Men’s basketball’s “Senior Night” inspires Villanova seniors

Rachel Bleier

Walking into the first Villanova basketball game of the season is incredible. The band is blasting the fight song, the bleachers in the student section literally rumble with people’s excitement and when those blue and white flags go up, the students know its about to go down. However, as exhilarating that first game is, the last game in the Pavilion is equally as bittersweet, especially for Seniors.

As the Wildcats got ready to say goodbye to another great class, and the winningest class in Villanova Basketball history, its hard not to reminisce about the good times and what basketball has meant to the players, and their peers for the last four years. As seniors, the Class of 2016 has watched the Wildcats evolve from an inconsistent, young team into a mature, powerhouse that makes us proud to call ourselves Villanovans.

“It’s [about] pride,” said senior Rory Beglane. “We’re a program where you truly play for the name on the front, not the back.”

The amount of time the Class of 2016 has spent together at basketball games has been worth every second. They have rushed the court twice in a week, watched Ryan Arcidiacono drain countless clutch threes and sung the fight song at the end of every game. Nothing has bonded the Senior Class together more than these special moments, and that’s what is so great about Villanova Basketball: it fosters a community unlike any other among students.

“I love the school spirit that comes out in watching Villanova basketball,” senior Patrick Ciapciak said. “There is something indescribable about the unity of an entire college coming together to cheer on their team.”

The Senior Class forged an incredible bond through the experience of rushing the court twice in a week as freshman. Those games marked definitive moments in the Class of 2016’s careers as Nationers.

“Storming the court twice in one week versus Louisville and Syracuse as a freshman made me fall in love with college basketball,” said Kalinka.

For others, Senior Night was simply about being together with their friends and classmates one final time. Its not often that the Class of 2016 is comes together in full, which makes Senior Night special for this alone.

“It’s a rare event that I can walk through the student section and see someone in almost every row that I personally know,” said senior Ashley Brede. “The Class of 2016 brought passion…to this final Pavilion game, and it absolutely brought us together as we enter our final months.”

Noting the significance of Senior Night at the Pavilion, senior guard Ryan Arcidiacono said, “It’s great to be able to play in front of a great crowd at Villanova, but to be able to play in front of the senior class was special. It will be a day I won’t forget and that I will cherish.

Its hard to imagine that tonight was the last time many Seniors will watch Villanova play at home in the Pavilion, but it won’t be the last time they celebrate the victories and mourn the tough losses. Basketball has given the Seniors moments that they will cherish forever, and built a foundation of undying loyalty to Villanova.

Brede said, “The finality of the Senior game at the Pavilion didn’t hit me until I was walking out, and I turned back to take one last look, one last deep breath and leave one of my favorite places for good. It hurts to walk out knowing that I’ll never lose my voice in the student section again, or hold up a cardboard cutout of Archie or Chef.”

As they raised their V’s one final time to sing the fight song, the seniors should remember “Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.”