’Stoga spirit: FANtastic following
By Maddie Amsterdam and Abby Pioch, Co-sports editors
Whether they are roaring with the excitement of a victory or shouting at a referee over a bad call, ’Stoga soccer fans have one common goal: to make a lot of noise.
In past years, these soccer fanatics have come to games with cowbells, air horns and costumes. This season, the dedicated fans plan to be louder and rowdier than ever.
“All of us love going to the games and screaming our lungs out for both the boys and girls,” senior Ricky Lanzilotti said. “Having both teams stacked with seniors makes it all the more fun to go crazy for the games, get intense and get behind the teams so they can do their best.”
Senior Matt Cowell joins Lanzilotti at every home game to support the boys’ and girls’ teams. As a Conestoga athlete himself, Cowell believes that it is necessary to cheer on his fellow Pioneers.
“I like for everybody to be happy,” Cowell said. “I know from experience in other sports that it’s easier and more fun to play when you know you have fans watching and cheering you on.”
This year, Cowell said that he and the other soccer fans call themselves “The Fox Pack.” The title was inspired by senior captain and goal keeper of the boys’ team Clarke Fox. Fox said that he appreciates the dedication of the fans and believes that they help contribute to the overall success of the team.
“When the fans show up and we see the student section full, it always gets us pumped up,” Fox said. “We play a lot harder, and it’s nice to know that we have the support.”
When Fox is not playing soccer at Teamer Field, he is a dedicated fan himself. He and other members of the boys’ team attend the girls’ soccer games to support their fellow Pioneers.
Senior girls captain Chrissy Bradley is looking forward to attending boys’ games this season. She said that she hopes that the teams will continue to support each other throughout the season.
“We both play the same sport,” she said. “They can give us advice and we can give them advice on how to be successful.”
Bradley said she is grateful for the other fans who cheer them on as well. Cowell also said that fans at the girls’ soccer games are becoming more conspicuous.
“This year there have been more fans at the girls’ games than there have ever been,” Cowell said. “I think the team really appreciates that.”
Girls varsity soccer head coach Meghan Brogan said she thinks it is essential that both soccer teams encourage each other.
“I do think it’s important to support [the boys’ team] as we are both promoting the great game of soccer,” Brogan said.
Brogan also said that although the teams are very close, it is often difficult to support each other because of game scheduling conflicts.
“We do feel familial ties with the boys as we are both trying to have successful seasons, but it’s difficult to get to support them physically since we generally play on the same days,” Brogan said.
Senior Kimberly Winters, who has attended every girls game this season, began going to the games to support her friends on the team. She said she enjoys the exciting atmosphere of the game.
“Ever since I saw the spirit of the crowd and how much fun [the games] were, I decided to keep going back,” Winters said.
Junior Maggie MacDonald said that she enjoys cheering on her fellow Pioneers and supporting ’Stoga athletics.
“I hope [both teams] make it all the way to states,” MacDonald said. “I like being associated with a school well established in sports.”
With several returning varsity players on both teams, ’Stoga soccer is looking ahead to a promising year, hopefully lasting deep into the postseason for both teams.
“I think we’re going to do really well this year because we’re an old team, and we have really good chemistry,” Bradley said.
Winters said that she plans to keep attending both boys and girls soccer games all season. She said that she hopes both teams can make an appearance in playoffs and the state championship game.
Both teams are “doing really well already this season. I’m hoping that they can go all the way to states,” Winters said. “It would be a really exciting game, especially for seniors because this is our last year cheering on the teams. It would be really great to see them go far.”
Maddie Amsterdam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.