|Niners push Mean Green to double OT before setback|
HOUSTON – Charlotte withstood an explosive North Texas offensive attack, allowing just a single goal, but the only score proved to be the decisive one as the 49ers fell in double overtime to the Mean Green, 1-0, in the Conference USA Championships semifinals at Rice’s Holloway Field in Houston.
North Texas (14-6-1) pounded the Niners cage with 27 total shots, including 26 in regulation split evenly between the halves. Charlotte, the Conference USA East Division champion, managed just 11 attempts, nine coming during the second period as it worked to recreate the post-intermission magic it has had most of the season.
With neither team having a shot during the first extra frame, it took just one additional shot for the Mean Green to find the clincher. Tori Adame sent a corner kick inside the 18-yard box, where Lindsey Hulstein ran onto the pass. She placed it between the pipes at 102:17 to end the 49ers season.
Redshirt junior Jennifer Lee paced Charlotte (11-7-2) with five shots, including back-to-back attempts wide early in the second frame. She had the 49ers’ first three attempts after halftime, all coming within the opening eight minutes.
Kelsey Hodges, the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, and Karla Pineda topped North Texas, the C-USA West Division No. 2 seed, with six shots apiece. Lynda Hercules added five, though the Niners defense held Rachel Holden, the league’s Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year to just three attempts.
Five of the Mean Green’s shots came right after Lee’s couple, though they were sent wide, high, blocked by Charlotte backline twice or hit the crossbar. The goal frame helped the 49ers on a first-half Jackie Moreau shot, as it ricocheted off the post.
Charlotte concludes the campaign with its best record since 2010. Friday’s loss ends the careers for seniors Alex Kubrick, Brooke Mulloy, Dakota Olson and SarahAnn Waugh in addition to graduating junior Dana Robertson.
The core of this year’s team will return for its second season of returning to Conference USA in 2014.