Athletes keep focus amid homecoming distractions

While the rest of the campus buzzed with activity during University of Wisconsin-Platteville Homecoming week, Pioneer athletes stayed focused on team goals and looked forward to larger crowds.

It was business as usual for Pioneer athletes.  Another week of long days spent juggling practice, homework and studying.  To those involved in Pioneer athletics, homecoming games are treated no more importantly than other games.

“We take it one week at a time and work hard at all our practices,” senior outside linebacker Dave Daino said.   “We don’t think of homecoming as a big event, it’s just another football game we want to win.”

From a coaching standpoint, each game is prepared for in the same manner.  No extra drills are assigned to players just because it is homecoming.  We try to stay true to our goals, said football Coach Emendorfer.

The women’s volleyball team adjusted part of their practice for homecoming.  The team practiced with loud music last week to accustom themselves to the loud environment of a homecoming game, said senior middle hitter Stephanie Kirchner.

The biggest change for Pioneer athletes during homecoming week was drawing more fans to the games.  With high alumni attendance, homecoming games gave Pioneer teams a chance to shine.

“Homecoming is a special opportunity for current student athletes to play in front of former Pioneers and showcase their talents,” Emendorfer said.

A large crowd of fans added excitement for Pioneer athletes.  The chance to play in front of fans at home energizes and builds team morale.

“As a team we like to play in front of huge crowds,” Kirchner said.  “We play better when we have our home fans.”

Pioneer athletes would like to see large crowds more often.  Crowds tend to dwindle when homecoming is over or if a team suffers a lot of losses.

“Every sporting event should be attended by fans, regardless of their record,” men’s soccer senior middle fielder Brandon Chmiel said.  “Not just on homecoming week.”