The California Lutheran University women’s volleyball team was honored at the Duke University vs. University of Oregon men’s college basketball game March 24 during the Sweet Sixteen of March Madness.
“It was a really fun experience to be able to come together, even though we were on spring break and still see each other,” junior libero Nicole Tetherow said. “It was a bummer that not everyone could make it, but the people who were there and the family members who were able to make it and friends were there. It was just an overall really enjoyable experience and definitely one of the best moments of my life. It was unreal.”
The Regals were invited to be honored for their National Championship title at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California and the NCAA didn’t hold anything back. They said they were very shocked and humbled to receive this level of recognition from the NCAA.
“An NCAA representative emailed our coach and asked if we would be interested in attending the game. I think it’s something they try to do with every level to honor NCAA championship teams,” senior outside hitter Allie Eason said in an email interview. “There was another team that was honored the night after we were too. We all joked it was just another [championship] perk.”
According to junior middle-back Monica Lundgren, the Regals were shown to their floor seats by a 2009 Cal Lutheran alumna directly behind the basket. They were shown to a hospitality suite that the band from the previous game was using as well. The Regals were marched out to center court during halftime and given a standing ovation by the crowd of Oregon and Duke fans. The Regals post championship game picture was shown over the jumbotron for everyone to see.
“Honestly it’s weird to think that people in DI college basketball on Duke were our age or younger. We were watching them do what we had to do too. We know what it’s like to both win and lose on that stage,” Lundgren said. “So that was pretty cool to see. It was actually people we could relate with winning the game, knowing that feeling and knowing what it’s like to be moving on to the Elite Eight. We can share that with them even though they are so much higher of a level, than us which was cool.”
According to Tetherow and Lundgren, the Regals were excited to be able to share their National Title win with more than just the Thousand Oaks community. They said this was one of the most exciting National Champion perks they have been a part of because it was so different and it involved so many people to share their experience with.
“It was different because it wasn’t just within the Thousand Oaks community. It was fans for a completely different sport, it was a higher division with even more fans. It was like a humbling experience almost for me,” Tetherow said. “You know you walk out and have stage fright. You don’t realize what other athletes go through, but you understand that feeling of wanting to win so bad. It was really cool to see that and see fans just be excited for sports in general.”
Published April 6th, 2016