|C-USA home docket opens with alumni weekend|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte women’s soccer program will welcome back alums as part of its 20th anniversary season celebration this weekend when it begins the home slate of Conference USA matches. The 49ers will play host to UTSA at 7 p.m. Friday before taking on Middle Tennessee at 1 p.m. Sunday in a pair of first-time meetings.
Highlighting the weekend’s festivities will be the jersey retirement of former Niners standout Hailey Beam prior to Friday’s match. Beam, who played for the 49ers from 2006-09, will join her sister, another former Charlotte All-American, Lindsey Beam Ozimek, as the only two women’s soccer jerseys retired in school history.
Beam will be joined by her family and members of the 49ers athletics department at halftime for the honorable ceremony. For more information about Beam’s career, click here.
On the field surrounding the ceremony, the current Charlotte squad will look to improve upon its 6-4 overall and 1-1 Conference USA record. The 49ers, playing in the league for the first time since 2004, opened conference play last weekend on the road by knocking off FIU Friday before falling at East Carolina Sunday.
Freshman Perri Bonner factored into both goals of Friday’s victory, assisting on sophomore Maddie Kiebel’s game winner and then adding one of her own during the second half. Bonner has joined juniors Jessica Ryan and Amanda Jones, a preseason Conference USA Player to Watch, as the only Niners with multiple goals this fall.
Kiebel and Bonner share team-high honors with two assists with senior SarahAnn Waugh and redshirt junior Jennifer Lee. Kiebel is also first on the squad with 21 shots, placing 12 on goal.
Defensively, Charlotte has registered five shutouts and held its opponents to a 0.87 goals-against average. The goalkeeping tandem of senior Alex Kubrick and redshirt sophomore Annika McHenry have combined for an 82.4 save percentage with 42 saves during the season’s first 10 games with the help of a solid core of defenders in front of them, including the likes of redshirt freshman Nicole Anderson, redshirt junior Taylor Dulaney, sophomore Becky Forcellini, senior Dakota Olson and sophomore Monica Trickett.
UTSA has started 2013 with a 2-8-1 mark, though the Roadrunners are 1-0-1 in Conference USA after picking up a home triumph over Rice Sunday. Head coach Steve Ballard’s squad features the reigning C-USA Defensive Player of the Week in goalkeeper Bubba Makela and it faced a daunting non-conference slate, including Top 15 opponents Baylor and Texas A&M to open the year.
Five different players have recorded a goal, as UTSA has been outscored 18-to-5. Makela has an 1.25 goals-against average as the squad’s primary netminder.
Middle Tennessee also boasts a 1-1 league ledger following the opening weekend of play, splitting home matches with UAB and preseason C-USA favorite Colorado College. The Blue Raiders, who won the Sun Belt and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 2010, are 4-4-2 overall on the season, which includes a 1-0 home win over Tennessee.
Head coach Aston Rhoden’s squad features no seniors and is led by the sophomore offensive duo of Kate Loye, the 2012 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year, and Tori Hawkins. Loye and Hawkins have tallied 12 and 10 points, respectively with 10 players earning a start in all 10 matches.
Though the 49ers have never faced either school previously, Charlotte holds a 5-0-3 mark against Texas-based teams and a 13-5 record against Tennessee-based programs through the years.
Live stats and video will be available for both matches by logging onto Charlotte49ers.com. Updates can also be found on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.