–It’s been a memorable career for Charlotte 49ers senior goalkeeper Klay Davis. Davis, named the Conference USA defensive player of the week today for the third time this season, came a game away from a national championship in 2011. The team has appeared in back-to-back NCAA tournaments under his watch after a one-year absence in 2010.
This year will be three in a row if Davis has his way. But he and his team still have work to do if they’re to be a lock make the national tournament.
Friday’s game at FIU, which should be winnable, is important if the Niners want to head into next week with momentum. Depending on the pending results, Charlotte could finish anywhere between 4th and 7th, and that, of course, will determine next Wednesday’s opponent.
Either way, Davis will depart as one of the program’s top keepers. His 26 shutouts are 2nd in team history, two and a half behind Aidan Heaney, while his 0.78 goals against average is the current program standard.
–The Niners are inching their way up the national rankings after four wins in a row–including a victory over then-#14 Clemson on October 22. They are receiving votes in both the NSCAA coaches poll (released today) and the College Soccer News media poll (out a few days back); TopDrawerSoccer.com has them 21st in their rankings. The team currently has the 26th best RPI in the country, behind New Mexico (8th) and Old Dominion (21st) among C-USA teams.
A win against FIU would probably seal the deal for Charlotte; that and a win in the C-USA tournament would do it for sure. A sweep in the tournament could be enough to get them a top-16 seed and a first round bye depending on the teams they beat en route.
–Other teams in C-USA and their RPI: UAB (30); Tulsa (63); South Carolina (65); Kentucky (101); FIU (110); Florida Atlantic (124); and Marshall (179). The latter three are out of the conference picture and have no chance of qualifying for the NCAA tournament. UAB should be in but a loss against Marshall could equal an unfavorable seed. Tulsa might make it with a tournament win or two if they beat their remaining opponent, FAU; and South Carolina can surely move into the conversation with a victory against Old Dominion and an opening round win (at the very least) next week.
Bracketology update: College Sports Madness has the Niners hosting the Ivy League’s Penn at home, with the winner headed to 7th seeded UMBC from the America East. Meanwhile, College Soccer News projects the Niners hosting La Salle (remember them?) from the Atlantic 10, with the winner punching a ticket to face #16 seed Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, a short trip up I-85 for the Queen City Army.