Monday, October 31, 2011

Football field name coming

The name of the 49ers' football field will be announced at a Tuesday news conference at the site of where the stadium is being constructed.

Look for the field to be named after a family or group of donors. It's not uncommon for college football programs to name the fields, in addition to the stadiums -- they're usually  referred to as (Fill the blank/usually a donor) Field at (Fill in the blank/somtimes naming rights) Stadium.

The 15,000-seat stadium has been under construction since April for the football program that begins play in 2013.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Men's soccer team focusing on postseason

As the Charlotte 49ers prepare to bid farewell to their men’s senior soccer players this weekend with a pair of games at home, sophomore midfielder Tyler Gibson offers this reminder about the team’s goals:

“We still want to win the Atlantic 10 regular season, then win the tournament championship,” said Gibson. “Then we want to win the national championship.”

The 23rd-ranked 49ers (10-3-2, 3-1-2 Atlantic 10) are well positioned for the first two. The third? For a team that has played as challenging a nonconference schedule as Charlotte has this season, it’s not entirely out of the question.

A 2-1 overtime victory at traditional-power Virginia, followed by a competitive, 3-1 loss at top-ranked Maryland helped push Charlotte into the national spotlight. The 49ers also opened their season with a victory against 13th-ranked Coastal Carolina. Only unsatisfying trips to Philadelphia and New York last week – which produced a 2-2 tie with La Salle and a 1-0 loss to Fordham – has cast a bit of a cloud on Charlotte’s season.

“That was kind of one of our weaker weekends,” said Gibson, who has two goals and three assists this season.

Charlotte’s road to the postseason isn’t assured. The 14-team Atlantic 10 tournament (Nov. 10-13 in St. Louis) includes only six teams. Charlotte is in fourth place with 11 points, but just one point behind Fordham, Dayton and La Salle who are tied for first with 12 points each, heading into Friday's game against defending league champ Xavier, currently in fifth place with 10 points (9-3-2, 3-2-1) and Sunday’s game against Dayton (5-11, 4-2).

When it comes to the 48-team NCAA tournament, the 49ers have found themselves a safety net. Their high RPI, currently 17, would give them a strong shot at an at-large spot if they don’t win the automatic berth that comes with the league tournament title.

“It’s good to have that, but we don’t want to have to rely on it,” said coach Jeremy Gunn.

The 49ers will honor seniors Isaac Cowles, Charles Rodriguez, T.J. Beaulieu, Evan James, Matt Wallace, Gavin Dawson, Jason Hawes, Tyler Duncan and Paul Willoughby on Sunday.

-- Charlotte’s women (6-8-4, 3-3-1) are tied for sixth in the Atlantic 10, heading into their final regular-season games Friday at Xavier and Sunday at Dayton. The 49ers are led by Macky Wingo, who has six goals and four assists.

-- The Atlantic 10 cross-country championships are Saturday at Concord’s Frank Liske Park, with the men’s 8K race beginning at 10 a.m. and the women’s 5K at 10:45. The host Charlotte 49ers are led on the women’s side by 2008 A-10 champ Amanda Goetschius and on the men’s side by Daweet Dagnachew. Richmond is the defending champion in both the men’s and women’s events.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

49ers women 4th in preseason poll

The Charlotte 49ers, coming off a school-record 27 victories, have been chosen fourth in the Atlantic 10's preseason women's basketball poll.

Charlotte was 27-10 last season and advanced to the Women's NIT semifinals. New coach Cara Consuegra has three starters back from that team, including senior guard Epiphany Woodson, a preseason first-team all-conference selection. Junior forward Jennifer Hailey made the second team and also was a first-team all-defensive selection.

The 49ers' run to the WNIT semifinals came during the program's ninth consecutive year in the postseason.
"We're trying to embrace that," said Consuegra, who comes from Charlotte from Marquette, where she was an assistant. "We haven't come in trying to do everything different, our way. We've tried to take the traditions we already have hear and incorporate that into the culture we're building here."

Charlotte opens its season on Nov. 11 at Halton Arena against Presbyterian.

