Columnists, NCAA, Sports

MAZUREK: The wonderful weekend that was

With basketball having begun on Friday, Boston University athletics are now in full swing.

For any fan of BU sports, the winter months are probably the best time of the year – when hockey and basketball compete for students’ attention over midterms, papers and eventually finals.

While it might not feel like winter outside, winter sports are officially upon us.

If you happened to miss the men’s and women’s basketball home openers, the women’s soccer NCAA Tournament first round game or the men’s hockey away contest at Boston College, well . . . sucks to be you.

Let’s begin with men’s basketball.

Over the past two weeks, I have delved into the topic of BU basketball attendance. My prior worries were backed by three years of pitiful attendance at basketball games.

Heading into Friday I was cautiously optimistic that attendance would not be disappointing.

Let’s fast forward to 5 p.m. where every seat in Case Gymnasium was full and people were crowding the aisles and floor just to watch the men’s home opener. Needless to say I was shocked and I am sure the team was as well.

Last year’s home opener against Marist only managed to bring in 947 fans, so the fact that this year’s home opener had 1,875 in attendance, a record in Case Gymnasium, was a huge surprise.

The environment was unbelievable and in my opinion rivaled that of the America East championship game that was held at Agganis Arena last season.

Although I would have wished for a different outcome, I left Case Gym for the first time feeling optimistic about fan support at basketball events.

I hope that BU students enjoyed the game on the court – specifically BU’s comeback to force the game into overtime – and saw what an amazing environment can be made if they go out and support their team.

If BU students can continue to attend basketball games in the same numbers or close to them, BU will easily have the best home court advantage in the America East Conference.

While many students left after the men’s basketball game to see the men’s hockey team’s heartbreaking defeat to Merrimack College, the few who stayed to watch the women’s basketball team witnessed an amazing comeback.

The Terriers were down by as many 21 in the first half to Providence College.

For those in attendance, the game looked out of reach.

I hate to admit that I was one of those people who thought the game was over in the first half, but luckily no one on the BU bench thought so.

The Terriers went on a late first-half run to cut the deficit to 13, and completely controlled the second half, shooting a lights-out 58.3 percent to shock the Friars.

While the comeback was impressive, the fact BU won against a Big East Conference team was even more satisfying. Providence, while nowhere as good, plays in the same conference as the University of Connecticut, a women’s basketball dynasty.

Needless to say, the America East lacks such a national powerhouse.

Moving forward to Saturday morning, history was made when the women’s soccer team continued its magical season with a 3-0 win over Harvard University and won its first NCAA Tournament game ever at Nickerson Field.

Soccer unfortunately gets a backseat at this school, but that has not affected the women’s team.  If you have not seen this team play you have really missed out, since the rest of its games are on the road.

The Terriers finished an amazing 13-0 at Nickerson Field this season and travel to first-seeded Wake Forest University for their second round game.

I, personally, sense an upset on the horizon.

The cherry on top of a great sports weekend for a BU fan did not occur at BU, but in Newton on Sunday.

I will refrain from speaking about game details because anyone reading this should know them well, but rather focus on the fan experience.

When I decided to attend BU, I understood that its sports fans could not rival that of larger athletic programs, such as the University of Southern California, the University of Michigan or Duke University. I was okay with this because what mattered to me was quality, not quantity in the way of fans.

Sunday’s hockey game featured both – quality diehard BU fans in high quantity. I had not experienced such an amazing student presence at a road game since my freshman year when BU was in the Frozen Four in Washington, D.C.

The arrival of BU’s students could be heard throughout Boston College. I could not help but have goosebumps when all the students walked and cheered together on BC’s campus as one on the way to Conte Forum.

The only better feeling was when the students left Conte Forum, as the sound of chants vibrated throughout the Eagles’ campus.

One Comment

  1. Nice recap of a great weekend. Sure, I too wished a few of the outcomes were different, but the energy and school spirit displayed at all venues was awesome. It’s great to be a Terrier!!