Sunday, November 30, 2008

Salvaggione named Hermann Trophy finalist

Charlotte 49ers men's soccer senior forward Chris Salvaggione has been named one of 15 semifinalists for the 2008 Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy. The Hermann Trophy is awarded annually to the top player in collegiate soccer.

The semifinalists will be narrowed down to three finalists on Dec. 12. The three finalists will be invited to the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis for a news conference on Jan. 9 when the winner will be announced.

This season, Salvaggione, a transfer from Gardner-Webb, was named Atlantic 10 Offensive Player of the Year as well as first-team all-A-10 for the second straight season. He led the league in goals (15) and points (38). His 15 goals are the fourth highest single-season total in school history and the most goals scored by a Charlotte player since Doug Pratt scored 18 goals in 1992.

Salvaggione earned A-10 Player of the Week honors twice this season. He also was a two-time member of the Soccer America, College Soccer News and national teams of the week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Niners women vs. Wake, noon Wednesday

The Charlotte 49ers women's basketball team will take on Wake Forest in a special pre-Thanksgiving noon tipoff at Halton Arena on Wednesday. The 49ers (3-1) have won their past two games while the Deacons come into the game undefeated (3-0).

Charlotte has won 39 of its past 47 home games, including a school-record 22-game streak during the stretch. Since 2001-02, the 49ers are 81-16 in Halton Arena.

Wake Forest leads the overall series 6-4 and has won the past two meeting. However, the 49ers won the last meeting between the schools in Charlotte, a 90-87 triple overtime thriller in 1993.

The 49ers are running a "lunch special" for the game, where fans can get lunch and admission to the game for $8. A game ticket comes with a Bojangles chicken supremes combo and regular-sized drink.

Students, in droves, attend Clemson game

If you thought there was a large student turnout at Halton Arena on Saturday night for the Charlotte-Clemson men's basketball game, the ticket numbers back you up.

According to John George, the 49ers' assistant athletic director for ticket operations, 4,373 student tickets were used for the game, a 71-70 Clemson victory. In 9,105-seat Halton Arena, there are 4,500 seats reserved for students.

Saturday's mark was the largest student turnout since the homecoming game with Southern Mississippi in the 2004-05 season, for which all 4,500 student tickets were used. Since the 2001-02 season, student turnout has surpassed 4,000 just nine times, including Saturday.

-- Jim Utter

Monday, November 24, 2008

Niners' Nagy wins long drive competition

Charlotte 49ers golfer and former Vance High standout Corey Nagy has already won one competition as the 34th annual Western Refining all-America Classic gets under way at the El Paso (Tex.) Country Club. The classic is an invitation-only, individual event featuring players who earned all-America honors the previous season.

Sunday, Nagy crushed a 353-yard drive to win the 2008 Titleist Long Drive competition. His drive is just the third over 350 yards in the history of the competition. Tournament play started this morning.

"At every tournament, (Nagy) showed flashes of brilliance and highly competitive rounds. As he continues to develop the areas he's worked so hard on, namely the mental focus of the game and stays diligent on his creativity and shot selection, he's going to continue to enjoy the success he's already had here," said Charlotte golf coach Jamie Green.

Last year, Nagy and 49ers teammate Andrew DiBitetto competed in the event. Nagy tied for ninth and won the PING Putting Contest.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Notes: Andersen on fire in first half of Clemson-Charlotte game

Some more notes from the Charlotte 49ers' 71-70 loss to Clemson at Halton Arena on Saturday night:

Charlotte's Ian Andersen led all scorers with a career-high 21 points. He hit 7-of-11 3-pointers and his seven 3s tied for second-most in Halton Arena history, two shy of the arena record of nine set by Leemire Goldwire last season in the 49ers' win over Davidson.

Andersen scored 15 of his 21 in first half and almost single-handedly kept the 49ers in the game.

"I think a lot of my points (in the first half) came from DiJuan (Harris) driving down and (Clemson) was kind of sagging off and I was able to run the wing and he flew down the floor and hit me," Andersen said.

"In the second half (Andersen had six points), I think Clemson maybe didn't sag off as much and the openings on the break were not as often as the first."

There was one common bright spot mentioned after the game by Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz as well as most anyone associated with the team - the game atmosphere and accompanying large student turn out.

"It sounds like me saying the same old song and dance but the students were just phenomenal. They've rallied the last two years. I couldn't me more happy professionally or personally," Lutz said. "It's humbling, really, the way they have adopted this group of guys and me.

"It just kills us not to get victories when they are here like they were tonight. It was back to the good old days (Saturday). We've had a good atmosphere a lot, but the (student) numbers were just so big tonight."

Unfortunately for Charlotte fans - and fans of Clemson in the Charlotte area - it doesn't appear the two-year home-and-home series between the 49ers and Tigers will be renewed any time soon. "Right now, they don't want to extend (the agreement)," Lutz said.

