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Community rallies together to support Eagles during watch party

Steve Shrenkel

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While the Ashland University Women’s basketball team faced off against the Montana State Billings Yellowjackets in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a group of fans rallied together back at home as they cheered on the Eagles to a victory.

The Ashland faithful were out in full force as they gathered to watch the game Monday night during a watch party in the Eagles’ Nest and Student Auditorium, both located in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center.

Campus operator and AU super fan, Loryln Senz, has been supporting the team ever since she began working at Ashland. Senz has been to nearly every game this past season to cheer on the women’s team.

“I’ve always been a huge basketball fan,” Senz said. “I’ve been to almost every game but two. I only missed those because I was sick.”

For every home game, she has her own reserved spot to watch in Kates gymnasium, where she supports the Eagles in any way that she can.

“I’ve been supporting them all the time that I have been here,” Senz said. “Every game they have a spot for me in the corner of the gym. When they come off the court, I get high fives from them.

Senz is such a passionate fan that she even got invited to a practice session this year by head coach Robyn Fralick where she met all the players and got to take a picture with the team.

“Three or four weeks ago I got an email from Robyn to come to one of their practice sessions and meet the team,” Senz said. “I got to take a picture with them and hug them all.”

She has been thoroughly impressed with the team and is always excited to cheer them on, she said.

“The season that they have had is kind of mind boggling,” Senz said. “I think it’s wonderful.”

Nathan Ahrens, an AU tech support assistant, helped to set up the event and make sure everything was running smoothly. He was surprised to see so many people in attendance from the community.

“I didn’t think that the rooms would filled with so many people that aren’t students,” Ahrens said. “I just wasn’t expecting this many people.”

The rooms were filled with both students and community members alike, each willing on the team throughout the game. Every time the Eagles would score, the ensemble of fans cheering grew in intensity and volume.

Steve Shrenkel

When the team passed Connecticut for the most points scored in a campaign in NCAA women’s basketball history, the crowd let out a thunderous applause that reverberated throughout the building.

As the game continued to progress, fans only grew louder with each play that occurred, knowing that a win would have the Eagles one step closer to being back to back national champions.

Mike Todd, one of the Eagles’ fans in attendance at the watch party, was excited to see the team back in the tournament for the second year in a row.
“I would like to watch AU win the national championship again,” Todd said. “I like to watch them play. It’s really fun to watch them win.”
The Eagles came into the game ranked as the No. 1 seed for the Division II tournament. They improved to 35-0 with the win and have won 72 games in a row.

The two-year run of Ashland not losing a game and having 72 straight victories is incredible, Todd said.

“Their streak is incredible,” Todd said. “It’s great to see them do so good and play as a team. There a good team to watch.”
Senz was impressed with just how well the Eagles played on Monday and is looking forward to Wednesday’s game, she said.

“It was an awesome game, I always felt they would win,” Senz said. “They have come a long way. I really glad we get to move on to Wednesday now.”

Another watch party will take place on Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. as they take on No. 5 seed Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the Final Four.

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