|Road slate comes to an end this weekend|
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The longest road stretch of the year will come to an end this weekend, as the Charlotte 49ers women's soccer team leaves the Queen City for the final time in the regular season for two Atlantic 10 matchups. The 49ers start the set with a 4 p.m. Friday meeting with Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass., before ending it at 1 p.m. Sunday against Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I., at the site of the upcoming A-10 Championships.
"We still have a lot of work ahead of us to finish out conference play strongly," head coach John Cullen said. "There aren't many conference games left, so the importance of them is getting bigger and bigger. We want to be able to pick up as many points as we can, first and foremost to get into the conference tournament, and secondly to finish as high of a seed as possible.
"Each of these two teams is like us, competing for those points to have a strong finish and get placement in the upcoming championships."
Charlotte, putting a cap on a five-game road swing, enters the weekend in a tie with Dayton for second place in the Atlantic 10 standings with 12 points in conference action. The 49ers are 4-1 against the league and 10-4-1 overall, accumulating 31 points for the second-highest total thus far across the conference.
The scoring punch of Amanda Jones and Carrie Dail has combined for 13 of the team's 26 goals thus far this fall, as they have helped guide the Niners to their strong start. Jones had a goal and assist in Friday's come-from-behind win at Fordham, while Dail netted the team's lone tally in Sunday's setback at La Salle.
Meanwhile, the Charlotte defense has played well as of late also. The unit has surrendered more than one goal only four times all season, but only twice in the last 11 games, including four shutouts. The 49ers have played two goalkeepers during the campaign, with Alex Kubrick ranking among the league leaders for goals against average and save percentage, while Annika McHenry earning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week accolades earlier this month.
Massachusetts owns a 2-3 A-10 ledger and 7-8 overall record entering Friday. The Minutewomen are led by Moa Mattsson's eight goals and 19 points. The next closest teammate on the list is Jen Coppola with five points.
UMass has lost its last two matches, dropping conference contests at Saint Joseph's and Temple last weekend.
Rhode Island is currently near the bottom of the league standings with a 1-4 A-10 mark but the Rams are above .500 overall at 8-7-1. URI will open the weekend by playing host to George Washington at 7 p.m. Friday against George Washington.
Ashley Evangelista and Jennifer Barrientos share the team lead with 12 points apiece; however, Evangelista holds the slight edge on goals, five-to-four, including a trio of game winners.
Rhode Island split its two Philadelphia-area contests last weekend, knocking off Temple in overtime before being shutout at Saint Joseph's.
Live stats for both matches, live video for Massachusetts and live audio for Rhode Island are all available through links on Charlotte49ers.com. In-game updates can also be found on Twitter @49erGameDay.