The Charlotte volleyball team took down the Florida International University (FIU) Panthers 3-2 on Friday, Nov. 4, in Miami. The victory brought the Green and White to 3-8 in Conference-USA (C-USA) matches and broke a four-week losing streak for the 49ers.
A strong performance by junior Emani' Foster played a vital role in the match, becoming the 20th to hit the 1000 career kill mark with the 49ers.
What a monumental night in Miami! Emani' puts down her 1,000th career kill, Coach K wins her 100th and we pick up a huge 3-2 road win at FIU! Another big one coming up Sunday at noon taking on Florida Atlantic! #GoldStandard https://t.co/FEW2iTnx0a— Charlotte Volleyball (@CharlotteWVB) November 5, 2022
The win gives Charlotte their 100th victory with Head Coach Karen Weatherington at the helm.
The 49ers performed better in the first half of the set, scoring five straight points early to put them up 6-3 over FIU. However, the Panthers' consistency with five separate streaks of three to four points in a row proved more effective in bringing FIU a 25-22 win.
Part of the Panthers' turnaround came from Athina Dimitriadis and Sarah Nading, earning five kills, four of which came in the last third of the set. Another component was the reliability of their forces, as FIU made only five errors to Charlotte's seven.
For the 49ers, Foster highlighted the set with six kills, more than any other player on the team. Redshirt sophomore Jessica Ricks followed with four.
Charlotte stood above the Panthers in the second set, winning with a significant nine-point lead.
A total of ten errors by FIU to Charlotte's six gave the 49ers free points throughout the match. However, the success found by Ricks, who scored four, freshman Camilla Ferrari, who scored three and the three by senior Amani McArthur were essential to Charlotte's set two victory.
The 49ers brought it to a close with five consecutive points, taking the 25-16 set win.
In the third set, a close fight left Charlotte on top 25-21, giving them the match lead 2-1 over the Panthers.
There was never a time that either team looked to run away with the match. The Floridian crew could make a lead of two or more points once during the set; it quickly evaporated. Neither could the 49ers, who could not find a substantial advantage until the end. Charlotte scored three points consecutively four times during the set, which helped them carry the third.
The Panthers led a no-holds-barred offense in the fourth set, pacifying Charlotte's momentum with a 25-14 showing.
Charlotte was ahead a few brief times to start the set, but the Panthers' forces, most notably Kira Givans, bore their claws. After entering as a substitute when the set sat even at 1-1, Givans made nine kills to comprise a third of FIU's entire points.
In a shortened fifth set, the 49ers prevailed for the third and final time of the evening with a 15-12 win that gave them the match.
Charlotte grew an 11-6 lead after a capable first half of the set. The Panthers closed the gap in the second half, but FIU's higher volume of errors and five points scored by Foster made the difference.
Although the likes of Foster and McArthur get attention for their prowess, the notable work done by Ricks shows a promising future for the 49ers. Ricks outscored all except Foster on the court. As Foster leads the 49ers into the 2023 season and her senior year, players like Ricks will be a welcome addition to the lineup.
Charlotte's first victory in three weeks comes at a critical time. The 49ers sit tied for eighth in conference standings, just eligible for championship contention. If Charlotte can continue performances like this in the last three matches of the season, it will help to gain a more sure opportunity to fight for the C-USA title.
Charlotte remains in Florida to fight the FAU in Boca Raton, Fla., at noon on Sunday, Nov. 6. Viewers can watch the match on CUSA.tv.