It’s that time again boys and girls!! Time for us to be submerged in the festive chatter of anxiously awaiting fans and to get absolutely rarin’ to go with the help of A Million Voicesby Otto Knows engulfing Transamerica Field, echoing across the entire campus of UNC Charlotte.
The boys are back! Yes, after an exhausting 5 game road trip (that lasted from September 15th to this past Sunday, where they posted a 2-2-1 record), the Niners finally return to the Queen City looking to extend their 16 game home undefeated streak. This won’t be an easy feat though, as both opponents come in ready to knock Charlotte out of the national rankings. Let’s get started.
The 49ers kick off their parade Friday with a 7pm roundabout with yet another “Rams” squad only this one presiding from Fordham. These Rams sport a 4-4-1 record (0-1-0 in conference play and 1-3-1 on the highway). Don’t be fooled! Fordham beat a tough #22 Brown team earlier in their campaign and are capable of magic (not literally, but you know what I mean). Although, since that upset in Providence, Rhode Island, the Rams have posted a meager 0-2-1 record on the expressway.
These boys from the Bronx are led by #9 sophomore Kalle Sotka who’s cashed in 2 goals, 1 assist, and 23 boots, a fellow Hermann Trophy candidate #6 junior Nathaniel Bekoe (Charlotte’s being Tyler Gibson), and playmaker #16 freshman Kyle Bitterman, along with several players that have tallies on the score sheet that don’t clearly showcase a star but more of a solid team front to back.
Fordham has only given up 6 goals in 852:51 minutes. They have been outscored 3 to 1 in the 1st half, then commit the outscoring in the 2nd half and overtime 3 to 2 and 2 to 1, capiche?
“Please no more fantastic facts!” you say, to where I reply “well then by golly let’s move on to the La Salle Explorers!”
Charlotte finishes this weekend’s showdown with a redezvous pitted against the Explorers of La Salle University, who are making the voyage south from Philly, PA. So far, La Salle is a mirror image of the Niners at 7-2-2 (1-0-0 in conference play and 3-1-1 on the parkway). The Explorers’ first conference victory came at the hands of Fordham, Charlotte’s Friday opponent. While Charlotte looks to play a similar card against the Rams, La Salle will be visiting the nation’s capital Friday, to take on the George Washington Colonials, then will continue “exploring” the south at Transamerica on Sunday at 1pm.
Navigating the seas for the Explorers are #4 freshman Joe Farrell who has 3 goals, 3 assists, and 31 shots, #10 junior Jason Plumhoff who has 3 goals, 2 assists, and 38 shots, and #14 sophomore Tom Baker who has 2 goals, 1 assist, and 28 shots.
The Explorers are 2-2 this season on Penalty Kicks. They’ve given up 8 goals in 1050:10 minutes. They are also outscored in the 1st half 3 to 2, but are outscoring opponents 9 to 5 in the 2nd half, and have won all 4 overtime games they’ve participated in.
I would like to thank #12 redshirt freshman Dominic Bonilla for taking the time to answer my questions that I threw together during Calculus class…
Q-“You guys are 3-0-1 at home, why are you so effective at Transamerica?
Bonilla-“Our crowd definitely helps because they make it harder for the other team, and give us confidence. We’re effective because at home, we have a mentality and that is to run them out.”
Q-“It’s never good to lose, but how has the 4-1 loss at VCU benefited the team?
Bonilla-“It was a reality check, conference play is hard and it taught us a lesson that we can’t just walk over anybody, we have to earn the right to win, especially at away games.”
This weekend should provide us with some quality soccer, as all three clubs have begun their push to be the team to beat in the Atlantic 10. Tune in next week for the third and final edition of the “Weekend Double Feature” series as the Niners host UMass and Rhode Island, now enjoy the show!