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.



Anonymous said...

Sorry to say, but the editing of this article is bad...spelling and word usage is astonishly poor.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The 49ers were ranked NINTH. Did the Observer have to wait until they fell out of the top 20 to even include them in a BLOG? Wait. I see they are still ranked 14th. What gives?

Anonymous said...

Charlotte is ranked 14th. Not 23rd. Where did you come up with 23rd?

Anonymous said...

The 49ers RPI, when the entry was written, was 17th. This was mentioned. Let's leave the poll watching to the ACC. Polls are based on popularity and reputation, as well as a little bit on performance. They are not very useful or relevant, so who cares whether we are ranked 14th or 23rd? I just want us to maintain a top 20 rpi and get a first round bye in the NCAA. GO NINERS!

Anonymous said...

23rd in Soccer America. That is the toughest, oldest poll (and most poltical, too).

It is also the one poll The Observer references. David is a long-time soccer writer and fan of the sport.

Anonymous said...

Chris needs to come on here and ban some of the Niner fans criticizing the Observer.

Anonymous said...

So the Observer only references the most political poll? No other comment necessary.

Anonymous said...

The poll published by the Observer has ties to the ACC. Imagine that. The Observer conveniently made sure not to mention the Niner wins over all of this year's ACC opponentsthis year, with the exception of their loss to Number 1 ranked Maryland.