Needing a win to stay alive in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament race, the Charlotte 49ers put together a gritty performance in a five-set win (25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 12-25, 15-11) over visiting Duquesne Friday night at Halton Arena. Charlotte keeps pace with Rhode Island in the tie for the sixth and final tournament berth and improves to 5-7 in league play, sporting an 11-13 overall record.
Duquesne gives up its lone hold on fourth place in the loss, allowing George Washington to tie in that spot in the standings, at 7-5. The Dukes are 17-9 on the season overall.
"I was proud of how we fought back in the fifth set after losing our way and the momentum in the match," said Charlotte head coach Chris Redding. "We got back to the game plan and used our awesome crowd tonight and put together another win streak."
The match was the fifth-straight between the two teams that went to five sets, including both matches last year and the lone time the teams faced off in 2009. The road team had won the first three in a row in that run, but the home teams defended their courts in the fifth set this season in the series.
Charlotte dominated the first two sets, using a lot of energy from the 1,056 in attendance to out hit the Dukes in the first two sets and get out to a 2-0 lead. Duquesne was second in the league, as a team, in attack percentage coming into the tilt. Charlotte out hit the Dukes .228 to .206 in the contest.
The Dukes got the Niners down big in the third early, leading by as many as eight points, but the 49ers rallied back to a 23-all tie before Duquesne scored the last two points of the set and extend the match.
Duquesne came out to its best set in the fourth, limiting Charlotte to just eight kills to go with eight errors for a .000 attack percentage. In the fifth, the Niners hit .417 to Duquesne's .200 and never trailed in the set to come away with the match win.
Junior Bianca Rouse (Columbia, S.C. / Keenan HS) posted her team-leading 11th double-double of the season with a match-high 21 kills to go with 15 digs. Senior setter Sheri Davis (Cape Coral, Fla. / Evangelical Christian HS) was one dig from a triple-double with 37 assists, 10 kills and nine digs. The digs leader in the match was Charlotte junior libero Jenna Litoborski (Lemont, Ill. / Lemont HS), who netted 20 digs.
Offensively, Charlotte got a 12-kill night from sophomore Amanda Videmsek (Highland Heights, Ohio / Beaumont School), who had missed the last two matches with an injury. Defensively, senior defensive specialist Abbie Rees (Cincinnati, Ohio / Mount Notre Dame HS) had 14 digs.
Duquesne also had three players with double-digit kills and four with double-digit digs. Allison Foschia had 12 kills and 17 digs, while setter Taylor Jones put up 49 assists and 10 digs double-doubles on the night.
The 49ers finish the home portion of the schedule Sunday afternoon on Senior Day, when the program honors its outgoing trio of seniors. They will be honored in a brief ceremony before the match, preceding first service at 1 p.m.