Monday, May 30, 2011

Hibbs is disappointed for fans

The NCAA baseball tournament uses a pod system similar to the one in its basketball tournament: It tries to keep participating teams close to home in the first round to save travel expenses and make it easier for fans to see the games.

The pod system didn’t work for the Charlotte 49ers on Monday, when they were sent to Tempe, Ariz., to face Arkansas in a first round game at 5 p.m. Friday.

“I’m disappointed for our fan base, which won’t be able to come watch us,” said Charlotte coach Loren Hibbs, whose team won the Atlantic 10 regular-season and tournament championships. “But it’s a good chance to keep developing our program.”

There were several other regionals that the 49ers could logically been expected to play in: Chapel Hill, Columbia, Clemson, S.C., Atlanta and Charlottesville, Va.

Instead, the 49ers (42-14) will be a No. 3 seed, facing the second-seed Razorbacks (38-20) in the double-elimination regional. The region’s other first-round game has No. 1 and host Arizona State (39-16) going against No. 4 New Mexico (20-39).

The winner of the Tempe regional will play in a super-regional next week in Austin, Texas.

“It was a surprise,” Hibbs said of Charlotte’s trip to the desert. “The pod system is supposed to make every regional as local as it can be. But I guess like they felt like they needed to sent us out west.”

The 49ers’ pitching staff has a 2.43 ERA, ranked third nationally. Arkansas’ team batting average of .270 ranked last in the SEC.

49ers to face Razorbacks in Tempe

The 49ers will face Arkansas in a first-round NCAA baseball tournament game in Tempe, Ariz.

Third-seed Charlotte (42-14) won last week's Atlantic 10 tournament and is playing in the tournament for the fifth time in the past five years.

Second-seed Arkansas (38-20) led the SEC with 114 stolen bases this season. It's the 10th season the Hogs have made the tournament.

Top-seed and host Arizona State will face No. 4 New Mexico in the other regional game.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

49ers track stars advance

Charlotte 49ers junior Jake Deaton closed out his NCAA East preliminary meet in Bloomington, Ind., in Bloomington, Ind., by advancing to the men's discus NCAA outdoor track and field championships' finals.

Senior Darius Law pulled up in the 200 meters with a tight hamstring, but will be fine for the 400 meters at the finals. Senior Keara Thomas qualified for the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday.

-- Observer News Services

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

49ers requesting basketball APR be adjusted

The Charlotte 49ers had three programs -- golf, men's cross country and women's tennis -- with perfect graduation rates from school years from 2006-07 to to 2009-10, according to the NCAA's academic progress rate figures released last week.

But if there might have been a point of concern for Charlotte, it was the men's basketball APR of 923 for the 2009-10 season. Any score below 925 for that combined four-year period can result in the loss of scholarships. And although the basketball program's four-year APR is a safe 950, the 923 for 2009-10 would have raised some eyebrows and been worthy of scrutiny.

Charlotte, however, is requesting that 923 score be adjusted by the NCAA (sorry, no specifics due to privacy rules). If it does -- and I'm told school compliance officials are fairly confident that it will -- the basketball team's new APR for 2009-10 would be 960.

49ers need to win A-10 tournament

The 49ers' top-seeded baseball team is practicing today at Penn as it prepares for the Atlantic 10 tournament in Camden, N.J.

Charlotte, which won the regular-season title and is 39-14, will play the winner of today's noon matchup between No. 4 Xavier and No. 5 Richmond at noon on Thursday.

Conference pitcher of the year Andrew Smith (5-2, 1.38 in Atlantic 10 games) will start for the 49ers. Bret Williams, who shut out the 49ers 3-0 earlier this season, will start for the Spiders.

They're going to need to win the A-10 tournament, though, to get a bid to the NCAA tournament. Charlotte's RPI of 89 is too low (although the 49ers have a victory over No. 1 RPI North Carolina this season). You can mostly thank the Atlantic 10's league RPI of 19th for the 49ers' low team ranking.

