Fans impact home play of Flames
Playing on their home field or on their home court has proved to be an advantage for the Flames. Some may credit this to luck or chance, but the coaches of Lee feel that the fans of Lee have helped their teams feel relaxed and have helped their teams to succeed on the field and on the court.
The Lee University Flames volleyball and men and women's soccer teams have a combined record of seven wins, nine losses, and two ties. At home, the Flames teams have a combined record of five wins, four losses and one tie.
'It does a lot for our players and our guys [to] know that we're on our home field and we take a great pride in wanting to do well for those fans that come out and support us,' Head Men's Soccer Coach Paul Furey said.
The fans that fill the stadium seating and that surround the field to support the men and women's soccer team have created an exciting atmosphere for fans and players.
Last season the volleyball team proved that they are almost unbeatable at home, going 17-1 throughout the year. They hope for another season at home like they had last season, but Head Volleyball Coach Andrea Hudson wants to focus on improving on the road this season.
'This weekend we go on the road, and last year it was the road schedule that really hurt us, so we're hoping we play better on the road this year,' Hudson said.
Last year the men's soccer team went 7-3 at home, all losses coming in the overtime period. Despite the losses, Furey feels that they were tough to beat at home last season, and hopes for the same results this year.
'We want to be, this year along with every year, a team that is difficult to beat on their home field,' Furey said.
The women's soccer team went undefeated last year at home, posting nine wins and zero defeats.
'We do appreciate the support we get at home and that makes a big difference in terms of getting our kids up and ready to play when they have a home crowd supporting them,' Head Women's Soccer Coach Matt Yelton said.
All together last season, the men and women's soccer teams and the women's volleyball team went 33-4 at home. Furey believes that their home record last year, and hopefully this year, is credited to their fan support.
'We want to be a team that does not lose on our home field, and having that support from the spectators is a big part of helping us do that,' Furey said.
Not only do the coaches feel like the fans have an effect on the game, but the fans feel that they play a part in the team's success as well.
'To be a part of the student section really makes me feel more connected to the team and to the game. The more hype we create, the more it seems that the team gains energy and momentum,' junior resident assistant Garrett Blaising said.
Hudson, on the other hand, believes that the number of fans supporting the players is high, but the volume is not where her players wish it would be.
'We have a big crowd, but they just sit and observe, which is what's been happening lately. We wish we could get our fans back into really cheering, and our players want that,' Hudson said.
Hudson believes that the crowd could be extremely helpful, but they just need to add a little more energy to the game.
Although the energy at the volleyball games could be raised, the attendance at the games are high. Every home soccer game, men's or women's, there are hundreds of fans, and close to 100 at the volleyball games cheering on their team.
The fan sections of these teams have come to love the game, not just the social aspect of the games.
'In the past, the soccer games have been more of a social event. Now, it seems like it's something people come to because they actually care and [they] want to support the team,' Blaising said.
The fans will be out supporting their teams this weekend at home. Women's soccer takes on University of West Georgia on the Sept. 26 while volleyball hosts their Lee Invitational, where they take on Kentucky Wesleyan College, Campbellsville University, Southern Wesleyan University and Bryan College all within the span of two days. Men's soccer host Shawnee State University the Sept. 27 before they open conference at home against the University of West Florida the Oct. 3.
Last season the combination of these teams at home was 33-4, while their away records were 12-11-6. Home field advantage and fans have helped these teams succeed at home.