Fall Sports Continue to Cruise at Home
If there is one thing that can bring out student support for a sporting event other than football and basketball, it’s a home winning streak, and Penn State’s fall sports teams have mastered the art of defending their home turf thus far.
The latest win came at Jeffrey Field Wednesday night, as the No. 15 men’s soccer team quickly took care of business against overmatched St. Francis with a 1-0 victory, Penn State’s fifth of the season against just one loss, and its fourth consecutive victory in front of home fans
Non-revenue fall sports like soccer, volleyball, and field hockey tend to struggle to fill their respective student sections, but as the home wins continue to rack up, they’ll have a chance to. The No. 21 women’s soccer team has won both its early season home scraps, the field hockey team has split its two home contests, and the women’s volleyball team has a major opportunity to build on its early season success with this weekend’s Hampton Inn Classic taking over Rec Hall. As everyone who has attended one of these games has noticed, the student sections are growing game in and game out, in no small part due to the new Code Blue program, which rewards students for showing up to support every team.
The situation may seem unstable–as though it requires an obvious need to continue winning to draw support–but an even more pressing issue these sports face is a schedule chock full of weeknight games, and start times conflicting with classes, workshops, and the like, as well as vital studying and homework time. Staying ahead in the win column will the key to maintaining their fan sections.
Men’s soccer has capitalized the most on its home field thus far, though they have had more opportunities to play in front of the Blue and White faithful than any other fall team. Penn State defender Justin Lee told The Daily Collegian after last Friday’s win over St. Peter’s that:
“Jeffrey is honestly one of the best places to play. Our fans are great, so it’s always fun coming out there and scoring goals for them.”
I couldn’t agree with him more. If you ever flip on the Big Ten Network for a typical Big 10 scrap, whether it’s an in-conference scrap or not, the attendance is slight at best. At Penn State, however, both the men’s and women’s teams have seen solid support, averaging 549 and 608 fans per contest, respectively, through the early part of their season,
Field hockey and volleyball have not suffered in the attendance numbers thus far, either. Field hockey has seen 1,066 fans through the gate in two games, and volleyball had 9,075 stream through Rec Hall during their opening weekend. But it’s difficult to group in the latter, as Penn State’s devotion to women’s volleyball probably outpaces that of any sport, save football.
The long and the short of it is simple–home winning equals home cooking throughout the Penn State campus, and if students know their time will be spent watching a victory, they will show up in mass to provide the home field advantage known across the nation.