Dayton and Temple tied for first in the preseason poll, followed by Duquesne in third. Defending champ Xavier, which loses four starters, was picked seventh. Woodson is joined by Temple guards Kristen McCarthy and Shey Peddy, Dayton forward Justine Raterman and St. Bonaventure forward Megan Van Tatenhove on the preseason all-conference first team.

Preseason predicted order of finish

1. Dayton (7), 189
    Temple (7), 189
3. Duquesne, 159
4. Charlotte, 141
5. Saint Joseph's, 129
6. St. Bonaventure, 125
7. Xavier, 119
8. Richmond, 112
9. George Washington, 73
10. Massachusetts, 70
11. La Salle, 65
12. Fordham, 42
13. Rhode Island, 31
14. Saint Louis, 26

Preseason all-conference
First Team
Kristen McCarthy, G, Temple; Shey Peddy, G, Temple; Justine Raterman, F, Dayton; Megan Van Tatenhove, F, St. Bonaventure; Epiphany Woodson, G, Charlotte.
Second Team
Vanessa Abel, G; Duquesne; Wumi Agunbiade, F, Duquesne; Michelle Baker, G, Saint Joseph's; Jennifer Hailey, F, Charlotte; Abby Oliver, G, Richmond.
Third Team
Alex Gensler, F, Duquesne; Jessica Jenkins, G, St. Bonaventure; Patrice Lalor, G, Dayton; Tyeasha Moss, G, Xavier; Jasmine Woodson, C, Massachusetts.
Michelle Baker, G, Saint Joseph's; Vanessa Abel, G, Duquesne; Jennifer Haley, F, Charlotte; Casey Nance, C, Dayton; Shey Peddy, G, Temple.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's Basketball Madness at Halton Arena

WHAT: Charlotte 49ers’ Basketball Madness, the school’s annual tip-off event for the men’s and women’s teams.

WHEN: Thursday, 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

WHERE: Halton Arena


WHAT TO WATCH: Look for the unveiling of the new-look “Norm the Niner,” the school’s mascot. … The men’s team, which returns four starters under second-year coach Alan Major, will hold its annual slam-dunk contest. …First-year women’s coach Cara Consuegra will showcase three returning starters and 10 letter winners from last season’s team that reached the Women’s National Invitation Tournament’s Final Four and won a school-record 27 games.

IF YOU CAN’T ATTEND: Basketball Madness will be streamed live on and broadcast live on Time Warner Cable for Mecklenburg County subscribers.

- Harry Pickett

Friday, October 14, 2011

49ers get basketball started

Observations from the Charlotte 49ers' first basketball practice, which tipped off today at 5 p.m. Charlotte is coming off a 10-20 season in which the 49ers failed to qualify for the Atlantic 10 tournament. Four starters return, with seven new scholarship players also coming into the program.

-- "Options." That was the word coach Alan Major used to describe the 15 players he saw on the court. Last season -- due to suspension, eligibility issues and injuries -- Major often had just two scholarship players on the bench. Now, with freshmen Pierria Henry, E. Victor Nickerson, Mike Thorne and Terrence Williams, transfers DeMario Mayfield and Ilija Ivankovic and sophomore Luka Voncina (who sat out last year due to eligibility issues), Major has a lot from which to choose.

-- Many of those options come from players like Mayfield, Nickerson and Williams, who can all play on the wing. The starting backcourt of Deuce Briscoe and Derrio Green is back. Both guards played heavy minutes last year, which might be why they each averaged about three turnovers per game and shot less than 40 percent.  Henry and Voncina will provide depth -- if not push for those starting spots.

-- If there's a spot where the 49ers are thin, it's in the post. Starter Chris Braswell is back, as is K.J. Sherrill. The only other guys with any size are Ivankovic (6-10) and Thorne (6-10), but they'll need to develop quickly to contribute. Senior Javarris Barnett (6-7) might be asked to play some power forward, but he's more of a perimeter player.

-- Green, the team's leading returning scorer (13.0), worked on his shooting a lot over the summer. That's good, because he made just 33.4 percent of his shots last season and is a 34.9 percent shooter for his career.

