On Friday evening the Idaho soccer team took to the field against in-state rival Boise State Aug. 25. Athletes laced up their cleats, coaches attempted inspiring speeches in the locker room and fans crowded the stands to cheer on the Vandals.
What separated this game from any other soccer game in the past? It was played inside the Kibbie Dome, making it the first women’s NCAA soccer game to be played indoors.
Before the game, administrators said they would like to see 5,000 spectators come out to support the Vandals. They were just shy of their goal with 4,171 fans cramming into the stands in an attempt to get the best seat in the house.
As visitors walked through the door, they were handed vuvuzelas to help create even more noise in the stands. And they did not disappoint.
The combination of the cheers, the band and the vuvuzelas created both a deafening noise that filled the Dome and an atmosphere that was tough to beat.
“What more can you ask for?” Idaho head coach Derek Pittman said in a news release. “Tremendous crowd, so thankful for all the fans, all the students, all the faculty, everybody that was able to come out.”
The Dome buzzed with energy until the first kick and then the stadium erupted. The fans went wild with their vuvuzelas, which seemed to give the Vandals extra energy throughout the game.
Pittman said he was glad the fans were able to see a fun and exciting game.
“I’m really proud of our players for fighting to the bitter end to get that result,” Pitman said. “To get that goal that sent it into overtime and then ultimately grinding out a result against a very good Boise State team.”
The key component to the Vandals’ exceptional performance against the Broncos was the crowd’s enthusiastic energy. There was not a single person in the Dome that wasn’t cheering on the athletes on the field with every breath.
Moving Idaho soccer games into the Kibbie Dome may not have been everyone’s favorite decision, but it certainly gave fans motivation to come out and support the Vandals. The fans on Friday gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “home-field advantage.”
Mihaela Karst can be reached at email@example.com