|Cullen earns 100th win with 49ers' victory against East Tennessee St.|
|Charlotte improves to 3-0 in home matches|
|Published Sunday, September 2, 2018 10:10 pm|
Charlotte 49ers women’s soccer is off to a season of extremes.
Undefeated at home and winless on the road, they have a two-game road trip coming up with a stop at Elon on Sept. 6 and East Carolina Sept. 9. The 49ers stand 3-2, with their largest margin of victory a 3-0 win Sunday against East Tennessee State for coach John Cullen’s 100th career victory.
“It’s very special, and I’m very honored by that,” he said. “Should’ve got it a lot sooner—I’m thinking about all the losses along the way. The attention now will turn to ‘how quickly can we get 101?’ I’ll enjoy tonight. It’s always a special night to get that 100th collegiate win. College games are hard to win in any sport, but full credit to the players. They played very, very well tonight. If we keep playing like that, hopefully the 101st will be around the corner.”
Charlotte has to break its winless road streak if win 101 for Cullen will occur before they return home for a four-game homestretch Sept. 16-30.
“You’ve got to get the basics right,” Cullen said. “You’ve got to get the details right. You’ve got to give yourself a sound platform to play. If we’re solid at the back, and we’re not giving up a lot of chances, then we can grow into the game, and get stronger as the game goes on, but you’ve got to get the basics right.”
Charlotte had not scored more than one goal in each game to start the season. However, junior midfielder Sophie Sipprell, junior forward Mary Manser and freshman midfielder Sandra Geiselhart changed that. Each scored their first of the season.
“Mary is one of those relentless players,” Cullen said. “We’ve had her around a lot in the last couple of years.”
Cullen intends to keep Manser up top throughout the season to let her, as he described, “grow into it as a wide forward.”
Said Manser: “Wherever the team needs me, that’s where I’d like to help out in any way I can. If that’s up top, then that’s up top. I think the coaches are looking for me to bring a bit of energy, some high intensity to the game, and to score goals.”
Her movement off the ball makes her just as dangerous as when she gets the ball at her feet.
“She’s willing to run off the ball and get in behind,” Cullen said. “Her goal was great tonight. She took it really first-time strike, good composure, kept it down.”
Geiselhart earned her first start as a 49er, taking a penalty kick in the second half to seal Charlotte’s victory.
“Honestly, I’m not a big fan of PKs, but I was just trying to stay calm, and try to look at the goalkeeper and not show her where I was going,” Geiselhart said.
Cullen wants his players familiar with penalty kicks from the start, as they lost the Conference USA tournament final 3-1 on penalties to North Texas.
“We’ve started to practice penalties as early as August,” Cullen said.
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