Friday, November 6, 2009

Quest for a Three-Peat

The first game of any tournament can bring out chills, nerves and the ever-famous butterflies in the stomach feeling and for most teams the conference tournament is the last chance to make it to the NCAA Tournament and 110% will be given in order to ensure a tourney berth.

Since joining the Atlantic 10 conference prior to the 2005 season, the Charlotte women’s soccer team has won three regular season titles and two tournament crowns, both of which are tops in the league during that span. Tonight the women’s squad will try and continue their supremacy over their league opponents when they open up A-10 postseason play against Fordham at 5:30 p.m. at Transamerica Field.

Earlier in the season, Charlotte defeated the Rams 4-0 on the road behind a pair of goals from Whitney Weinraub, the A-10 Offensive Player of the Year (two years running), and Kirby Stenard. However, Fordham is ensured to be a different team than the one that suffered a 4-0 home loss and proved that by defeating UMASS Minutewomen 3-0 in the first round of the A-10 tournament last night.

The Rams thoroughly dominated UMASS outshooting the Minutewomen 27-7 and controlling the possession for the majority of the game. But this is the playoffs (Where Amazing Happens) and the 49ers have been dominant in their opening match of the A-10 tourney boasting a 3-1 record with the only loss coming in 2006 to the Rams.

So tonight’s game comes down to the No. 2 seed Charlotte, who missed out on their fourth consecutive regular season crown by a mere two points, and No. 3 seed Fordham, who won five of their final six conference games to make it to their fourth consecutive A-10 tournament and sixth overall. Charlotte holds the all-time series advantage at 4-1-1, but the teams are tied in the postseason with one win a piece.

Both teams have seen success in the conference postseason with Charlotte claiming the last two titles and Fordham making appearances in the 2006 and 2007 championship games. Of course, the 49ers defeated the Rams in the ’07 title game, behind A-10 tournament MVP, Hailey Beam who scored once and assisted on another goal to give Charlotte the automatic bid.

Charlotte’s two-time A-10 Tournament MVP could be the 49ers key to winning their third straight conference title as the senior midfielder has confessed to hate losing and being an extremely competitive person. This was quite evident after Beam led Charlotte to a duo of come-from-behind victories against George Washington and Saint Joseph’s.

Everyone knows that one player can’t win a game and so when Charlotte’s starting eleven steps onto the field tonight against their first foe of the 2009 postseason those chills and nerves and even butterflies will turn into nerves of steel as Charlotte goes after another postseason crown.

-- Patrick McCoy, 49ers Media Relations --

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