After a few minutes of team time, Charlotte volleyball coach Chris Redding was ready to address the 49ers during intermission of their recent home match with Tulane, one of the best teams in Conference USA.
Despite being down two sets in the match, Redding told the 49ers they were “playing amazing volleyball” and that they needed to finish strongly in sets in which they held a late lead. A few players looked at each other like they had just heard those words.
They had, only a couple minutes before, from middle blocker Amanda Videmsek.
Much to his delight, Redding is used to getting shown up by his senior captain. Having Videmsek on the court or in the locker room, he says, is like having another assistant coach.
Although Videmsek didn’t consider herself to be a leader when she came to Charlotte four years ago, it has become one of her defining qualities.
“It’s going to break my heart when she leaves,” Redding said. “Because she’s given everything to this team: mentally, emotionally, physically. I don’t know if there is anyone in this program with a bigger heart in giving of themselves. It will be a big hole to fill when we lose her next year so I don’t want to think about it too much.”
Videmsek is enjoying a fine senior season, leading Charlotte in kills, blocks, and points and accumulating the third-most digs. The 49ers enjoyed a strong pre-conference slate of matches, recording a 10-5 record before hitting a wall at the start of the C-USA schedule.
Videmsek and fellow middle blocker Taylor Cannon are the only seniors on the team. They are among the few upperclassmen on a squad with nine freshmen and sophomores.
Videmsek credits former teammate Sheri Davis, a senior when Videmsek was a freshman, for setting a good example of what a strong leader should do.
“She was a pusher,” Videmsek said. “She made people work hard and to form to our system. I think that was the biggest influence. I always wanted to be the nice captain, the motivator. She gave me that fire to make people work hard every single day.”
While Redding sings Videmsek’s praises, he doesn’t take credit for getting her to Charlotte. Assistant coach Jay Correll encouraged Redding to sign her even though she was undersized in high school and fell under many schools’ recruiting radar.
Miles from her Cleveland, Ohio, home, Videmsek earned a starting role for the 49ers as a freshman. Videmsek landed on the Atlantic 10’s all-rookie team and helped Charlotte reach the A-10 tournament, the only time the 49ers reached the tournament in her first three years.
Redding recognized her leadership qualities and appointed her an assistant captain the following year. Despite missing eight matches with a bad ankle sprain, Videmsek led the team in attack percentage (.303), which was seventh best in the A-10.
Last year, Videmsek was promoted to co-captain. She made the academic all-conference team and led the 49ers with 294 kills and 59 blocks. Redding noticed that opposing coaches started to plan their game around her.
This year, Videmsek has become a six-rotation player, meaning she never rotates off the floor. Her passing skills in the backcourt and in serving make her far too valuable.
Men come in 3rd at Royals Challenge
The men’s cross country team placed third at the Royals Challenge on Oct. 12 at McAlpine Creek Park, its second top-three finish this season. The event was hosted by Queens University.
Led by junior Zach Greth, who finished fifth, all five Charlotte runners placed in the top 15. A couple of redshirt seniors, Ross Roberson and Daweet Dagnachew, finished eighth and 11th, respectively.
Charlotte’s women did not enter enough runners to compile a team score. Sophomore Tiffany Lang was the top 49ers runner, finishing 21st.
Men take OT to extreme
Entering the Oct. 19 home game with Kentucky, the men’s soccer team had played four straight overtime games, tying two and losing two.
The 49ers tied in double-overtime with Wake Forest on Oct. 1 and New Mexico on Oct. 14. They lost single-overtime games to Old Dominion on Oct. 9 and to Tulsa on Oct. 13, both by scores of 3-2.
Men sixth at Rod Myers Invitational
The men’s golf team finished sixth at the Rod Myers Invitational, hosted by Duke, last weekend. Charlotte’s score of 9-over par (288-291-294-873) is its best score of the season.
Sophomore Raoul Menard was the top 49ers individual, placing 10th with a three-round score of 2-under 214. His season stroke average of 72.89 is one stroke behind team leader Franco Castro, a senior. Castro finished 15th with a 2-over 218.