Charlotte/NT WS Preview

Charlotte's Laura Cate Westerbeek fights for ball control in a game against Coastal Carolina.

The Charlotte 49ers women's soccer team travels to Denton, Texas, to face the University of North Texas on Thursday, Sept. 15, following a 3-3 tie against Gardner-Webb on Sunday.

Charlotte has a 1-4-2 overall record and is currently ranked No. 10 in the C-USA. North Texas is ahead with a 4-3-1 record and is ranked No. 3 in the C-USA.  

Players to watch:

On Sept. 6, North Texas forward Madi Drenowatz was named Offensive Player of the Week by C-USA after scoring three total goals over their two previous matches. In addition, she has either scored or assisted in every matchup this season.  

Drenowatz is second on North Texas for most goals scored with five, while Olivia Klien has six. Klein is tied with Drenowatz for the lead in points, having 14. Klein plays forward as a graduate student for North Texas. She is also leading in shot percentage with 33%. 

On Tuesday, Charlotte's Forward and Midfielder Bailey Manfredi was named Offensive Player of the Week by C-USA. She's the first Niner to win a weekly award from Conference USA since Abby Stapleton took home Goalkeeper of the Week honors during the 2020-21 season. She's also the first freshman to earn a weekly award since Julia Patrum was named Co-Offensive Player of the Week in 2019.  

"I was really happy to see Bailey, one of our freshmen, step up and put one away for us. We needed some players to step up," said Head Coach Brandi Fontaine.  

Manfredi is second on the Charlotte team with five points after her endeavors last week. She had a breakthrough week scoring a pair of goals and adding an assist in a win and a draw. The 49ers matchup against Coastal Carolina ended with a win for Charlotte 2-1, with goals scored by Manfredi and Tash Hudson.  

Hudson has scored four goals in the six matches she's played, which amounts to 60% of the overall goals for the team. She also leads the team in points with eight overall this season.  

Keys to a Niner victory:

Charlotte's offense is still lacking when it comes to their shooting. They average about 9.29 shots per game, placing them at No. 259 in the NCAA, and only 4.57 shots per game, putting them at No. 236.  

"It's been hard for us to come by goals lately," said Fontaine.

The 49er's .492 shot accuracy is No. 106 in the NCAA. This stat shows their accuracy isn't the issue they have been having; it has been getting shots off. Taking more shots against North Texas could prove monumental to a win.

Charlotte's defense has to be strong if they want a victory. With a formidable obstacle ahead, they have their work put out for them. North Texas averages 20.12 shots per game, No. 16 in the NCAA, and 23 goals on the year, putting them 10th. 

The 49ers are lacking support from their fellow teammates right now. If players step up to help with assists and goals, the team could be in better shape for the rest of the season.  

Matchup history:

The opposition between the 49ers and the Eagles dates back to 2013. From 2013 to 2021, they've faced off a total of eight times. Charlotte only won one contest against North Texas, which came in their most recent matchup in April 2021, with a score of 1-0.  

Gameday:

North Texas will host Charlotte in Denton, Texas. The match will take place on Sept. 15 at 8 p.m. You can watch this event live on ESPN+. 

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