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Cyclones fans rock their shades at Dominican match

In an attempt to attract a larger audience, the Mills Volleyball Team held the first of many themed matches against Dominican University last Friday.

Flyers advertised the match for days ahead of time and read, “Do you like to wear your shades at night? Come rock them at the Volleyball game.” Although the match resulted in a 3-0 loss against Dominican’s undefeated Lady Penguins, spectators and team members agreed the match was fun.

Volleyball Coach Daniel Rasay came up with the idea for themed games in the hopes of attracting the same support he was accustomed to when playing for the University of Hawaii.

“I think that theme nights are a great way to draw people to the games and also to bring out some school spirit in people,” said Rasay. “I cannot take any credit for the idea of the stunna shades theme … the players came up with it, I just try to support them in their ideas.”

After team members brainstormed, freshwoman Alissa Chastan came up with the idea for a “Stunna Shades” Volleyball game, taking into consideration the popular song “I Wear My Stunna Glasses at Night,” a song from local Oakland band Federation and E-40. Rasay claims the team would often hear the song on road trips in the van.

“It wasn’t a contest, it was just to get more support and have it be more fun,” said sophomore and co-Captain Rebecca Frank. “Since we don’t have a halftime, it’s kind of hard to coordinate things like that, but we do plan on continuing themed games and giving away treats to the audience.”

Although there was no “Stunna Shades” winner at the game against Dominican, freshwoman Andrea Schmitt and sophomore Robin Cummuing, both members of the volleyball team, did go out into the crowd after the 9-30 and 14-30 game losses to give away colorful toy sunglasses and pump up the crowd with “Let’s go Cyclones” and “Come on fans.”

Despite the 19-30 loss of the third game, spectators agreed the girls played a good game and had fun doing so while maintaining good sportsmanship.

Unlike the Lady Penguins’ organized chants and choreographed stomps that harassed the Cyclones and highlighted their faults, sophomore and co-captain Vaughan Bradley-Willemann said the Cyclones do not practice cheering against the other team.

“We just celebrate our own successes and keep our cheers between ourselves,” said Bradley-Willemann.

“They tried to intimidate us with their chants,” Mills sophomore Brittany Taylor-Vernon said of the Lady Penguins’ chants. “But they didn’t … our girls stayed focused and they had our support the entire time.”
“It makes a big difference,” Frank says of the support of the Mills community. “I don’t think people realize how much the energy the fans give really affects the energy on the court.”
The match ended with a “Thanks, fans!” from the team, and although Mills suffered another loss, Willemann says fans can expect this fall’s volleyball team to continue improving.