LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The fifth-ranked Charlotte 49ers (14-2-1, 6-1-1 C-USA) captured the Conference USA regular-season title with a 2-1 win at No. 13 Kentucky (10-4-4, 5-1-2 C-USA). Charlotte has now claimed a league title in three consecutive years and in four of the past five years. With the win against nationally-ranked Kentucky, the 49ers finished the regular-season with a 4-0 record against teams currently ranked in the NSCAA coaches' poll.
“Fantastic win,” Charlotte coach Kevin Langan said. “Conference USA regular-season champs was one of our goals at the beginning of the year. To come to Kentucky in front of hostile crowd and to go down early, I am really proud of our guys. Our first goal was a great goal by Hans Honer. In the second half, we came out strong. Conor Agnew scored a glorious goal. Austin Pack made a great save on a Kentucky penalty kick. I could not be prouder of our guys. We showed a lot of courage tonight.”
Kentucky took an early 1-0 lead when Napo Matsoso scored his fifth goal of the season when he put a shot into the back of the net from 15 yards out off a Bryan Cellis assist in the ninth minute.
Charlotte tied the score when Zhuvonte Wilson crossed the ball to Hans Honer near the penalty spot. Honer put the ball into the back of the net near post in the 32nd minute for his fourth goal of the season.
Charlotte took the lead for good when Brandt Bronico passed the ball to Conor Agnew who put a beautiful shot from 18 yards out into the back of the net for his first goal of the season at exactly the 49th minute of the match.
At the 77:25 mark of the match, Charlotte’s Zhuvonte Wilson was issued a red card for a hand ball in the box giving Kentucky a penalty kick. Charlotte’s goalkeeper Austin Pack stopped the penalty kick by Kentucky’s Matsoso. Just 30 seconds later, Matsoso picked up his second yellow card which becomes a red card so both teams played the final 12 minutes of the match with 10 players.
The two teams finished the game with 12 shots apiece. The 49ers enjoyed a 7-3 advantage in shots in the first half. Luke Waechter led the 49ers with three shots. Biko Bradnock-Brennan added two shots to the 49ers attack. Charlotte enjoyed a 6-4 advantage in corner kicks.
Since Kevin Langan became the 49ers head coach in 2012 along with assistant coaches Kyle Gookins and Jason Osborne, Charlotte has captured the 2012 Atlantic 10 and the 2014 Conference USA regular-season titles as well as the 2013 Conference USA Tournament title. Charlotte also claimed the 2010 Atlantic 10 regular-season title while Langan and Gookins were members of the coaching staff.
• Conference Championship Central