CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte 49ers women’s soccer team (0-2-1) hits the road to face No. 5 Duke on Sunday evening (Aug. 28) at 6 p.m.
SCOUTING THE BLUE DEVILS
Duke is 3-0-0 to start the season and was ranked No. 2 in the preseason poll before coming in at No. 5 this week. The Blue Devils have played one common opponent with Charlotte, defeating UNCG 3-1 last Sunday. Despite being an in-state opponent, Duke and the Niners have only played each other seven times in the past, with the Blue Devils leading the series, 6-1. Duke hosted CLT in the NCAA Tournament in 2016 in the last meeting between the two sides, with the previous meeting before that coming back in 2002.
LAST TIME OUT
Charlotte dropped a defensive battle with James Madison at home on Thursday evening, losing by a score of 1-0. The Dukes out-possessed CLT nearly two-to-one but the Niners took five shots and limited JMU to just six – the fewest an opponent has attempted all season. Charlotte had its best chances of the match in the final 15 minutes, with Ariana Maibodi putting a pair of shots on net that required saves from the JMU keeper.
A ROBBIE CHURCH REUNION
Duke is led by head coach Robbie Church, the first head coach in Charlotte women’s soccer team history. Church led the Niners for the first five seasons the team was around and compiled 66 wins in 106 matches. Under his leadership, CLT won a Conference USA Regular Season Championship and two C-USA Tournament titles, capped off with an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1998. It wasn’t just an appearance for the Niners either as Charlotte defeated South Carolina 2-0 in the Queen City for a win in the Green and White’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
Charlotte is entering a stretch of matches on the road, with five of the next six away from home. The stretch begins Sunday with Duke and continues with another road match at an ACC opponent the following Sunday at Virginia Tech. A home matchup with Coastal Carolina sees the Niners back in the friendly confines of Transamerica Field for one match before hitting the road to Gardner-Webb and Texas for a pair of Conference USA tilts.
EK THE GK
Emily Keck has started all three matches in net for Charlotte and has racked up 19 saves in them. She made nine saves in the season-opener at UNCG – the second-most of any Niner keeper in their first match donning the Green and White, followed it up with a seven-save performance on Sunday at home against Richmond, and added three more against JMU. Her 16 saves through the first two matches are the most any CLT keeper has made in their first two appearances.
A DASH OF TASH
Hudson’s goal last Sunday against Richmond was her second in as many matches with the Niners. She scored the opening goal of the season six minutes into the first game at UNCG after receiving a long ball up the pitch from the Niners’ half of the field and replicated that same effort on Sunday to earn the tie against the Spiders.
Charlotte has a wealth of experience returning to the pitch this season, with 24 letterwinners from the 2021 season returning in 2022 and just three departing. Out of the 11 starters, 10 are on the 2022 squad, with the only loss being starting goalkeeper Abby Stapleton. Two of the key returners are All-Conference-USA Second Team member Piper Biziorek and Third Team honoree and last year’s Team MVP, Kristy Campbell.
CLT has five new players on the roster this season, comprised of four freshmen and one transfer. Hudson comes to Charlotte after spending the past three seasons at Barry where she was a two-time All-Sunshine State Conference selection and an All-Region player last season. Joining her in their first seasons donning the Green and White are freshmen Bailey Manfredi, Ayanna Parker, Maggie Stephens, and Laura Cate Westerbeek.
THE HOSTS WITH THE MOST
CLT has the opportunity to host the Conference USA Championships this season, scheduled for November 2-6. The Niners have hosted the C-USA Championships five times before, most recently in 2016 when the Green and White won the third C-USA Championship in program history.
Charlotte has a week off before another road ACC contest at Virginia Tech next Sunday (Sept. 4).
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