This past weekend, the Charlotte 49ers volleyball team dropped both games to the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (MTSU) in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This weekend's matches were the start of Conference USA play for both teams.
After multiple cancellations and postponements, the Raiders improved to 4-4 overall and 2-0 in conference play with the two wins. After a hard-fought weekend, the 49ers fall to 7-7 overall and start the conference slate 0-2.
Before the weekend, Charlotte was 7-4 overall in games against MTSU. The 49ers' four-game winning streak against the Raiders comes to an end after the losses this weekend.
The Raiders came out on top in both games, winning Friday's game 3-1 and Saturday's game 3-2. Friday's win was the first time since 2017 the Raiders bested the 49ers.
In the first set, Charlotte came ready to play and took the fight to the Raiders. MTSU had multiple errors in the first set, while Charlotte ended the set with just one error. The 49ers sealed the deal to win the set 25-17.
MTSU turned things around in the second set and did not look back. The Raiders redshirt sophomore middle blocker, Dasia Smith, had four kills to make the difference. The Raiders bounced back to even the contest at a set apiece with a 25-21 win.
The Raiders gained the advantage in the third set. Redshirt sophomore right-side hitter Kayla Henley helped top the Niners 25-19. Charlotte fought back in the last set, but it wasn't enough. The Raiders won 25-23 to take the match 3-1.
Charlotte sophomore Eman'i Foster ended the first match with 19 kills and 12 digs, while fifth-year senior Sydney Rowan had 18 kills. Junior middle blocker Amani McArthur finished with five blocks and eight kills. Libero Sophie Whalen led Charlotte with 20 digs in the contest.
Charlotte looked to bounce back on Saturday, Sept. 25 but was unable to as they would lose the game 3-2. The Raiders were once again still too much for the Niners.
The first set was back and forth, with both teams looking to gain the edge. Charlotte looked strong but could not clinch the victory after committing three errors towards the end of the first set. MTSU took it with a 26-24 win.
Charlotte pulled themselves back into the game in the second set. Rowan was all over the place, which proved to be too much for the Raiders. Charlotte took the set 25-19 to even things up.
Charlotte's momentum translated into the third set. Kills and Aces were the names of the game. The 49ers went on a 6-0 run to open things up, which gave the team an early advantage. The team ended the set with a 7-0 run which Foster and Rowan led to take it 25-15.
The Raiders recovered in the fourth set with a huge bounce back to keep the match tied. MTSU won an important set 25-21. Middle Tennessee's momentum carried on into the fifth set, and they won 15-7, concluding the match.
Charlotte's Rowan led both Charlotte and Middle Tennessee with 20 kills and added 16 digs. Foster racked up 18 kills and 11 digs while Whalen led the team with 22 digs.
Charlotte will be back in action against Florida Atlantic on Friday, Oct. 1, and Saturday, Oct. 2. The 49ers will host the Owls at home in Halton Arena, which will be the first home game for the team since Saturday, Aug. 28. Friday's game will get underway at 5 pm, and Saturday's game will start at 1 pm. Both games can be streamed on CUSA.tv.