Press Release courtesy of Charlotte Athletics.
For the first time in 2017, the Charlotte 49ers volleyball team hits the road in Conference USA play traveling to UAB and Florida Atlantic this weekend. The trip begins in Birmingham Friday before finishing in South Florida on Sunday.
Charlotte (14-4, 1-1 C-USA) opens the weekend after a thrilling 3-1 win over rival Marshall on Friday before seeing their 11-game win streak come to an end by WKU on Sunday. Tatyana Thomas led the Niners on Friday with 16 kills and a .583 hitting percentage against the Herd while Janell Sparks posted the only double-double of the night with 12 kills and 13 digs.
On Sunday, the league’s best team put an end to the school-record 11-game win streak with a 3-0 victory. WKU hit .447 in the match led by three different players in double-figures. Sydney Rowan paced the Niners with nine kills and a .444 hitting afternoon while Thomas followed with eight to hit .500 in the loss.
“I was really happy with the weekend,” began Head Coach Karen Weatherington. “We were really excited about our win over Marshall. It was a great home opener with a great crowd and a lot of energy. WKU is a top-25 team and they pushed us to play at a higher level. We’re happy with what we learned throughout the weekend. It was a great start.”
After 18 matches, Sydney Rowan leads the team with 213 kills followed by Sparks’ 193 and Thomas’ 130. Thomas’ .480 hitting percentage and her 84 total blocks are both the team’s best. Yumi Garcia continues to lead the way in digging with 369 on the year.
UAB (8-9, 2-0) opened up the league season with a pair of four-set victories on the road at Middle Tennessee and UTEP last weekend. After dropping the first set Friday, the Blazers rallied back to take the next three led by Petra Silic’s 13 kills in the middle followed by Victoria Young’s 12 and Erika Zembyla’s 11.
Gabby Deshotel has the team lead in kills just two shy of 200 on the year while Haley Jared is just seven shy of the same mark. Kenley Adams is the primary setter with 507 assists while Emily Martinez leads with 231 digs.
“UAB is playing well right now,” continued Weatherington. “They had a really challenging preseason. They’re a lot like us trying to work with different parts, options and depth. I think it’ll be another battle and good test for us. We have to stick with our game plan and fight.”
Florida Atlantic (9-4, 0-1) enters their weekend playing their second and third-straight home matches to open league play against FIU and Charlotte. FAU opened up with a 3-2 loss at home to WKU fighting back in the fourth, forced a fifth, but fell 15-10 in the fifth to the Lady Tops. Abbi Reid led FAU’s charge with 13 kills followed by Gabrielle Dixon’s 10. On Sunday, FAU took a five-set victory at Bethune-Cookman stepping out of C-USA play.
Sigourney Kame leads the team with 182 kills on the year as the Owls are one of the nation’s best averaging 14.88 kills/set. Ivone Martinez has 634 of FAU’s 697 assists on the year while Alex Cardona’s aided the defense with 203 digs.
“It’s never any fun going down there,” laughed Weatherington. “We love their program. They have a really fast tempo offense and are very athletic. It’s going to be a slugfest. We have to slow them down since they do things really efficiently. It’s going to take a big defensive effort to stop them.”
Friday night will begin at 8:00 p.m. eastern, 7:00 p.m. central at UAB before a noon matinee wraps things up at FAU on Sunday. Live video/stats for both matches are available at http://www.charlotte49ers.com.