"It's understandable; every team has to do what's right for them. I would hope maybe we could consider doing it again based on the experiences we've had. What we try to do so desperately to do is get folks that are this good to come in here. It was terrific tonight."

-- Jim Utter

Friday, November 21, 2008

Niners selected for 2009 preseason NIT

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team has been selected to participate in next season's National Invitation Tournament Season Tip-Off Tournament, formerly known as the Preseason NIT.

Charlotte athletics director Judy Rose confirmed the 49ers had accepted the invitation. Under the tournament's new format each school is guaranteed a minimum of four games over the course of consecutive weeks.

Next season will be the 49ers' first appearance in the preseason tournament. No opponents or game locations have yet been announced.

Under the current format, there are four regional on-campus sites that each produce a regional winner that advances to the final four in New York City. The remaining 12 teams play third and fourth-round games on the home campus sites of the three highest remaining seeds.

Participating teams do not play any team twice, and third and fourth rounds are assigned to the most geographically compatible site possible.

For example, this season Davidson played in the Oklahoma regional of the tournament. After going 1-1 and losing to the Sooners, the Wildcats are now hosting three other teams in third and fourth round games Monday and Tuesday.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Home opener for 49ers' women Friday

The Charlotte 49ers women's basketball team makes its season debut at Halton Arena at 7 p.m. Friday against Alabama-Birmingham. The 49ers have won their past seven home openers.

Charlotte enters the game 2-1, fresh off a victory over Southern California and close loss to N.C. State in the Wolfpack's tournament and a win on the road at Hampton.

Sophomore Shannon McCallum leads Charlotte in scoring, averaging 12.0 points a game and is tied for the lead in rebounding (7.3 rpg). She earned her first career double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds) in Charlotte's win over Southern Cal.

The 49ers have won 38 of their past 46 home games, which includes a school-record 22-game streak during the stretch.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

FSL reservations reach 4,703

At the close of business on Monday, the Charlotte 49ers had received reservations for 4,703 Forty-Niner Seat Licenses (FSLs). At a price of $1,000 each, that could translate into more than $4.7 million for the creation of a football program.

At this time, no money is being accepted by the ticket office. The 49ers will begin collecting money in January. Final approval to begin raising money for a football program came from the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees last week. The recommendation of the school's chancellor, Dr. Philip Dubois, calls for the sale of 5,000 FSLs within six months of the board's approval.

Interested fans and corporations can add their names to the reservation list by calling the 49ers ticket office at (704) 687-4949 or the 49ers Athletic Foundation at (704) 687-4950.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Trivia contest: Win tickets to Clemson game

Here is your chance to win two tickets and two halftime hospitality passes to the Charlotte 49ers men's basketball game on Dec. 22 with Clemson at Halton Arena.

The seats are located in Section 216, Row J, Seats 1 and 2.

To win you must correctly answer the following 49ers trivia question, and in your response you must include your name and contact email address.

A random drawing will be made among correct entries prior to the start of the 49ers' game at Appalachian State on Wednesday.

I will contact the winner right away and assure they get the tickets in time for the game.

Question: What returning Charlotte 49ers men's basketball player is listed taller on this season's official team roster than he was on last year's roster?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

FSL reservations reach 4,167

At the close of business on Wednesday, the Charlotte 49ers had received reservations for 4,167 Forty-Niner Seat Licenses (FSLs). At a price of $1,000 each, that could translate into more than $4.1 million for the creation of a football program.

At this time, no money is being accepted by the ticket office. The 49ers must await the final decision of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees, which should come today, before money can be accepted. The recommendation of the school's chancellor, Dr. Philip Dubois, called for the sale of 5,000 FSLs within six months of the board's approval.

Interested fans and corporations can add their names to the reservation list by calling the 49ers ticket office at (704) 687-4949 or the 49ers Athletic Foundation at (704) 687-4950.

49ers' Beam honored by Soccer America

Charlotte 49ers junior midfielder Hailey Beam was named to Soccer America's national team of the week for her performance in last weekend's Atlantic 10 tournament. It is the third time this season Beam has been named to the national team.

Beam was named the A-10 championship's most outstanding player for the second straight season after helping the 49ers to their second consecutive tournament title. She scored two of Charlotte's three goals during the championship, including game-winners in both of Charlotte's wins.

The 49ers open play in the NCAA Tournament on Friday against Tennessee at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill. The winner plays the winner of the North Carolina-Western Carolina game on Sunday in the second round.

Niner Nation Gold ramping up

With the 2008-09 basketball season about to kick off for the Charlotte 49ers, Niner Nation Gold is set to unveil what it hopes is its most successful season yet. If you aren't familiar, NNG is a student-led booster club based on campus under the direction of current president Robert Demetrious. The organization is in its second year and has already doubled its enrollment to 340 active members.

The group's goal is to help create school spirit, loyalty, tradition and honor and pride in the school and its athletic programs. Students, alumni and fans may join NNG. The cost is $20, which goes to the athletic fund.

