The No. 12 49ers tied 1-1 with the No. 17 Wildcats in a double-overtime defensive battle. This game marks the 49ers’ second tie of the week and the season.
“I was proud of us more today how we took on board the information against West Virginia. But, I thought we had the weapons, and we do have the weapons, to really hurt this team,” said 49ers Head Coach Kevin Langan.
Early in the first half, both defenses suffocated the opposing team’s offense. Both defenses were able to hold the opposing offenses to zero shot attempts through the 25th minute of play.
“I thought we defended really well today,” said Langan.
Midway through the first half, the 49ers offense orchestrated a drive deep into Wildcat territory that had legitimate scoring potential. As a result, a Wildcat defender committed a hard foul to prohibit the drive from going any further, resulting in a 49er penalty kick.
Senior midfielder Teddy Chaouche easily scored off the penalty kick, giving the 49ers a one-point advantage.
“Teddy has shown in practice he is the best we’ve got in PK’s,” said Langan. “He can go three or four different PK’s, so I just said [to him] know where you’re going before the game, [and] just trust yourself.”
The 49ers’ defense held the Wildcats scoreless through the first half, giving them a 1-0 advantage going into the second half.
The Charlotte roster, down several players due to injury and cramps from the high temperature of the game, led to many 49ers seeing their first minutes of action this season. Redshirt sophomore Hunter Omli was one of the players given that opportunity, and he quickly capitalized on it by weaving through the teeth of the Wildcat defense and taking a shot early in the second half. But Wildcats goalie Enrique Facusse made an acrobatic save to keep Omli’s shot out of the goal.
“People had to fill in roles that they weren’t used to,” said Langan. “Players who have not played as much had to play in the heat which got to them a little bit. But we went really deep tonight, and I was really proud of the young ones who came in; I thought they played incredible.”
Wildcats forward Kalil ElMedkhar caught the 49er defense off guard and placed a shot just out of the reach of Elliot Pannico and into the goal in the 59th minute of action. Both teams continued to conduct drives deep into the opposing team’s territory, but the physicality and discipline of the defenses held each time. As a result, the score at the end of regulation was tied 1-1.
Early in the first overtime period, the 49ers offense got just past the Wildcat defense with a shot opportunity to seal the win, but the shot sailed over the crossbar. For the remainder of the first and second overtime periods, both offenses made great plays in the midfield but were stopped short of scoring by tenacious defense and goalkeeping.
The 49ers continue conference play on Saturday, Sept. 21 in Birmingham, AL against the UAB Blazers at 8 p.m.