Sports fans consider the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Finals, the Final Four as big games. Then, there are big regular-season games such as Yankees-Red Sox, Patriots-Colts and Celtics-Lakers. Over the years, the 49ers have had big games whether it was a men’s basketball game in Halton Arena against Cincinnati or Xavier or a women’s basketball game against George Washington in 2006 or the A-10 Championship game last season against Richmond. The 49ers soccer programs has had big games as well. Maybe the biggest game was the 49ers men’s soccer team’s win over #1 South Carolina in 1994. This Friday, the 49ers women’s soccer team has a big game when they battle A-10 rival Dayton on the road.
"The game should be really exciting," Charlotte 49ers coach John Cullen said. "Two quality teams who are both playing good soccer. We have our work cut out for us playing Dayton on the road. We are looking forward to the challenge that this game presents."
Both teams enter the game a perfect 4-0-0 in league play. Dayton was picked to finish first in the preseason A-10 coaches polls, while the 49ers were picked second. Charlotte post a 20-game winning streak against Atlantic 10 competition. Charlotte has captured the last three A-10 regular season titles and the last two A-10 Tournament titles. While, Dayton has captured a share of eight A-10 regular-season titles and five A-10 Tournament titles. Dayton’s last A-10 title came in 2004.
The game will be a battle of contrasting styles. The 49ers explosive offense which is tied for sixth in the nation at 3.25 goals per game. Whitney Weinraub leads the Atlantic 10 and ranks among the nation’s leaders in goals with nine. Hailey Beam is second on the team with seven goals. Kirby Stenard has added six goals to the 49ers attack. Oni Bernard, Jenna McKeon, Carrie Dail, Lena Suarez, India Winford and Lacey McGowan have all scored multiple goals for the 49ers.
Dayton relies on their defense that post a 0.23 goals against average which is second in the nation. Dayton’s has recorded nine shutouts this season.
The key to the game maybe the 49ers’ defense against Dayton’s offense. Charlotte’s defense is second in the A-10 with eight shutouts. While, Dayton is second in the league in goals scored with 24.
Each team will have six Atlantic 10 games left after Friday’s game so there is still plenty of season left after the big game. However, the winner of the game will have the inside track to the A-10 regular-season title and the top seed in the A-10 Tournament which will be played at Charlotte’s Transamerica Field, November 5-8.
Brent Stastny, Associate Media Relations Director