By CHRIS MARKHAM
The chant “Beat the Bobcats” will be heard all day Saturday as conference rival Frostburg State comes to the Battleground to take on University of Mary Washington’s field hockey and soccer teams. Eagle Nation will be in full force for the 2013 homecoming festivities, which this year features all-day tailgating to take the homecoming celebration to a new level.
The action starts at 1 p.m. when the women’s soccer and field hockey games get underway. Men’s soccer will follow the women’s game at 3:30 p.m.
The energy at homecoming games is traditionally the highest of the season. Students go to great lengths to show their support for competing Eagles.
“I’m going shirtless and painting an eagle on my chest,” said freshman Eric Jennings.
Saturday’s games are not just for putting on a show for the fans. All games play a crucial role for the outcome of the teams’ season. Women’s soccer is teetering on the edge of a winning record with only one regular season game remaining after Saturday’s matchup before the CAC tournament.
The Eagles’ field hockey team suffered their first loss of the season last Friday at the hands of the number eight nationally ranked Salisbury Seagulls and will look to rebound against the struggling Seagulls team as they continue to march their way up the national rankings.
The men’s soccer team is in much of the same boat as their female counterparts. With one game left after Saturday before the postseason gets underway, the Eagles need every win they can get between now and then to get a favorable position come tournament time. The upset-minded Eagles will try to ride the energy of the crowd to victory.
Volleyball will also compete this weekend. The Eagles will host Marymount on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Anderson Center.
The squad is currently riding a three match winning streak, without dropping a single game in each of those matches. The Eagles will look to carry that momentum and have a supportive crowd on hand to down the Saints and improve their already impressive record.
Men’s and women’s club rugby will also be in action as they take on Radford University starting at 1 p.m. with the women’s game, and the men’s game following them on the Rec Field.
“We hope Eagle Nation will come out to support our teams,” said Tyler. “It’ll be a great day to be an Eagle.”
The hype surrounding Saturday’s action will have a new dynamic this year with the return of tailgating.
Starting at 10 a.m., in the parking lot adjacent to the soccer field, those who reserved a spot can begin chilling and grilling with their fellow Eagle fans.
Popular among most major sports and collegiate teams, tailgating is an opportunity for fans to gather and get excited for the action of the afternoon.
“I’m looking forward to all of the free food at the tailgates and showing off my school spirit with my friends,” said Jennings.
Jennings is just one of what is hoping to be many to come out to the Battleground and cheer ferociously for their fellow Eagles. Whether you are a freshman or even a grad student, there is no doubt that most Eagle fans would prefer losing their voice while cheering than losing the game.