The stands were overflowing with enthusiastic fans at the Union soccer fields Feb. 1 as students cheered the Union Jaxx ultimate Frisbee team to victory in its first home game.
More than 400 students showed up to watch the Jaxx defeat the Vanderbilt Brickhouse team 16-15.
“It was by far the best game the Jaxx have ever played in the two years we have been a team,” said Harrison Hayes, team coach. “A lot of that was due to the crowd getting into it. [The team] knew they had to elevate their game in order to win.”
The two teams were neck and neck throughout the entire game until Vanderbilt pulled ahead 15-13 in the final minutes. Jaxx responded by scoring three points in a row to secure a narrow victory.
“I was never nervous about us winning or losing, just because the guys had poured every ounce of energy into it and I knew the crowd and fans would appreciate that,” Hayes said. “And it ended up being an amazing shot with the three point comeback! It was one word: ‘Unbelievable.’ I got goose bumps several times just because of the crowd.”
The team, which has 22 players, began advertising the game a month in advance, led by Riley Pope, sophomore digital media studies major and team media chairman.
Pope created an event on Facebook, hung posters around campus, encouraged his teammates to post about the game on social media and asked them to spread the word to their friends and different organizations.
“We definitely underestimated how many people would be there,” said Tyler Erlandson, sophomore athletic training major and team co-captain. “To see that many people show up and actually be involved and interested was awesome.”
Kathleen Hartsfield, senior public relations major, heard about the game on Facebook and attended because she knew a few of the players on the team.
“I didn’t expect it to be such a big deal,” she said. “When I saw the stands full of people, I got so excited and stood at the top with my friends. It was a great thing to be part of. I really hope they have another home game so we can get just as many people to go and cheer.”
A club team is a sports program that is not offered as a school varsity team but is more structured than the intramural program and provides competition against other universities.
The Frisbee game kicked off Jaxx’s spring season.
They will compete against other university club teams in four tournaments in Tennessee and surrounding states.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how far our team can progress over the course of the spring,” Erlandson said. “[Since] we have a very young team — we’ll have a solid team for the next couple of years. I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s in store for us as the years progress.”