--  The nonconference schedule, which opens at home against N.C. Central on Nov. 11, lacks pizazz.  Most attractive home games are Dec. 10 against Davidson and Dec. 22 against Miami. The end of December brings two compelling games -- at Arkansas on Dec. 28 and at Memphis on Dec. 31.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

49ers 11th in preseason poll

Charlotte's men's basketball team has been selected to finish 11th in the Atlantic 10 in the league's preseason poll. Xavier is the preseason favorite, followed by Temple.

49ers forward Chris Braswell and guard Derrio Green were both third-team preseason all-conference selections.

Here's what was decided at the league's media day Thursday in Brooklyn, N.Y.:

Preseason order of finish:

1. Xavier (18) 304
2. Temple (4) 287
3. Saint Louis 239
4. St. Bonaventure 217
5. Richmond 196
6. Dayton 168
7. St. Joseph’s 165
8. George Washington 163
9. Duquesne 151
10. Rhode Island 117
11. Charlotte 115
12. Massachusetts 107
13. La Salle 52
14. Fordham 29

All conference
Name School Pos. Yr. Hometown PPG RPG APG
Tu Holloway XU G Sr. Hempstead, N.Y. 19.7 5.0 5.4
Andrew Nicholson SBU F Sr. Mississauga, Ontario 20.8 7.3 1.0
Ramone Moore TU G Sr. Philadelphia, Pa. 15.2 4.2 3.1
Juan Fernandez TU G Sr. Rio Tercero, Argentina 11.2 2.9 3.9
Tony Taylor GW G Sr. Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. 15.0 3.3 4.6

Second team
Name School Pos. Yr. Hometown PPG RPG APG
Mark Lyons XU G Jr. Schenectady, N.Y. 13.6 3.1 3.1
Chris Gaston FOR F Jr. Union City, N.J. 15.9 11.3 1.3
*Kwamain Mitchell SLU G R-Jr. Milwaukee, Wis. 15.9 3.0 3.0
Chris Johnson UD F Sr. Columbus, Ohio 11.9 6.0 1.6
Kenny Frease XU C Sr. Massillon, Ohio 11.7 7.1 1.2

*Stats are from the 2009-2010 Season

Third team
Name School Pos. Yr. Hometown PPG RPG APG
T.J. McConnell DUQ G Soph. Pittsburgh, Pa. 10.8 3.8 4.4
Carl Jones SJU G Jr. Garfield Heights, Ohio 17.0 2.6 3.4
Scootie Randall TU F Sr. Philadelphia, Pa. 10.7 4.7 1.4
Chris Braswell CHA F Jr. Capitol Heights, Md. 11.1 6.9 1.0
Derrio Green CHA G Sr. Panama City, Fla. 13.0 3.5 3.8

Name School Pos. Yr. Hometown PPG SPG BPG
C.J. Aiken SJU F Soph. Conshohocken, Pa. 7.4 0.4 3.5
Tu Holloway XU G Sr. Hempstead, N.Y. 19.7 1.4 0.1
Andrew Nicholson SBU F Sr. Mississauga, Ontario 20.8 0.5 1.5
T.J. McConnell DUQ G Soph. Pittsburgh, Pa. 10.8 2.8 0.2
Darrius Garrett UR F/C Sr. Raleigh, N.C. 1.9 0.1 1.6

Name School Pos. Yr. Hometown
Dezmine Wells XU G/F Fr. Raleigh, N.C.
Jerrell Wright LAS F Fr. Philadelphia, Pa.
Justin Martin XU F R-Fr. Indianapolis, Ind.
Cady LaLanne UM F Fr. Orlando, Fla.
Alonzo Nelson-Odada UR F Fr. Atlanta, Ga.
Anthony Lee TU F R-Fr. Columbia, Md.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Former 49er Withers invited to Pan Am tryouts

Former 49ers basketball star Curtis Withers has been invited to try out for the U.S. team that will play in the Pan Am Games later this month in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Withers, a 6-8 forward, left Charlotte in 2006 as the school's seventh-leading career scorer (1,750 points) and No. 3 rebounder (1,042). He also had 46 double-doubles, second all-time at Charlotte.

