HOUSTON – Conference USA East Division champion Charlotte will have a chance to avenge one of its regular-season losses Friday night, as it will face North Texas in the Conference USA Championships semifinals at Rice’s Holloway Field in Houston. The 49ers, who earned the No. 1 seed from the East, and the Mean Green, who garnered the West Division’s No. 2 seed, will square off at approximately 8 p.m.
Charlotte advanced to the semifinal round following a 3-1 victory over Marshall Wednesday night in the quarterfinals. The 49ers, who improved to 11-6-2 with the win, scored three unanswered goals for their first postseason triumph since 2010. The 11 victories are also the most since that season.
Junior Amanda Jones, an All-Conference USA Second Team selection, continued her solid play by pouring in two of the three scores, including the game winner. She enters Friday’s contest with 10 goals and 23 points, moving into a tie for ninth with Jill Currie (2000) and Hailey Beam (2009) on the program’s single-season goals list. Her four match clinchers this fall equal four others for the fifth highest total in a season in school history.
Jones became the first Niners player to reach the double-digit scoring plateau since Macky Wingo netted a dozen in 2010.
Freshman Ari Reilley tallied the other goal in Wednesday’s triumph, the second of her young career. Both of her scores this season have come against Marshall, including the game winner Oct. 25 in Charlotte’s 1-0 victory.
Senior Alex Kubrick, an All-Conference USA Academic First Team honoree, finished with six saves, including numerous stops during the second half, to hold off the Thundering Herd in the quarterfinals. She was aided by a defensive unit that has allowed only six goals all season after the intermission, including five in the second period.
North Texas brings a 13-6-1 ledger into Friday’s meeting, having knocked off FIU in the quarterfinals, 4-1, to advance. The Mean Green were one of the most decorated teams in the conference, collecting hardware entering the tournament.
Rachel Holden was selected as the C-USA Offensive Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, while Kelsey Hodges collected Defensive Player of the Year accolades. Both players made the All-Conference USA First Team with Vanessa Ibewuike joining them as a Third Team member. Holden added an All-Freshman Team nod.
The two teams met earlier this season, Oct. 13, in Denton, Texas, with North Texas picking up a 3-0 win in the first meeting in the series. It would mark the last time the 49ers were held without a goal this year, as they have regrouped to tally a 4-1 record and outscored their opponents 9-5 since.
Live video and stats will be available through links on Charlotte49ers.com and updates can also be found on Twitter by following @49erGameDay.
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