SDSU soccer fans give big boost

Zach Anderson

Zach Anderson

It was a cold, blustery evening when the Jackrabbit women’s soccer team competed in their first NCAA tournament match. In their first year of eligibility for the postseason, they defeated seed Colorado in the first round and recorded their first-ever NCAA postseason victory in any sport on Nov. 14.

Even 40-degree temperatures couldn’t keep the Jackrabbits from the biggest win so far in the Division I era. They went in believing they could win and came out as winners.

The soccer match that made SDSU history was played in Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.

I’ll be the first to admit I know very little about soccer, yet I was asked to witness what became history for the Jackrabbit program.

What I can tell you is that I saw all the players out on the field playing their hearts out and never giving up. Each and every player knew that one loss in the NCAA tournament meant their season was over and for the 15 seniors that were out on the field, their last chance to play for a championship.

The nine Jackrabbit seniors definitely played a huge part in the game as they fought through every play and never gave up a score to the Buffaloes.

With each save by SDSU in the final half, the fans in the stands shook the press box with the stomping of their feet. It was an experience that showed me once again that Jacks’ fans stand behind their team no matter where the team is playing.

The tears on the faces of the Colorado players after the loss were enough to show anyone the passion that the teams and players who play this game have. The players on the teams didn’t care about the cold weather, they cared about the game they played.

After the game, Jackrabbit head coach Lang Wedemeyer said he thought the reason SDSU was able to beat a team like Colorado is because of the support behind the program. In fact, the majority of the fans attending the game were Jackrabbit fans, probably because South Dakota is closer than Colorado.

I’ve noticed that about every Jacks game I’ve gone to the fans are always passionate and always show up in numbers to support the team. I also believe that it is that support that makes the Jackrabbits unlike any other team.

Sometimes when I watch teams on television that are the underdog and they know it, they play like they don’t think they can win. The Jackrabbits always believe they can win, and that is how they were able to end Colorado’s season.

That Jackrabbits got a lot of breaks as far as luck is concerned; any of those shots that hit the crossbar or the post could have gone in, and if just one player would have been in the wrong position, it could have been a different outcome. But the Jackrabbits did everything right that night and got a deserved win.

I went to the game not knowing what to expect and what I witnessed was an upset of a really good Colorado team that will forever be etched in the players’ minds and in the SDSU record book. Maybe I underestimated how much being a Jackrabbit means to the players and students of this university.

Overall it was a wonderful experience, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to see SDSU’s first NCAA tournament win up close and personal.