AHHHHHH!!! I can feel the summer coming to an end as the autumn months close in on us in the Queen City and that means that the Niners fall sports are set to begin. Despite the recent string of steaming hot weather that has flooded the campus (I blame the freshmen), the fall is up on us which brings outstanding foliage to our beautiful campus as well as the beginning of the 2009 Athletic Schedule.
With that in mind us here at the media relations office voted on the top ten events of the fall slate (both home and away). Our panel of Niner experts included yours truly and that’s it. So here comes my rendition of SportsCenter’s top ten starting at the top (It’s as cool as the other side of the pillow):
10. We start with the volleyball’s Dig Pink Match against Fordham on October 2. Last year, over 700 fans entered Halton Arena for the Sixth Annual Fundraiser against Rhode Island. The players will don pink jerseys for the match and is a great nationwide cause to raise money for breast cancer research.
9. Moving into the single digits we have the men’s soccer match at South Carolina. The Sept. 1 match will be the 19th meeting between the teams and even though the teams haven’t meet since 2005 the series is still heated as the previous nine matches have been determined by only one goal, which makes for a thrilling showdown between the Carolina institutes.
8. The Cross Country team makes it first appearance on the countdown at number 8 with the NCAA Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind., which also serves as the site of the NCAA Championships. The meet serves as a gage as to where the Niners stand nationally as teams from all across the nation converge on the Sycamores’ campus.
7. Lucky number seven brings us back to men’s soccer as their match against California State-Bakersfield on Sept. 18 pits the 49ers against the head coach Jeremy Gunn against his alma mater at Transamerica Field. The match will be the first between the two schools and will also be Charlotte’s first match in the Charlotte/Nike Invitational. Emotions are sure to be high in this early season home match.
6. Making their second appearance on the list is cross country and the Charlotte Invitational at McAlpine Park. The invitational is the XC’s teams only home meet of the season and will be held at nearby McAlpine Park. Last year, both Charlotte squads won the invitational titles and the women’s team dominated the competition placing five in the top six. The meet will be Niners fans only chance to see their XC team in action at home.
5. Halfway through the list we find the Volleyball team again with another home match this time against defending A-10 champs (regular and tournament) Dayton. Last year the Flyers went 13-0 in conference and made it to the NCAA Tournament. The Oct. 23 match will pit the 49ers against a preseason ranked squad, which could be a huge momentum boost for Charlotte heading into the final stretch of the season.
4. On Sunday, Sept. 13 No. 18 University of Georgia women’s soccer comes into town for a showdown with Niner Nation. Last year both teams made it to the NCAA Tournament with UGA bowing out in the first round, while Charlotte fell to eventual champs, UNC, in the second round. The teams met two years ago in Athens with the Bulldogs coming away with a 2-0 victory. This time the 49ers look to revenge their road loss with a victory over the national prominent program.
3. Two away from the top spot we find the men’s soccer match at Wake Forest on Sept. 29. The Demon Deacons have made it to the College Cup the previous three seasons and enter this year ranked third. Last year, Charlotte nearly upset eventual NCAA Champion, Maryland, but fell to the Terrapins on the road by an overtime goal. This year, Charlotte looks to knock off a top team and Wake has the making of a great opportunity.
2. Barely missing out on the top spot is the Oct. 9th showdown between women’s soccer and A-10 foe Dayton. Despite being the three-time defending A-10 Regular Season Champs and two-time defending A-10 Tournament Champs, the 49ers were snubbed by the Preseason A-10 Coaches Poll, who put the Flyers ahead of the Niners. The road match is likely to determine the A-10 Regular Season Champ and will be ripe with talented players on both sides of the ball.
1.* Taking down the top spot is none other than the highly competitive top-level skill adjective-filled weekly Staff Basketball pick-up games held on the Charles Hayward Memorial Court. This great display of athletic prowess is a chance for members of the 49er Athletic Department to relive the glory days and talk some in-office smack. Tickets to these free marquee event are nearly impossible to obtain, but are worth every penny.
* This in no way is the top event, but I am extremely biased and I had the only vote.
There you have it Niner Nation. Make sure to make it out to all of these home events this fall and follow all the road action on charlotte49ers.com
~Patrick McCoy, Media Relations Office