 Western Kentucky University on Friday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m. Later, they take on the University of Texas at El Paso on Sunday, Oct. 23, at 1 p.m. Both games will be streaming on ESPN Plus.