On Oct. 23 I went to Crawford Court to cover the women’s volleyball team in a crucial conference matchup. As the game began heating up in the fifth set, I couldn’t believe my ears — I heard fans in Crawford cheering for the Gauchos.
I was astonished and furious that there was such a large and spirited bunch of Santa Barbara fans at our home court. It didn’t help that we ended up losing the match. On that day I decided that enough was enough.
Here was the plan. Step one: Round up the loudest and most spirited group of students I knew. Step two: Find an away game that was within travelling distance. Step three: Create a Facebook event. Step four: Be louder than an entire school. Easy.
So after reassuring my friends that we wouldn’t get in a fight, we were set. The date: Nov 13th. It was Friday the 13th and it was going to be an unlucky day for Cal State Fullerton — our school of choice.
At 4:30 p.m. we met up at Middle Earth to get ready. Posters: check. Face paint: done. UCI Tattoos: duh. Hair sprayed blue and gold: you gotta do it! CSU Fullerton, it’s about time you met the ’Eater Nation.
When we entered the Titan Gym our team spotted us immediately. With all the UCI gear we had on we stuck out big time. The ladies glanced at us and chuckled a little while giving us a thumbs up.
During the team introductions I looked at my fellow Anteaters and declared to them, “This is going to be awesome.” And it was.
We went for broke with our cheers. We weren’t cheering for a marathon. We were cheering our hardest from the start. We had no intention on staying longer than three sets. We cheered before the serves, we cheered after the rallies, and we even cheered during the timeouts.
We cheered on each bump with a loud “U!”, celebrated each set with a “C!” and we ended each spike by roaring “I!!!” When one of our players dug a hard spike from Fullerton we screamed, “Too easy!” or “Like nothing!” After a number of Kari Pestolesi kills we’d let the Titans know they were hit by “Fire from the sky!”
My personal favorite cheer of the night was our cheer for every point our ladies scored on a block. Whenever it happened — and it happened often — we reminded Fullerton that, “SHE SAID NO!”
During one of UCI’s serves I screamed “I LOVE YOU!” She hit the net on the serve. “You are distracting her!” My friend Tiyannah yelled at me. Every UCI serve after that, I was silent.
The Lady ’Eaters didn’t let us down, sweeping the Titans in straight sets like we wanted. After Pestolesi served an ace for match point, we looked at each other satisfied as we said one more time “A – C – E! ACE!”
After shaking hands with Fullerton’s team, the team jogged over to where we were sitting to clap for us, which gave us a reason to cheer even more.
Once they made their way to the locker room, we cheered Coach Weishoff to give us a wave which she and the coaching staff obliged by making their way over to our section. They gave us high fives and thanked us for making the trip. Coach Weishoff even agreed to have the team take a picture with us.
As the ladies came back out to take a picture with us, McCall Miller joked about our posters for Taryn Robertson and Kristin Winkler, “I’m not going to lie, I was a little jealous I didn’t have a poster.”
After we took the picture they made us promise to come to their next home match at the Bren on the 20th. We’ll be there, and I better see the rest of you there too.
UC Irvine 3, UC Riverside 1
The Lady Anteaters finished the week strong by pummeling the UC Riverside Highlanders 3 sets to 1. Pestolesi, junior Juliane Piggott, and junior Larissa Nordyke all reached double digit kills for the match, and UCI beat UCR for the second time this season. The two wins on the week moved UCI back into a first place tie in the Big West.