New Haven rivalry brings in the crowds
Sam Tapper – Sports Writer
One of the best rivalries in the NE10 Conference is between Southern and the University of New Haven, the Elm City rivalry. In each sport they square off in, for one day they battle in the city they both call home.
Regardless of the sport, large crowds have turned out based on the sheer urge to beat their crosstown rivals. This year, the Owls’ men’s and women’s basketball teams hosted the New Haven Chargers in a late-season battle, and Southern advertised certainly advertised. The crowd at Moore Field House could find free T-shirts and food, enter into giveaways and compete in halftime challenges.
Head men’s basketball coach said after his team’s thrilling 73-67 win over New Haven that it was one of the best crowds at Moore Fieldhouse since his arrival in 2015, and who would disagree with him?
“It was a great atmosphere,” said forward Taurus Adams II, a senior, after the matchup with the Chargers. “There’s always chatter [among the players.] Once we’re between those lines, 94-feet, it’s hard defense, we’re going at each other.”
Let’s throw it back to homecoming weekend in Nov. 2019. The crowds show up even beyond basketball. The Owls’ volleyball team hosted the Chargers before a packed crowd at Pelz Gymnasium, a crowd that brought earringing screaming just as the environment at Moore Fieldhouse did. Crowds do not usually get overly huge at volleyball games, but it is a whole different ballgame when New Haven comes to Southern.
That same weekend, the football team hosted the Chargers for homecoming, as well. The Owls-Chargers matchup in football carries slightly more weight, as the winner of that matchup walks away with the Elm City Trophy.
Though the Owls lost that game 23-20, they came all the way back from being down 23-7. Despite the outcome, head football coach Tom Godek was emphatic after that game about the crowd and his appreciation of the student support, saying he and the rest of the program couldn’t “thank everybody enough.”
This year, the Owls and Chargers competed in numerous great games, reminding the entire City of New Haven that the Elm City rivalry is not one to be overlooked or taken lightly.