Suffolk soccer scores for fans, university hosts annual Rams Fan Fest

Seniors recognized for dedication to program

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Suffolk soccer scores for fans, university hosts annual Rams Fan Fest

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics

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A wet and dreary day in the Boston Area did not put a damper on festivities for Suffolk University soccer. For the third year in a row, both men’s and women’s soccer held Rams Fan Fest at James A. Sartori Stadium at East Boston Memorial Park.

Rams Fan Fest was a highly anticipated occasion where both men’s and women’s soccer held a family-friendly event, hosting free food and drinks to anyone who came out and supported. On Saturday, despite heavy rain to begin the day, the affair was off and running.

The day began with food, drinks and a balloon man. Before the game, the Lady Rams celebrated the team’s seniors. In total, the team had six to its name, including co-captains Jennifer Martin and Alexandra Nagri.

The match started off on a strong note, as the Lady Rams dominated Rivier University, 5-0.

Rami Esrawi / Journal Contributor

Ironically enough, on a day for celebrating the seniors, the only players to score for the Lady Rams were seniors. Captain Jen Martin stole the show as she ran all over the field and provided instant offense for Suffolk. Martin scored four of the team’s five goals in the game, including two in spectacular fashion.

“Senior day was an extremely special day,” explained Martin in a recent interview with The Suffolk Journal. “My performance and the team’s performance made that day even more special and memorable.”

Martin included that her favorite Rams Fan Fest was the one held on Saturday because of senior day. Martin did admit there was sadness in the air, as it was one of the last home games for her and the five other seniors, but also discussed how the support from the fans played a huge role in the 5-0 victory.

The most heartwarming of the six senior celebrations was defenseman and biology major Brooke Heathco. Heathco was surprised by her brother, Maxwell, who is in the Naval Academy.

In a recent interview with The Journal, Heathco explained how she had no idea her brother was even in attendance.

“The emotions that washed over me were indescribable,” said Heathco. “I was so overwhelmed by happiness, love and pride that he was there and he did that for me.”

Heathco wanted to thank her family and teammates for organizing the surprise with her father. She said how she was fortunate to have an amazing group of friends and family.

Georgia Grillakis, a fifth year senior at Suffolk studying fine arts, said it was her third time being at Rams Fan Fest. Grillakis always enjoyed coming out for games so that she could show support for one of her teammates, Nagri.

Grillakis and Nagri are teammates in the winter. Nagri, who netted a goal in the event, is a multi-sport athlete at Suffolk, participating in soccer as well as basketball.

Despite rain to begin, the weather eventually cleared up, making it a beautiful fall day in Boston. As a result of the weather improvement, fans came out to show their support.

Shannon Smith, a junior from Suffolk, said it was her first time being at Rams Fan Fest and was impressed with what the event had to offer.

“[Rams Fan Fest] is awesome,” exclaimed Smith in a recent interview with The Journal. “It’s cool because not everyone can go out to games since [the field] is in East Boston, so it’s a good reason to get everyone to actually come.”

Second-year employee of East Boston Memorial Park, Sean Lee, explained how the event is an amazing program. Lee also said that he is reminded all the time of the beautiful Suffolk

Rami Esrawi / Journal Contributor

campus the looms right near the complex whenever the Rams compete at the park.

The men’s team did not have as successful of a day, falling 5-2 to Norwich University despite Suffolk outshooting the opponent 13-12. The goals were scored by forward Alex Desaulnier and midfielder Jack O’Connor.

After the loss, Suffolk fell to 6-6-1 overall on the season. The loss to Norwich proved costly as they dropped to 3-5-1 within the Great Northeast Atlantic Conference (GNAC).

The men’s team is a much younger squad in comparison to the women’s. Men’s soccer is only home to two seniors, defenseman Mike Luntadila and midfielder Ankit Shrestha.

Supportive parents littered the stands as both men’s and women’s soccer competed.

Shatina Fieldsend, mother of sophomore Julia Fieldsend on the Lady Rams, said this was her first time ever coming to a game. Fieldsend explained how she was excited to see what Ram Fan Fest was like, and said she was having a great time.

Steve Casey, father of junior Jordan Casey, explained how he has not missed a game in the past three seasons that his son has been on the team. As an experienced fan, Casey has seen his fair share of Ram Fan Fests.

“I think [Rams Fan Fest] is great, it’s great they do something for the fans,” said Casey in a recent interview with The Journal. “It’s unfortunate that we’re a little bit outside the city and we can’t draw more fans.”

Casey also provided a critique to the program.

“For this event, they should do something for the players. The kids aren’t going to eat pizza and soda before a game,” said Casey.

Although the day ended with a tough loss for the Rams, the event was still a large success. With plenty of smiles, hugs and full stomachs, Rams Fan Fest 2017 will go down as a special day for many.

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