Withers' pro career has sent him just about everywhere. After being drafted by the Continental Basketball Association's Atlanta franchise, he's played in Turkey, Puerto Rico, France, Turkey (again), Venezuela, Israel, Mexico, Spain and China. He also played for the Dakota Wizards of the NBA's D League.

Withers (a West Charlotte High product) also has plenty of USA Basketball experience: He played for the 2004 USA U-20 team that won a world championship and played on the U21 team that finished fifth in 2005.

Monday, October 10, 2011

CAA going after 49ers, other A-10 schools?

As conference relignment uncertainty continues on the FBS level, the New York Times is reporting the Charlotte 49ers are one of three schools the Colonial Athletic Association might be trying to pry from the Atlantic 10. The CAA, according to the story, is also interested in Boston University of the America East.

The CAA would hope to add Charlotte, Richmond and George Washington from the Atlantic 10, according to the story.

There are a lot of moving parts to this:

This would obviously be a basketball move. The Atlantic 10 doesn't sponsor football; Richmond is already a football-only member of the CAA.  Charlotte, which starts football in 2013, has already told the CAA it would like to join, but as a football-playing member only -- an offer 49ers athletics director Judy Rose says the CAA declined.

The question, though, could become: Would joining the CAA in basketball (and other sports) become more attractive to Charlotte if Richmond and George Washington were to also go?

And, here's where it gets crazy again, the NYT story also says the Atlantic 10 could ask current CAA members Virginia Commonwealth and George Mason to join.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Football recruiting target nears return

North Davidson High quarterback Karsten Miller, who broke his leg in the Knights' season opener in August, might return to the Knights as early as next week.

Miller, who has been offered a scholarship by the 49ers, has been off crutches for a few weeks, according to coach Mark Holcomb. He's going to the doctor on Friday and, if he's cleared, could play in North Davidson's homecoming game Oct. 14 against West Forsyth. He had a rod inserted in his femur and was never in a cast.

Charlotte remains the only school to offer Miller a scholarship, and Holcomb said Miller had hoped he would received more offers had he stayed healthy this season.  But Holcomb said even if Miller receives other offers after he returns, Charlotte, for now at least, would remain the favorite.

A former North Davidson teammate of Miller's, offensive tackle Thomas Frazier, is a freshman at Charlotte and hopes to make the team as a walk-on. Frazier, 6-3, 285 pounds, played in the East-West All-Star game in Greensboro last summer. He only heard from Division II programs like Lenoir-Rhyne (although he also considered walking on at N.C. State.

Monday, October 3, 2011

49ers hoops teams in Uptown Tipoff

49ers news and notes

-- The 49ers men's and women's basketball teams will be uptown on Tuesday from 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. for their preseason Uptown Tipoff. The teams, along with coaches Alan Major and Cara Consuegra, will be at the corner of Trade and Tryon streets, along with 49ers cheerleaders, the Gold Dusters dance team, the band and, of course, Norm the Niner. Several prizes and giveaways will be available.

-- Charlotte's men's soccer team stayed in the Soccer America rankings despite its 3-1 loss last week at Maryland. The 49ers dropped from 14th to 16th. They play their Atlantic 10 opener Saturday at UMass.

-- The 49ers golf team finished third in this weekend's Myers Invitational at Duke's Duke Golf Club. The Blue Devils won the event, followed by Baylor and Charlotte. The 49ers, who led the tournament entering Sunday's final round, were led by Raoul Menard, who finished tied for fourth individually with an even-par 216.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Power forward commits to 49ers

Willie Clayton, a 6-8 senior power forward from Thomasville (Ga.) High, committed to the 49ers today.

Clayton is ranked 47th in the country among power forwards by He chose the 49ers over Mercer.

He's the second commitment picked up by coach Alan Major for 2012. Shaun Lester, a 6-2 shooting guard from Mooresville, gave Charlotte a verbal commitment a few weeks ago. Lester and Clayton made their official visit to Charlotte together.