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Hope not enough for VU win, but fans don’t mind

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Updated: April 23, 2013 2:09PM



VALPARAISO — With cheers and groans, applause and “aws,” more than 300 Valparaiso University students and faculty gathered in the ballroom at Harre Union to watch the Crusaders face off against Michigan State University on Thursday.

The game was not a hopeful one. By halftime, the Crusaders lagged behind MSU 18 to 35 on MSU’s home turf in Auburn Hills, Mich. It was the Crusaders’ first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2004.

“That’s the risk of being the underdog, but they have turned around from behind before, so we’re very hopeful,” said Kristen Knoerzer, creative associate in media relations.

The crowd, many clad in golden yellow, rooted the team on all the same. Taylor Wiese, a freshman from Normal, Ill., wore a yellow Valpo sweatshirt over a lace skirt.

“I’m a huge Valpo basketball fan,” she said, adding she’s followed the team all year, even though she doesn’t know everything about the game.

She saw the game as a great opportunity to get the university’s name out there at a time when VU is hoping to grow. Wiese said she has cable in her dorm room, but watching the game there wouldn’t be the same.

“It’s cool coming together. It’s a small student body, so this is a huge chunk coming together to see the game,” she said, as news came across the large screens set up in the ballroom that both Homer Drew and his wife, Janet, were declared cancer-free a month ago.

That, too, brought cheers from the crowd. But as the score continued to slip in the second half of the game, fans held on to the hope that the Crusaders could still rally at the very end.

Kimberly Peterson, a freshman from Wheatfield, said her professor dismissed class so students could watch the game, and a lot of her friends didn’t have class, either.

“I have faith they can bring it back,” she said, as Valpo scored another two points. “There you go!”

Friend Kelly Retzlaff, a sophomore from DeMotte, maintained the same positive mental attitude.

“It’s so fast and changing, you don’t want to give up hope until the last couple seconds,” she said.

Hope wasn’t enough; the Crusaders lost to MSU, 54 to 65.



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