Charlotte Invitational Recap

Annika Thompson sets the ball for teamate Lara Kretschmer in a game against South Carolina State

The Charlotte 49ers start the season with a record of 2-1 in the Charlotte Invitational. The 49ers bested Xavier in a somewhat close match on Friday, but South Carolina State stood no chance. The Charlotte Invitational Champions, Colorado, took down the Niners in just three sets, ending the team's nine-game winning streak at home.  

49ers Sydney Rowan and Nalani Lyde were named to the all-tournament team.

Game 1: Vs. Xavier (3-1)

Charlotte may have lost their last twelve matchups to Xavier, but that didn't deter them Friday evening when they took Xavier down 3-1, ending that losing streak. 

Charlotte took the first two sets, but Xavier held on to get the win in the third. Finally, the Niners took set four 25-21 and took the victory. 

"It was a grungy match. We saw some great things happen; we had some people step up huge and just gutted it out. I'm so proud to win over a really good Xavier team who we knew were going to bring their best." said Weatherington. 

Nalani Lyde led in kills with 15, a number she's only hit four times in her career before this game. Sophie Whalen's 20 digs were a team-high, and the second time in her career, she has reached that mark.

Game 2:  Vs. South Carolina State (3-0)

It was a slaughter Saturday morning. Charlotte took a quick win in three sets; South Carolina State scored 14 in set two, the most points the Bulldogs scored in the entire contest. In set one, the Bulldogs only had 13 points, and in set three, they could only muster nine. 

Game 3: Vs. Colorado (0-3)

Sets one and two didn't look good for Charlotte, as it seemed they would be outplayed. In the second set, the Niners only managed to put up seven points before Colorado took the set. 

In the third set, the 49ers looked much better. They took a four-point lead midway through and were exchanging blows with Colorado to keep themselves ahead. Charlotte found themselves up 21-19, but a 5 point run for Colorado led to the Buffalos taking the third set and the 3-0 victory. 

It is the first time Charlotte has lost at home since November of 2019. 

"We were really excited to have Colorado come out here and test our resolve. They are a great team, and knowing the Pac-12 is the level we aspire to continue to compete against, we showed that we could match up well at some points. It was nice to have our rotation back and a full lineup; it just took us some time to gel," said Head Coach Karen Weatherington after the Colorado game.

Rowan had an impressive 31 kills on the weekend, and 25 digs earned her all-tournament team honors. Lyde came up with 24 kills with 14 digs and five blocks for her to also gain honors.

The team, despite only winning two of the three games were glad to be back at home. 

"A crowd of 500 in here sounds like 2,000 people. I can't wait to see us get to conference. If we can play our style of play, be feisty, fiery and get that crowd going behind us, it adds a whole element that we missed out on last year and are so glad to have this year. I love Halton Arena. There's no place like home."

Next Up

Charlotte will travel to Chicago to play in the Windy City Invitational, facing North Dakota State, Niagra and Chicago State. The first two games will be played on September 3rd, while their game against Chicago State will take place on Sept. 4.

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