Charlotte lost to the FAU Owls 3-2 (20-25, 27-25, 25-21, 18-25, 13-15) on the 49ers’ senior night. The loss moves the 49ers to 16-15 overall and 5-9 in conference play.
Before the game, Charlotte honored seniors Taylor Berg, Yumi Garcia, Sofie Perrens, Molly Shaw and Jocelyn Stoner. The 2019-2020 Charlotte senior class closed their final regular season out with excellent individual performances as Garcia broke the 49ers’ all-time career dig mark, Berg and Perrens recorded 13 digs, Shaw tallied seven kills and Stoner made 12 kills.
“To see the seniors go out and have a great match...just showed a lot of folks of what we're capable of,” said Head Coach Karen Weatherington. “I thought everyone had a great performance today. Sometimes the ball just falls where it falls.”
The 49ers and Owls battled back and forth in the first set. The Owls’ offensive duo of Jordan Yauch and Massiel Matos fueled FAU with four kills each while the 49ers were led by Stoner and Sydney Rowan with four and three kills, respectively. With the set tied late at 17-17, Zuri Smith propelled the Owls on a 4-1 run to put FAU up 22-18. The run urged Weatherington to call a timeout. The Owls closed the set out on another 4-1 run to claim a 25-20 first set victory.
In the second set, Charlotte jumped out to a quick 11-6 lead as Rowan registered three kills while Nalani Lyde and Shaw each recorded two kills. However, Smith made three kills as the Owls quickly came back to tie the score at 12-12. The Owls and 49ers battled back and forth throughout the remainder of the set, but the 49ers prevailed as Stoner and Rowan made three and two kills respectively after the Owls tied the game at 12-12 to claim a 27-25 second-set win.
Charlotte and FAU played a highly contested game throughout the early part of the first set. With the set tied at 10-10, the 49ers went on a 7-2 run to claim a five-point lead late in the third set. Matos tried to guide FAU back into the game and nearly did, but the 49ers were able to ward off the Owls’ comeback attempt en route to a 25-21 third-set win.
FAU never trailed during the fourth set. The Owls’ offense put on a clinic in the fourth set as Sydney Nemtuda, Smith, Cailea Gibbs and Matos tallied six, five, four and three kills, respectively. The Owls went on to take the 25-18 to send the match into a fifth set.
Rowan powered the 49ers to an early 11-6 fifth set lead with five kills. However, Smith helped quickly trim the 49ers lead as she tallied four kills during a 6-1 run that tied the set at 12-12. The Owls’ Kennedy Muckleroy made two crucial kills as FAU closed the set on a 3-1 run to claim a 15-13 fifth-set victory.
“FAU is always a battle of wills,” said Weatherington. “They are a great team. We mirror each other.”
Garcia and Strejcek anchored the 49ers defense throughout the game. Garcia finished with 26 digs while Strejcek tallied 11 blocks.
At the end of the match, Weatherington expressed her gratitude and affection for the 2019-2020 senior class members.
“There are 68 wins and a 3.5 average GPA between the five of them,” said Weatherington. “You couldn’t ask for anything more for someone to start a foundation of success. They built a program that we can stand on and be proud of.”