The 49ers were able to get their first win of the season over the Owls of Kennesaw State. However, as they look to improve, the team will take the victory as a lesson for the rest of the season.
"This is something that we can build a lot on as I think we have room for improvement," said midfielder Julia Patrum. "It's exciting that we were able to get the win and still have ways to get better."
It was a stalemate for most of the game as both teams were looking to find an edge. The 49ers battled through to get the narrow victory in a hard-fought contest. Even though the result was a win, head coach John Cullen feels that the team is far from perfect.
"We're happy to get the result, but there was not a lot we were happy about after that," said Cullen. "We were anxious to get the win and eager to win the game, but we were off the pace in a lot of areas tonight."
In the first half, neither team could get on the board. The 49ers kept attacking but were unable to find the back of the goal. Fifth-year goalkeeper Abby Stapleton was all over and thwarted the Owls from getting anything going on offense.
The Niners first shot on goal was in the 14th minute of the match as freshman Braelynn Francher had a chance to score but could not convert.
Freshman Macey Bader and Junior Malina Pardo also had chances on goal but couldn't put it in the back of the net.
Looking to rebound after a scoreless first half, the team came together ready to attack and took control of the game. A different strategy was implemented and resulted in success.
"We made sure to get more shots on goal and stay focused on attacking," said Patrum. "We came out firing and in hopes of a good result."
In the 53rd minute, Charlotte freshman Camden Poole was awarded a corner kick, which was the opportunity the team needed. The corner kick resulted in an own goal for the Owls, which saw the 49ers get on the board for the first time this season.
The 49ers continued to control the ball in the second half in hopes of getting an insurance goal. The team ramped up their intensity on defense which created a chokehold on the Owls offensive attack. The Owls were only able to muster two shots throughout the rest of the game.
In the 87th minute, the game got called due to inclement weather in the area. In the end, the 49ers came out on top in the first game of the season and will look to keep it up the rest of the year.
Stapleton was also able to make history in the game. She has moved into second place in both victories as well as shutouts. Stapleton now has 21 shutouts leaving her behind Lauren Brown by only five, and her victories now total 36 which also trail Brown's 56.
There are many takeaways from this matchup that the 49ers will build off of in the upcoming games. The team will look to jell together to become one cohesive unit. It is an exciting start to a season that seems to be very promising for the 49ers.
"The main thing that we can take away is that there is a certain amount of growth that we still need to do," said Patrum. "The main lesson is to learn how to play as one and not on an individual basis."
Charlotte will be back in action on Sunday, Aug. 22, as they will travel to Boone to take on the Mountaineers of Appalachian State. ESPN+ will broadcast the game, which starts at 6 p.m.