Charlotte volleyball continued their hot streak over the weekend in a two-game series last weekend against Old Dominion. Charlotte won all six sets in what looked like effortless wins. The wins brought Charlotte to an 11-4 record to finish the season.
This win percentage of .733 is the third highest in program history and their best in 40 years. The Niners now are heading to the Conference USA Championships as the #2 seed coming off of a six-game win streak.
Game One (3-0)
It was senior day for the 49ers, and senior outside hitter Sydney Rowan led the Niners to victory. Rowan led the team in kills with 11 as well as seven digs. She also added a solo block and two block assists. 49er Head Coach Karen Weatherington spoke about Rowan after the game.
"We're super proud of Sydney and blessed to have her as a part of our program. She always leads the way in so many different ways that people don't see outside of our locker room and outside of the gym—but today, she just stepped it up," said Weatherington. "We knew ODU was going to come in and challenge us, and she led the way in the locker room to talk about the things we needed to do to get it done, and then she showed it on the court today."
Old Dominion put up the first point of set one, but Charlotte answered back with a quick six-point run. From there, Charlotte kept their lead, never letting their lead fall below four. By the end of the set, Charlotte was up 25-16 and set one with ease.
In the second set, ODU fought hard and even kept it to a one-point game for a while and were down 11-10 at one point after a five-point run. Charlotte turned things around real quick. From there, the Niners outscored ODU 14-6 to secure set two.
ODU looked even better in set three, taking a 12-10 lead to start the set. A Charlotte five-point run, two of which coming from Kills by Emani Foster, put Charlotte back on top 15-12. From there, the Niners outscored ODU 10-6 to take set three and the win. Rowan had six kills in set three alone, which helped give the Niners the win.
Game Two (3-0)
Charlotte was quick to take control of the first set, starting with a 7-3 lead. From there, the Niners just continued to add on to this lead and finished the set 25-15.
Set two was much more interesting, and the first time ODU was close to taking a set. Two service aces for the Niners, one by Foster and one by Whalen, as well as a couple of kills, gave the Niners the beginning momentum for the set, starting 4-2. From there, the whole set was back and forth, with no team leading by more than three except for a short moment where Charlotte led by four. With the set getting closer to the end, Charlotte led just 21-20. It was Rowan who delivered when it mattered most, getting three of the Niner's last four points of the set to get the narrow set win 25-23.
Set three was nothing like set two. As the Niners quickly took a 10-3 lead. When ODU followed it up with a four-point run, Charlotte answered back with a five-point run of their own. From here, Charlotte did nothing but extend their lead and take set three 25-14. This set gave Charlotte a win in the final game of the season.
Emani Foster and Sydney Rowan were tied for most kills for Charlotte with nine. Foster had four of her nine kills in the third and had a solid .438 hitting percentage. Lara Kretschmer was efficient in game two, getting kills on four of her six attempts and making up five of the team's nine blocks. Wetterstrom led the team in assists with 17, and her two aces also led the team.
Head Coach Weatherington's response to the season as a whole was, "This season has presented us with obstacles and opportunities. We challenged the team to find joy in the journey this year, and we saw that come together this weekend. We secured a second-place finish in the east division, went 6-0 at home, and posted our best-ever conference record."
Charlotte's next matchup will occur at the Conference USA tournament that Southern Miss will host in Hattiesburg. The tournament will begin April 1, and the Niners will enter as the #2 seed from the east. They will take on the #3 seed from the west in the quarterfinals. Their opponent and game time will be announced at a later date.