MORAGA (KRON) — “Everyone here is just so excited — it’s awesome.”
Back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2017, the student body at Saint Mary’s College thrilled to see their school back on the map.
“They came a long way,” said sophomore Jairo Cuellar. “The beginning of the season didn’t look too good, but you know, and now they pull it off, and especially with that last win, with Gonzaga, it was pretty hype.”
A campus watch party was held at Dryden Hall in Moraga.
Though the first round game between the 11th-seeded Gaels and the sixth-seeded Villanova University is in Hartford, Connecticut, students say catching the action at home is the next best thing.
“Just the chemistry of the team, from going to the games, I know play really well together, and offensive runs pretty well,” said sophomore student Connor Lee.
The last time Saint Mary’s and Villanova squared off against each other was nearly a decade ago with Saint Mary’s coming out on top.
The Gael’s are expecting another win.
“I we can pull out a big upset, you know, admissions will go up, everything will start to get better here, you’ll start to see kids more excited about basketball,” said another sophomore Damian Cortez.
Freshman Brianna Becerra says the game is about more than just basketball.
“Not a lot of people know about Saint Mary’s, so it’s really cool that we have our name out there,” Becerra said.
Sophomore Victoria Striebel shares similar sentiment.
“Considering Saint Mary’s is such a small school, you know, out in Moraga, California — just a small town. It’s a really big deal to think we’re going to the NCAA and participating in such a big event,” she said.
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