I'll have a feature on right fielder Justin Wilson, who's hitting .345, in Thursday's Observer.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

49ers rack up A-10 annual honors

Charlotte's Andrew Smith was named Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year, and teammate Tyler Barnette was A-10 Rookie of the Year in voting by the league's baseball coaches.

Charlotte's Cory Tilton was named student-athlete of the year in a vote of the league's sports information directors.

Catcher Ross Steedley was first-team all-conference.

-- Observer News Services

Saturday, May 21, 2011

49ers baseball team takes series finale

After sitting through 3 1/2 hours of delays on Friday, Charlotte and Dallas Baptist finished the second game of the weekend baseball series Saturday and played a third game, with the teams splitting the results.

Dallas Baptist (39-17) won the delayed game 12-8 and Charlotte (39-14) took the series finale 8-2.

The 49ers will be the top seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament, which starts Wednesday in Camden, N.J. The 49ers earned a bye and will play Thursday.

--Observer News Services

49ers golf team places 7th at regional

The Charlotte 49ers golf team placed seventh at NCAA Central Regional at Zionsville, Ind., two spots short of advancing to their fourth NCAA Championship. The top five teams from the regional - Michigan, Illinois, Alabama, Tennessee and Iowa - advanced to the NCAA Championship.

Charlotte was led by Will Golden and Paul Ferrier, who both shot 1-over 72 in the final round; Andy Sajevic added a 2-over 73. The 49ers shot an 8-over, 292 in the final round to finish with a three-day total of 23-over 875. Michigan won at 11-under 841.

-- Observer News Services

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Another honor for Law

Charlotte senior sprinter Darius Law was named the Atlantic 10's track and field scholar-athlete of the year for a third consecutive season on Thursday.

Law, who had a perfect, 4.0 GPA, is getting ready for the NCAA Regionals next week in Bloomington, Ind. Charlotte's Aaron Kauffman and Laura McCary also made the A-10's academic all-conference team.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

49ers sign Ivankovic

The Charlotte 49ers have signed former United Faith Christian center Ilija Ivankovic. Ivankovic has played the past two seasons at two junior colleges -- Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla., last season and San Jacinto (Texas) College in 2009-10.

The 6-foot-10 Ivankovic will have two seasons of eligibility remaining. He’s the fifth player signed by the 49ers for next season, joining center Mike Thorne of Fayetteville, forward E. Victor Nickerson of Norcross, Ga., and guards Terrence Williams of Charlotte and Pierria Henry of South Charleston, W.Va.

Monday, May 16, 2011

49ers news and notes

Been off for a week, so let's get caught up:

-- A source tells me Charlotte's men's basketball team is in the process of signing junior-college transfer Ilija Ivankovic, a 6-10 center from San Jacinto (Texas) College. Ivankovic played in high school at Charlotte's United Faith Christian Academy and is a native of Split, Croatia. Expect something official later this week after the 49ers' compliance office does its due diligence.

-- When you write about the 49ers golf team, you have to use the word "consecutive" a lot. Charlotte, which has now won six consecutive Atlantic 10 championships, will play in its seventh consecutive NCAA tournament, beginning this week with a regional Thursday-Saturday at Bloomington, Ind. Charlotte is seeded 10th for the event at Bloomington's Wolf Run Golf Club. The five top teams and the best finisher not on one of those teams advance to the national finals May 31-June 5 at Stillwater, Okla.

-- The 49ers have clinched at least the second seed (and a first-round bye) in the A-10 baseball tournament and can win the league's regular-season title this weekend -- but they'll have to do it watching from afar. Charlotte (38-12, 17-7) is finished with its league season and trails first-place Rhode Island (29-17, 15-6) by a few percentage points. If the Rams lose one game in their three-game series this week at Dayton, Charlotte will win the regular-season title by tiebreaker (the 49ers won their series against Rhode Island earlier this season). Charlotte ends its regular season this weekend at Dallas Baptist (37-15).

