The Charlotte 49ers volleyball team fell to the North Carolina Tarheels, 3-0 on Friday, Sep. 17. The team came up short in what was a hard-fought battle in all three sets.
After coming off a 2-1 win in the Mountaineer Classic, Charlotte looked to continue their winning ways on the current road trip. The 49ers fell short, resulting in getting swept against the Tarheels. Charlotte falls to 7-4 on the season, while UNC improves to an outstanding 10-0.
"As the saying goes, you have to play the best to be the best," said Head Coach Karen Weatherington after the game. "We did some good things, but it was not our best volleyball."
Set One: UNC wins 25-20
Charlotte started the match with an 8-6 lead before UNC took the lead with a 6-0 run. The 49ers looked to make adjustments to their game plan as they trailed early 12-8. The team pulled within three of the Tarheels, but that was the closest they would get in the set.
UNC would then go on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 17-10, allowing the Tarheels to pull away from the 49ers. Multiple attack errors helped Charlotte get back on the board, but it wouldn't be enough.
Senior Bethany Clayton and sophomore Emani' Foster also produced kills to even out the score. UNC ultimately had an answer for the Charlotte attack. UNC earned the set point with a kill to win 25-20.
Set Two: UNC wins 25-16
A kill from fifth-year senior Sydney Rowan and a block from junior Amani McArthur gave the 49ers a 3-2 lead early on in the set. Both teams went back and forth until the Tarheels blew the game open with a 6-0 run to take a commanding 14-5 lead.
The 49ers went on a 3-0 run of their own, which pulled the team within seven halfway through the set. However, the Tarheels continued to control the set as the 49ers tried to get back in the contest.
Charlotte mounted another 3-0 run at the end of the set, but UNC still shut the door. A kill by North Carolina graduate student Nia Robinson ended the set, and the Tarheels took it 25-16.
Set Three: UNC wins 25-20
The third set saw a close battle as the match progressed. Both teams traded points in hopes of gaining the advantage, and the Tarheels started to pull away as they held a 17-12 lead. After a good rally, the 49ers pulled within two to make the score 17-15.
Foster and junior Nalani Lyde kept the team in it with a back-to-back block and killed combination, allowing the 49ers to stay in the game with the score standing at 19-17. UNC would win it, though, after another run to end Charlotte's hopes. The Tarheels won it 25-20 after a hard-fought battle with the Niners.
Foster ended the night with eleven kills and eight digs, while Rowan had seven kills in the contest. Kretschmer produced at a high level as she recorded four kills, three blocks and an ace. McArthur was critical in the game as well, as she finished with two blocks and two kills.
In what will be the last non-conference game of the year for the 49ers, Charlotte will hit the road once again as they travel to Rock Hill, SC, to face the Eagles of Winthrop University on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. The game will also be broadcasted on ESPN+. The last match between the Niners and the Eagles was on Oct. 8, 2019, with Charlotte winning 3-2.
"We need to gain experience in high-level environments against nationally-ranked teams so we can test our resolve. I thought we responded well, albeit a little late," said Weatherington. "It was great preparation for our tough conference competition ahead."