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November 10, 2012In a give-and-take game between two similar style teams, the Charlotte 49ers were knocked out of the Atlantic 10 tournament Friday night by the VCU Rams, 1-0.
As possession became more and more important throughout the game, it seemed Charlotte (14-3-3) had the upper hand to open the second half of play; that was until Mario Meraz, of VCU (12-2-5) lofted the ball over an out of place Klay Davis, from the left corner of the box, for the the games first and final score in the 78th minute.
The game was chippy, aggressive, and it was noticeable both squad's backlines were frustrating the oppositions forwards with physical play. Aidan Kirkbride of Charlotte and Romena Bowie of VCU both received early yellow cards. Around the 27th minute the field judge pulled both teams captain to the side of action and brought most order back to the game's tempo.
After half the 49ers seemed to fix the wrinkles in their offensive system, the Rams didn't lay down though. Charlotte ended the match, out shooting their opponent 11 to 5, but with their most dangerous attempt being a Thomas Allen header in the 88th minute that was saved by the Ram's keeper, it wasn't enough to find an equalizer.
Charlotte's Donnie Smith, who has recently been recovering from an injury did enter in during the second half of play. If there is any silver lining for the team's layoff until the NCAA tournament, it's that Smith will have time to be 100 percent by the time of the first round, Head Coach Kevin Langan alluded to in post game. His comment on the impact of the loss, "I think this is going to hurt for a few days, tomorrow we'll still be hurting, but Monday morning we need to get ready for the tournament."