With 47 seconds left, Charlotte’s women’s soccer team was leading Marshall 1-0 at Transamerica Field.
A 49er was called for a foul, leading to a Thundering Herd penalty kick.
If there ever was a time for Charlotte senior goalkeeper Alex Kubrick to shine, it was under those circumstances Oct. 25.
Staring down every move by the challenger in front of her, Kubrick stepped to her right to easily cradle Marshall forward Erin Simmons’ penalty kick, securing a 49ers victory.
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Plus it was Senior Night.
“Ever since she got here, she’s been making big saves,” 49ers head coach John Cullen said. “No better night to do that than on Senior Night with all your family here.”
Kubrick’s four-year career at Charlotte will end at the conclusion of this season, but she will leave as one of the top keepers in the 20-year history of the women’s soccer program. The number of games she has left will be determined by the results of this week’s Conference USA tournament, which will run Nov. 4-10 at Rice Soccer Stadium in Houston. The 49ers hope an NCAA tournament bid will follow.
Charlotte entered its final regular-season game at Old Dominion on Oct. 31 with a 4-3-2 league record (9-6-2 overall) and secured a spot in the conference tournament last weekend.
It hasn’t been easy for the 49ers – they trudged through a stretch from Sept. 29 to Oct. 13 in which they posted a 1-2-2 record. Kubrick helped turn Charlotte’s fortunes around with back-to-back 1-0 shutouts against Alabama-Birmingham on Oct. 18 and Marshall a week later.
“This is my favorite year,” Kubrick said. “This is my favorite group of girls that I’ve had the pleasure to play with. We’re just so close. We’ve had so much adversity. We’ve had three ACL tears. We just really stuck to together and really fought hard through the ups and downs.”
Kubrick has had her own peaks and valleys. She has shared the goalkeeping duties every season, for various reasons.
In Kubrick’s freshman season, she surrendered just six goals and recorded four shutouts as she compiled an 8-2 record. She was named to the Atlantic 10 Conference’s all-rookie team.
The 2011 season was the most challenging for Kubrick. Her goals-against average slipped to 1.87 from 0.63 the season before, which was a Charlotte single-season record.
Kubrick rebounded nicely last season, when three shutouts helped her GAA drop to 0.76. She missed several early conference games after suffering a concussion.
This season, Kubrick has allowed 12 goals in 12 games and has five shutouts. She had to sit out several matches once again because of a concussion.
By the end of the season, some of Kubrick’s career statistics will settle nicely into third place behind Lauren Brown (2006-09) and Jessica Brooks (1995, 97-98).
Tennis closes on high note
To close the fall season, the women’s tennis team hosted the 49er Invitational Oct. 26 at the Halton-Wagner Tennis Complex. Sophomore Tyler Baker and junior Natsuko Takayanagi both captured singles victories over opponents from Coastal Carolina and USC Upstate as the women’s tennis team turned in its best results of the fall campaign.
Junior Lisa Grosselius, freshman Macy Vonderschmidt and sophomore Jessica Perez each won one of their two matches. The team will resume play Jan. 24 against Radford at Davidson.
Men’s soccer to host tourney
The men’s soccer team closes the Conference USA regular season Nov. 8 at Florida International. Charlotte hosts the conference tournament Nov. 13-17.
The league’s top seven teams will play a single-elimination format. The 49ers entered the week of Oct. 28 tied for seventh in the standings with Kentucky.