The Charlotte 49ers volleyball team took home the Windy City Classic crown after a competitive tournament. Fifth-year senior Sydney Rowan helps push to two victories with 25 digs and 45 kills over a three-game span in the tournament.
Rowan reached an impressive feat over the weekend as she hit the 1000 kills & 1000 digs mark with her performance, making her just the eighth 49er in history to achieve this accomplishment.
THERE IT IS! Sydney Rowan has just officially become the 8th member of the 1,000-kill AND 1,000-dig club at Charlotte! Her 1,000th dig was just secured earning another HUGE milestone in her illustrious career! CONGRATS SYDNEY! #GoldStandard pic.twitter.com/P7nMersocv— Charlotte Volleyball (@CharlotteWVB) September 4, 2021
"We are excited to see Sydney reach the 1,000 kills and dig club. This is a milestone few have achieved at Charlotte. She led us through some growth moments this weekend, and the intangibles she brings to the game are immeasurable," said head coach Karen Weatherington.
Rowan wasn't the only player that came up big for the 49ers, as sophomore Emani Foster had 55 kills and 33 digs in the three-game span. Junior Annika Wetterstrom and sophomore Annika Thompson combined for 124 assists during the tournament as well.
Rowan's performance earned her the Tournament MVP award, while Foster and junior Amani McArthur received all-tournament team honors. McArthur had 24 blocks over the tournament and was named C-USA defensive player of the week.
"The Windy City Classic recognized her [Rowan] as the tournament MVP, and we also do. It's great to add Emani and Amani to the all-tourney list as well. We are proud of this group!" said Weatherington.
The Niners fell to North Dakota State 2-3 in the first game but bounced back to beat Niagara and Chicago State to win the tournament. After going 2-1 in the tournament, Charlotte sits at 4-2 on the season.
Game 1: vs. North Dakota State (2-3)
Charlotte took a loss in a hard-fought battle with North Dakota State. The Niners started set one hot, taking a 7-1 lead. Charlotte took the first set 25-18, but NDSU bounced back to even up the match after winning set two 25-22.
In set three, the Niners took a 25-22 set win of their own and found themselves up 2-1 in the match. The 49ers kept up with Bison in the fourth set, but NDSU took the close-set 25-23. North Dakota State took the victory in the fifth set 15-9 to win the match.
Game 2: vs. Niagara (3-0)
Set one was close for a while, still tied at 13-13 before Charlotte started to break away before taking the set win 25-17. Set two was a very similar result. Niagara held on and kept it close for a while, only down 13-12 at one point before the Niners again pulled away and took the set 25-18.
Charlotte started the third set 4-0 before Niagara caught back up to tie the game at nine. Similar to the first two sets, it was then that the 49ers ramped up the intensity, going on a 6-1 scoring run. Niagara put up a fight, but at the end of the set, Charlotte was victorious by a score of 25-20.
Game 3: vs. Chicago State (3-1)
The match against Chicago State was a big one. The 49ers hadn't faced the Cougars since 1993, when Charlotte took the win 3-0. They now found themselves facing one another yet again, playing to be the Windy City Classic victor. Chicago State was 4-1 before facing the Niners. They swept both Niagara and NDSU in the tournament.
Charlotte would win the first set but dropped the second set to let Chicago State back into the match. The 49ers controlled the tempo in the third set to extend their lead. Then in the fourth set, Charlotte sealed the deal to win the tournament.
"This was a gutsy win for the Niners," said Weatherington. "Chicago State has a savvy, high tempo offense, and we responded well. This win was a team-driven response to being asked to let their talents pour out and raise their competition level."
Charlotte will once again hit the road, this time to play the Phoenix of Elon on Wednesday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. Flo Volleyball will broadcast the game. This will be the 18th meeting between the teams, the last one coming in 2018 when the Niners took a 1-3 loss.