Owls show support for university teams at home games
Aaron Johnson – Sports Editor
The roar of the crowd echoes out of Moore Field House as the Owls have just hit another three-pointer and the rowdy home crowd has risen to their collective feet to cheer, jump and shout.
There is just something about a raucous home crowd in college sports that is just different than the professional level. Even at Southern Connecticut State, the student-athletes feed off the crowd’s intensity and passion. That driving force helps to lead the Owls to victory.
“Here at home it’s actually big for us,” said sophomore Austin Carter. “The crowd gives us a lot of energy ourselves so when we’re not having a good game the crowds support can change that whole thing.”
Carter, a forward on the SCSU men’s basketball team, has been a strong member for the Owls this season averaging 3.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks. Southern fateful has shown strong support for basketball and other varsity sports, but also for club sports like Southern hockey. Justin Kenny of the Owls’ hockey team said having a big crowd always gets the team ready and focused to play.
“We feed off the energy,” he said. “We play a lot harder. It’s more fun and a better environment.”
Steve Sorrentino, also a member of the Ice Owls, said having that extra push from the fans can make all the difference in close games.
“It definitely gives us more momentum having the fans on our side,” he said.
Home games have always created a safe haven for players in all sports, having that familiarity of being in one’s own backyard with the fan’s support always makes things a little easier.
“It’s pretty cool,” said junior Jamie Holbrook. “Coming from a small town we didn’t have too many fans out there so when I go out there and play in front of that Southern crowd it’s very entertaining. I definitely like it when the crowd gets into it.”
Holbrook, a defensive end on the Owls’ football team, said despite things being rough after this past 2-9 season, he still feels the momentum that the crowd brought to each of the home games.
“It’s been a rough couple of seasons,” he said. “But the ones who come and support us it’s very appreciated and doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Although most athletes prefer to play at home, Carter said he does not mind traveling on the road to deal with hostile crowds as a visitor.
“It’s kinda actually easier on the road,” he said. “You don’t know anybody. So there isn’t as much pressure. But here it’s kinda like my friends and everybody is watching so you wanna play good. And on the road you don’t really have to worry about that so you just play your own game.”
One of the high-flyers of the Owls’ squad, Carter has made a niche with his rim-rattling dunks in his two seasons at Southern. He said hearing the crowd’s reaction after a big play is always a boost.
“It boosts my confidence a lot,” Carter said. “The next play I wanna do that same thing. I just wanna keep hearing the crowd more and more even for my teammates. So it’s whoever gets the crowd going.”
Sorrentino, a defenseman of the Owls team, said he also really enjoys playing on the road in tough places; it is something that the team has a lot of fun with.
“We’ve run into lots of hecklers,” he said. “But we actually look forward to that. It actually makes us play harder.”