Villanova Community Celebrates Another National Championship



Isabella Nardone

It was supposed to be once in a lifetime. One shining moment. The University and the members of its community partied like it was 1985. This past Monday, however, redefined the experience of March Madness for the Nova Nation— both on campus and across the country. The achievement of winning the Division One Men’s Basketball NCAA National Championship is coveted by all programs but few actually come close to attaining this penultimate degree of success.

 For the second time in three years, the University’s basketball team was victorious and the celebrations unfolded accordingly.

Many of the roads leading to campus, including Lancaster Avenue, were closed as part of the safety precautions for the reaction to the game. SEPTA also made the decision for no trains to stop on campus once the game had started. There was also a very strong law enforcement presence with SWAT teams, riot police, crowd control measures and other special units to enforce the rule of law. 

Nonetheless, these efforts did not stop students from rejoicing in the team’s third NCAA championship title in the school’s history. 

 Due to the construction of Finneran Pavilion, which served as the main game watch venue in 2016, the University set up two main locations on campus: outside at The Oreo as well as throughout the Connelly Center with centralized locations in Belle Air Terrace and the Villanova Room.

The Oreo had two outdoor projector screens and carnival games set up for students to watch the game under a full moon. Members of the community filled the Villanova Room to maximum capacity and a sizable crowd went to Belle Air Terrace. 

Freshman Billy Loewen ’21, attended the outside watch party and was soaked in the occasion.

“It’s definitely a great feeling to be able to come to this school that’s known for basketball and see them be the best team in the nation,” said Loewen. “All I can hope for now is that this isn’t the last time that I get to experience all of this while I’m still at Villanova.”  

For some upperclassmen who were at the University for the 2016 championship, this year’s game presented an opportunity for a different experience. 

Juniors Liam Ryan ‘19 and Richard Masiello ’19, took advantage of the Easter Break to travel to San Antonio and attend the Final Four game as well as the championship game, in person. 

“It was crazy to see the extent to which the city was packed with fans from all teams,” Masiello said. “You couldn’t walk anywhere without someone yelling something about one of the Final Four teams.”

This unique atmosphere created an incredible energy which provided something very distinct compared to being on campus. Being at the game, according to Ryan, demonstrated the magnitude of the Villanova community in both size and passion as they traveled far and wide to show their support. 

Ryan further described how the incredible combination of students, alumni and fans made the celebration of the game a memory which would last forever.

When the final buzzer for the game sounded, blue and white confetti rained down from the sky and cheers erupted all over campus. Students instantly fled the Connelly Center, The Oreo and their dorms on campus for Lancaster Ave. 

Although Lancaster Ave. was completely closed, students who watched the game at Kelly’s Taproom ran all the way down the road until finally stopping at the University. Meghan Dwyer ‘19 described this particular experience  as  “surreal.” 

“Watching the game in Kelly’s and rushing out onto Lancaster after the game was something I will never forget,” said Dwyer.  “As a junior, it’s not lost on me how lucky I am to be able to experience two national championships.”

Despite the unforgettable night, Dwyer said that her freshman year experience slightly tops this years. 

“Freshman year it was such a rush to win on a buzzer beater, and I don’t think the campus was fully ready for the celebrations that occurred. This years celebrations were definitely toned down a bit, but still both nights go down as some of the best of my life.”

Perhaps it is the fleeting possibility of another success that makes the celebration and significance of these types of games so special. The capacity for this team’s success to have positive impacts on the University and its surrounding community are monumental in both principal and realization. As a result, one shining moment can become everlasting.