Those contributing get an official Niner Nation Gold T-shirt; eight loyalty points that roll over as alumni and counted toward FSLs in football; a 49ers car decal and lapel pin; opportunity for priority lower level seating for men's and women's basketball; and the opportunity to meet 49ers coaches and players.

For more information, you can visit the organization's Web site or watch a promotional video.
You can also register at the 49ers ticket office. For more information, call the ticket office at (704) 687-4949; or Demetrious at (910) 297-0912.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Women's soccer: NCAA gametimes set

Update on Charlotte 49ers women's soccer schedule this weekend:

On Friday, The North Carolina Tar Heels, the No. 1 seed in the region, will play Western Carolina at 5 p.m. at Fetzer Field. Later the same day at 7:30 p.m. Tennessee, the SEC tournament champion, will play Charlotte, the Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament champions.

The winners of the two first-round games will meet on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Fetzer Field in the second round. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Call the ticket office at (800) 722-4335 for more information.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Reservations for FSLs exceed 4,000

At the close of business on Friday, the Charlotte 49ers had received reservations for 4,010 Forty-Niner Seat Licenses (FSLs). At a price of $1,000 each, that could translate into more than $4 million for the creation of a football program.

At this time, no money is being accepted by the ticket office. The 49ers must await the final decision of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees, which will come this month, before money can be accepted. The recommendation of the school's chancellor, Dr. Philip Dubois, called for the sale of 5,000 FSLs within six months of the board's approval.

Interested fans and corporations can add their names to the reservation list by calling the 49ers ticket office at (704) 687-4949 or the 49ers Athletic Foundation at (704) 687-4950.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Students, in droves, attend exhibition

Could the Charlotte 49ers' exhibition win over Pfeiffer on Thursday night be a sign of things to come this season? And we're not talking about wins and losses here.

By game time Thursday, 3,025 student tickets were distributed, including 1,799 that were requested prior to the day of the game, according to officials in the 49ers ticket office.

To compare, in the 2006-07 season, there were 518 students tickets picked up in advance for the exhibition game. In 2007-08, 606 advance student tickets were requested for the exhibition.

In the 9,105 seating capacity of Halton Arena, 4,500 seats are reserved for students. It is possible that either at the season opener next Friday or the Nov. 22 home game against Clemson - or both - Charlotte could reach full capacity in student tickets.

Last season during the regular season, student ticket distribution averaged about 2,800 per game, according to the ticket office. With the most student tickets distributed last year about 3,600.

With more than 3,000 students attending this season's exhibition, it will be interesting how this season's numbers compare.

Former Niner Busch is MLS' top goalkeeper

Former Charlotte 49ers men's soccer all-American, Jon Busch, who now plays for the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer, has been named the 2008 MLS goalkeeper of the year. The award is voted on by MLS players, general managers, coaches, referees and media.

Busch, who has played in the MLS the past six years, has started and played all 2,700 minutes of the Fire's 30-game regular season during which the Fire finished second in the Eastern Conference with a 13-10-7 record. He leads the league in shutouts (10), saves percentage (.782) and is second in goals-against-average (1.10).

At Charlotte, Busch helped lead the 49ers to the NCAA Tournament semifinals and a school-record 19 wins in the 1996 season, during which he recorded a career-high 12 shutouts and a career-low 0.89 goals-against-average.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Soccer, volleyball notables

Some more Charlotte 49ers notables this week:

  • Senior men's soccer forward Chris Salvaggione earned several weekly awards after scoring four goals in Charlotte wins over Duquesne and St. Bonaventure last weekend. He was named Atlantic 10 player of the week and was also named to the College Soccer News national team of the week. Salvaggione leads the A-10 with 15 goals.
  • Senior setter Courtney Cowles of Charlotte recorded her first career triple-double with 43 assists, 13 digs and 10 kills in the 49ers' 3-1 volleyball win over Presbyterian. Cowles was named A-10 co-player of the week.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

49ers tip off with 'secret' scrimmage vs. UNCW

The Charlotte 49ers got a completely unofficial - and secret - start off to the 2008-09 men's basketball season Saturday, putting in a well-rounded and dominating performance over UNC Wilmington at Halton Arena in the teams' non-public preseason scrimmage.

Official statistics were not kept, but the Observer received several reports highlighting some individual performances from the game. They include:

- Charlotte was much more physical than the Seahawks and had a big advantage inside. Senior forward Lamont Mack was deadly from 3-point range and center Phil Jones continued his strong preseason play in the post.

- Small forward An'Juan Wilderness and point guard DiJuan Harris played well as did redshirt freshman Javarris Barnett, who knocked down a pair of 3-pointers. Sophomore Charles Dewhurst continues to improve in his role as backup point guard to Harris.

- The 49ers missed some free throws and RaShad Coleman struggled at times, but did a good job taking the ball to the rim. Charlie Coley had a pair of dunks.

The 49ers play their only public scrimmage of the season on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Halton Arena against Division II Pfeiffer.