Friday, August 28, 2009

Charlotte Has Protected This House

Earlier last week the whole Media Relations staff here at Charlotte Athletics took a field trip just right around the corner from our office to the new Student Union. We gawked at its amenities as the five story building was filled with a movie theater, Starbucks, Niner Mac Store, plenty of food choices and a Barnes and Nobles Bookstore.

Meandering through the new center of Charlotte’s campus got me thinking about Charlotte and its great facilities for fall sports. Transamerica Field and Halton Arena are top-notch playing surfaces and have both served Niner Nation since 1996, when both opened for competitive play.

The best part about these athletic stages for 49ers Athletics is that Charlotte has been dominant at them for each fall sport (M/W Soccer and Volleyball) posting winning records since the turn of the millennium.

So without any more of my ramblings on the topic here is some research I piled up about the three fall sports at home over the past nine seasons.

VOLLEYBALL: The volleyball squad plays at Halton Arena (I think everyone knew that) and has posted the most victories of the fall sports since 2000 by tallying an 87-48 record on their home court. The .644 winning percentage includes six home winning seasons as well as five double-digit victory seasons.

Volleyball’s top season came in 2006, when the squad went 12-2 at home and finished fifth in the regular season A-10 action. That season also may have showcased the best home victory since 2000 on Nov. 10 2006, when the Niners defeated Temple, 3-0. The victory was significant because with the victory the Niners clinched a spot in the A-10 Tournament and kept their hopes alive to win the Eastern Division.

The 49ers were unable to catch first place that season, but were able to protect their house from entering opponents.

MEN’S SOCCER: Down at Transamerica Niner fans have seen exactly 100 victories since 2000. The men’s squad has racked up 42 of them as their .623 winning percentage has produced six winning records, four of which have come in the last four years.

Their 42-23-12 record during that span has seen multitudes of great games, but the best probably came in 2005, which is the year that Charlotte moved from Conference USA to the A-10.

Being the new kid in town (or in this case, conference) can be tough. It takes time to adjust to your new surroundings and your new opponents. So many people wouldn’t have been surprised if the 49ers took a step back in 2005 when they moved to the Atlantic 10 Conference.

However the Niners made themselves quite comfortable with their new situation on Nov. 6 with a 1-0 victory over No. 14 Duquesne on Senior Day. The victory was the Niners first over a ranked A-10 opponent and clinched a winning record in the A-10 for the Niners and assured them a spot in the A-10 Tournament.

WOMEN’S SOCCER: Dominant. That is the only word to describe Charlotte women’s soccer at home. The Niners have posted two undefeated seasons at home and seven winning seasons since ’00. The 58-22-7 is the best among fall sports as the .707 winning percentage is outstanding to say the least.

Over the last three seasons, the 49ers have only lost two of thirty games (not to shabby) which is a main reason that Charlotte has claimed the regular season A-10 title in each of those years. But when I think about the best victory for the Niners during our nine year frame I’m brought back to a non-conference tournament game against Clemson on Sept. 16, 2007.

The 3-1 victory over the 17th ranked Tigers in the Carolinas’ Cup served as a stepping stone for the Charlotte program and was the Niners’ first victory over Clemson. The Niners would go on to finish the year as A-10 Regular and Tournament Champions and made their third-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

There it is. My rundown of Niners home games since 2000. Also don’t forget about today’s women’s soccer match against Appalachian State at 7 p.m. (I’ll be there)

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