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Night Tailgate: ‘Nova Versus UCLA

Chloe Miller
Villanovans attended the tailgate this past Saturday and will show up again this weekend.

On Saturday, Dec. 9, fraternity brothers and sorority sisters will load into buses, trains and cars, but Atlantic City will not be their destination. 


Prior to Villanova’s matchup with UCLA on Dec. 9, hundreds of Villanovans will return to the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center for another year of tailgating. 


Whether the game is at noon, 8 p.m. or five days away from finals, students always show up three hours early, fully clothed in Wildcat gear and ready to let loose. 


While some students tailgated at last weekend’s Big 5 Classic, for some, Saturday night will mark their first of many Villanova tailgates. For others, it will mark the start of their second, third or final season of tailgating. 


Based on past tailgates, there is no denying that the student body will be locked in from the minute security lets buses and cars into the parking lot. 


There is no replicating a Villanova gameday in a 21,000-seat arena, especially when it is a game between two of the country’s most storied programs. 


Students have been looking forward to this game for months, and Saturday has been marked on their calendars since the 2023-2024 schedule was released. 


One of those students is junior Julia Domingo.


A Los Angeles native, the game against the Bruins will be against Domingo’s hometown team.


Domingo’s connection to UCLA runs deep. She grew up going to games at Pauley Pavilion, which means if Villanova wins, she will have bragging rights at Christmas. 


“There’s definitely some excitement,” Domingo said. “Both my parents attended and met at UCLA, so I’ve been to a lot of their games before. I love watching UCLA, but on Saturday I’ll be rooting for ‘Nova.” 


As for the tailgate, this will be Domingo’s third year participating. She has been to tailgates in single-digit temperatures, the pouring down rain and the cold dark nights. Domingo knows what to expect and she knows what to bring. 


“My advice would be to get to the tailgate early,” Domingo said. “Bring a disposable cup, and some hand warmers because it will be really cold especially for a night game.” 


Saturday will mark the first Wells Fargo gameday for freshman Ali Benjamin.


Having experienced the atmosphere in the Finneran Pavilion, Benjamin is excited to see what a Villanova basketball game is like in an NBA arena. 


“I expect the energy at the Wells Fargo Center will be even bigger than at the Finn, and that’s already high energy,” Benjamin said. 


As of now, Benjamin’s plans for the tailgate are tentative, but she is planning on attending. 


A big talking point surrounding Villanova vs. UCLA has been the lack of tickets provided to the student body. It is a rarity for students to be waitlisted for a game at the Wells Fargo Center, but this year only a handful of students received tickets. 


 Some believe there was an issue with the app, and others have been left wondering. 


Many of Benjamin’s peers did not get a ticket, so the group she will be going with will vary on who won the lottery. 


“I plan on going with friends and whoever was able to get a ticket is who I’ll be going with,” Benjamin said. “Most people I talked to didn’t get a ticket. I heard there was a glitch and, like, no one got a ticket. I’m still excited to go with those who did, though.”


While the game requires a ticket, the tailgate does not. Even though the main attraction is ‘Nova vs UCLA, plenty of fun can still be had if one chooses to tailgate. 


Whether it be tailgating in nine degrees, wearing three layers of socks, spending $70 on food or overindulging in beverages, Wells Fargo tailgates provide fun memories that will never leave the minds of those who witness and experience them. 


With finals just days away, there is a lot of stress. Students are eager to return home for a break that lasts nearly a month. Standing in their way are papers, exams and projects. This can lead to many sleepless nights, tears and frustration. 


As important as it is to study for exams, taking a break and enjoying life outside the textbooks and PowerPoints is also vital to the success and well-being of Villanova students. 


In other words, one does not come to Villanova just to stress about their exams, papers or their interview with JPMorgan. Students also chose a school like Villanova to make lifelong memories. 


“Community” is a word that is used at Villanova daily. Whether it’s basketball games, carpooling or sharing a Quizlet, Villanovans have a tight connection. Through the good times and the stressful times, the students love to celebrate and uplift each other, and this attitude will be on full display on Saturday, Dec. 9 in the parking lot of a 21,000-seat arena. 


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Chloe Miller
Chloe Miller, Co-Culture Editor
One of two Co-Culture Editors for The Villanovan in 2023, Chloe Miller is a senior studying Communication specializing in Public Relations and Advertising. Chloe has held the position of Co-Culture Editor since Fall 2021, and has written articles on the Philadelphia Justice Project and the ultimate SEPTA Train Guide during her time as Co-Culture Editor. A spirited addition to the editorial staff, Chloe prides herself on her ability to identify what language someone took in high school. Her work has also appeared in Lancaster Online.
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