For the third straight spring season, the Charlotte 49ers men's soccer team has turned in a near-perfect performance, going undefeated at 6-0-2. The Niners have lost just once in the past three spring seasons, and once again conclude their schedule on a high note that should serve to vault them into another productive fall.
Head Coach Kevin Langan said, "The spring season has gone very well. Our results over the past three seasons are testament to the training environment and culture that we have in place. These past few months the players have all worked extremely hard on their individual development and the plan now is to use the momentum from the spring going into the fall season."
The Niners competed in several noteworthy matches throughout the course of the spring, including a 2-2 tie with the Charlotte Eagles in front of a huge crowd that saw rookie Giuseppe Gentile notch both 49er goals. In addition, the Niners brought home the Manchester Meadows Cup for the second straight year with victories over ETSU and College of Charleston. In that tournament, it was junior forward Jennings Rex who stepped up to score three Charlotte goals.
Not to be overlooked are a commanding 3-0 win over rival Davidson and an absolute domination of Pass4Soccer, where six different 49ers scored (including four goals from Donnie Smith) in an 11-2 home victory to open the season. "Excitingly, we look like a team that is capable of scoring goals with high-tempo, attacking soccer," said Langan.
With the likes of Charles Rodriguez (drafted by DC United), Evan James (drafted by Montreal Impact) and Isaac Cowles (playing professionally for the Eagles) graduating, Charlotte has looked to new leaders for guidance this spring, including Thomas Allen, Aidan Kirkbride, Owen Darby and Donnie Smith. Darby and Smith will begin their senior season in the fall, while Allen and Kirkbride will be juniors. The wealth of experience from all four helped contribute to the Niners' spring success.
Additionally, much of Charlotte's achievement this spring is due to the superb play of the 49ers forwards and midfielders. Langan commented, "We have had some big contributions from a number of players in the attacking third." Reigning Freshman of the Year Gentile tallied an impressive eight goals in eight games for the Niners. Rex, Smith and Gibson combined for nine more goals on the season, a good portion of the Charlotte offense.
Two relatively new faces on the 49er roster, Robby Thomas and Nick Barnhorst, also contributed with solid first spring seasons and should be exciting to watch come fall.
Lastly, Charlotte is excited to welcome back Isaac Caughran and Will Mayhew, from long term injuries. Both are expected to make an enormous impact in 2012.
Spring 2012 Complete Schedule & Results
Opponent / Score / Goals
Pass4Soccer / 11-2 (W) / Smith 4, Bonillia 2, Gentile 2, C Dennis 1, Perez 1, Gibson 1
Charlotte Eagles / 2-2 (T) / Gentile 2
Belmont Abbey / 2-0 (W) / Kirkbride, Darby
East Tennessee State* / 2-1 (W) / Rex, Thomas
College of Charleston* / 4-1 (W) / Rex 2, Kirkbride, Gibson
Alumni / 3-0 (W) / Perez, Gentile 2
Davidson College / 3-0 (W) / Kirkbride, Gentile 2
App State / 0-0 (T)
*Manchester Meadows Cup