The MVNU volleyball team (24-3, 13-1) will play perhaps the most pivotal game of the season Saturday at Ariel Arena — in front of what could be the smallest crowd of the year.
MVNU's fall break starts on Friday and ends on Tuesday, giving students the option to go home for a long weekend.
Last season's home game against Indiana Wesleyan saw Ariel Arena nearly maxed out with fans, making it one of the most attended home athletic event.
But, this year students will have to stay on campus an extra day, or make the trip back to Mount Vernon to watch the highly anticipated matchup on Saturday. Or, probably more likely, they will choose to miss the game.
The Lady Cougars will host Indiana Wesleyan University (25-2, 12-0) Oct. 22 at 3 p.m.
The Wildcats currently hold the top spot in the Crossroads League with the Cougars threatening to grab the first place spot — just one game behind.
If the Cougars secure a victory against Indiana Wesleyan University this weekend, the two teams will be in a tie for the first seed in the conference.
Many students have expressed frustration and disappointment that they may have to miss the game.
Sophomore Hope Painter made plans for fall break, forcing her to miss the matchup.
“I love being able to support our teams and athletes and I won't be able to do that over midterm break,” Painter said, adding that she feels like she's being cheated of supporting the Cougars in their most important regular season game.
“I'm sure the ladies would appreciate the home support for their biggest game,” Painter said.
Senior Clayton Christopher is also disappointed.
“The arena was packed last year,” Christopher said. “It was great to see the Cougars beat Indiana Wesleyan last season, and I am very disappointed that I won’t be on campus to see the game on Saturday.”
MVNU freshman Nathan Parker has plans to stay on campus and attend the game regardless of the timing.
"It's going to be a great game," Parker said. "While the arena may not be completely full, we will definitely bring the Cougars lots of noise and intensity."
Regardless, the Lady Cougars plan to approach the matchup like any other game.
"We're going to play to the best of our abilities because these are the talents and gifts God has given us," junior Kelsey Bryte said.
Although the ladies were looking forward to a big crowd supporting them against IWU, it won't change anything for them.
"It's not going to affect the way we play. We play to glorify Christ," Bryte said.
The Cougars picked up their third straight conference victory on Tuesday night, beating out Huntington University 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-19).