"We are going to play nasty."

That statement from head coach Chris Redding set the tone for the intensity of 2012, as the Charlotte 49ers began fall team workouts in preparation for the final season as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Five new faces, along with the nine returning players took to the court for a pair of workouts to start the fall preseason session.

The 49ers finished 13-14 in 2010, tying for sixth place in the league standings, but missing out on the six-team A-10 Tournament on a tiebreaker after gaining entrance to the tournament in both of the two previous seasons.

The Niners won four of their last five league matches to finish 7-8 in conference play. Charlotte saw nine matches go the full five sets after four seasons of either five or six matches going the distance. Charlotte was resilient in those matches, with more than half of the victories (seven of 13) coming in a tiebreaking fifth set.

Charlotte returns its best percentage hitter, junior Amanda Videmsek, and the team's top kill performer, senior Bianca Rouse. Those two captains, along with the squad's top blocker from last season, sophomore Savannah Gaster, should provide an excellent core of stout defenders, as they combined for 215 combined total blocks a season ago.

All three of the team's top digs performers, Rouse, senior Jenna Litoborski and junior Christina Drake, all eclipsing the 200-digs mark, provide the ability to turn an opponent's attack into an offensive opportunity.

Charlotte begins regular season play in the East Carolina Classic, starting Friday, August 24, in a 4 p.m. match versus Bethune-Cookman. Ther 49ers will host the Hilton University 49er Invite for the first home regular-season matches, beginning Friday, September 14.