-- Bids for the NCAA track regional will be released Thursday and Charlotte's Darius Law (200, 400 meters), Keara Thomas (3K steeplechase) and Jake Deaton (shot put, discus) are certain to be invited. Other possibilities are Sam Jordan (100 meters), Amanda Goetschius (5K and 10K), Aaron Kauffman (800 meters) and the men's 4x100 relay team.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

49er hire assistant for Consuegra

Charlotte 49ers women's basketball coach Cara Consuegra announced the hiring of Karen Lange as assistant coach.

Lange, a Raleigh native and former Iowa Hawkeyes star, spent the past season as head coach at MidAmerica Nazarene University.

She was previously an assistant at Kansas and at Virginia Tech.

-- Staff

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Atlantic 10 softball tournament preview

Fifth-seeded Charlotte hopes home-field advantage can work some magic. The 49ers open the tournament Wednesday with a 1 p.m. game against fourth-seeded Temple.

-- Staff

Friday, May 6, 2011

Athletes honored at banquet

Here's a list of honors won at the 49ers' All Sports Banquet on Wednesday:

Women's Soccer
MVP - Megan Minnix

Men's Soccer
David Schlee Memorial Award - Tyler Gibson
MVP - Andres Cuero

Coaches Award - Sheri Davis
MVP - Kat Hicks
Bonnie Cone Award - Jenna Litoborski

Women's Cross Country
Vincent Vernitsky Award - Hana Sutchar
MVP - Laura McCary

Men's Cross Country
Vincent Vernitsky Award- Brian McGuire
MVP - Daweet Dagnachew

Men's Basketball
Charles Hayward Memorial Grubstake Award - Colby Lewis
Hugh McEniry Award - Colby Lewis
Most Improved Player - Javarris Barnett

Women's Basketball
Gold Nugget Award - Epiphany Woodson
MVP - Shannon McCallum

Women's Track and Field
2011 Indoor Track MVP - Briauna Jones
2010 Outdoor Track MVP - Amanda Goetschius

Men's Track and Field
2011 Indoor Track MVP - Darius Law
2010 Outdoor Track MVP - Adu Dentamo
Hugh McEniry Award - Macey Ruble
Hugh McEniry Award - Darius Law

Spirit Group
Cheerleading MVP - Shanicia Boston
Gold Duster Most Outstanding Performer - Grace Wallace

Men's Tennis
MVP - Charles Martin-LeComp

Women's Tennis
MVP - Gaby Vergara

2010 MVP - Corey Nagy

2010 MVP - Pat Lawson
Hugh McEniry Award - Shane Basen

2010 MVP - Emily Jeffery

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Consuegra retains Gregory

New 49ers women's basketball coach Cara Consuegra has retained assistant Sabrina Gregory on the team's coaching staff. Eric McCombs, the team's director of basketball operations, will also stay on.

Another Charlotte assistant, Angela Ortega, joined former coach Karen Aston at North Texas. Ken Griffin didn't go with Aston to North Texas and wasn't retained by Consuegra.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

VIDEO: Brad Lambert plays golf at Quail Hollow

Video of Charlotte 49ers football coach playing golf at Quail Hollow Club in Monday's Wells Fargo Championship pro-am:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lambert teaming with Steph Curry

-- 49ers football coach Brad Lambert is playing in the Wells Fargo Championship's pro-am at Quail Hollow Club this morning, teeing off at 11:10 from the first tee.

Lambert is playing in a star-studded foursome, joined by the father-son combo of Dell and Stephen Curry and Charlotte police chief Rodney Monroe. We'll see if there was any 49ers-Davidson trash talk between Stephen Curry and Lambert went on.

-- Charlotte made history Sunday at the Atlantic 10 golf championships in Florida. The 49ers won a sixth straight title, the first time that's happened in any sport in league history. Charlotte's total of 881 edged second-place Xavier's 886. The 49ers' top individual finisher was Andy Sajevic, who was third with a three-day total of 216.

-- The 49ers baseball team took two of three at UMass over the weekend, winning Sunday 17-6. Charlotte (34-10, 13-5) remains in first place in the A-10.

-- Charlotte's softball team clinched a spot in the A-10 softball tournament over the weekend, splitting two games with Dayton. The 49ers (26-22, 10-6) host the tournament May 11-14.