Friday Night Lights

On September 24th, fans showed up in force for girls’ soccer’s first-ever game under the lights

Quakes+dominate+Carver+in+first-ever+Friday+Night+Lights+game

Kristen Andrews

Quakes dominate Carver in first-ever Friday Night Lights game

Tonight is the night. The first Friends Friday night lights soccer game to ever take place. It’s a crisp, cool night in September, about 70 degrees, and Quaker Nation is ready for a good game. The student section is decked out in neon from head to toe, packed around the track, eagerly awaiting the sound of the first whistle. 

The whistle sounds, and the game has begun! In the first few minutes, the Quakers maintain possession of the ball. Forward Maya Carnes ’22 fires shot after shot, but each time the ball narrowly misses. After many attempts on goal, her twin sister, Mani Carnes, takes a powerful shot that goes right past the goalie and into the net. The student section erupts in cheers!

This is the first of many goals to come. In the rest of the first half, Casey Brown ‘22 and Avery Goldstein ‘22 also scored goals. At the end of the first half, the score is Quakes 3 – Carver 0. We go on to dominate the second half. The scoring just wont stop! Mani scores once again, and Casey finishes the game with two more.

Players say a Friday night game is completely different than a typical game. The adrenaline is rushing, there is a student section full of fans, there’s a new level of competitiveness to the game, and the bright lights create a new atmosphere. 

“It was surreal, because I never thought that we would be able to have a moment like that,” says defensive back Zayda Greene. “I’ve always watched games like that at Calvert Hall and Curley, and I’ve always wished to be in that moment, and to finally experience that feels super duper good. With the fans being there, with family being there, with teachers and staff being there, and all of the support, it really felt like a sense of community, and really that’s what sports is all about.” 

“Fans especially have an effect on how the team plays” agrees forward Casey Brown. “Absolutely, crowds make a difference. Everyone is trying to show off a little bit in front of the fans.” 

When the final whistle blows, the Quakes have defeated Carver 6-0. As soon as the game is over, Carver staff quickly ushers fans out of the stadium; they do not seem happy. They made it clear that they wanted us to leave.

“So I have known the Carver [Athletic Director] for years, and have always had a pleasant relationship with her,” says Athletic Director Ken Zalis. “At 4 pm the day of the game, she and I communicated, and to my surprise and pleasure, she informed me that we had sold over 150 tickets to the game and she was not prepared for such a large group. I assured her we would have plenty of staff on hand to assist her in any way she wanted. I think the enthusiasm from our fans and students just overwhelmed her.”

Carver parents, and the team’s coach, criticized Friends fans and players, because the fans were cheering loudly, and the players didn’t hold back and stop scoring, once it was clear they were winning. Were they in the wrong?

“I did experience the coach saying that he thought the way we played lacked sportsmanship,” says head coach Isaiah Noreiga. “From my perspective I teach my girls to play hard and to be physical because that’s just part of the game. I think they delivered that, but it can just get misinterpreted sometimes.”

Especially, Coach Isiah says, in a context like the Carver game, in which one team has a big lead.

“We had over 150 people at the game, and it was the first Friday night game in Friends girls soccer history,” Coach Isaiah continued. “For our seniors especially, it was such an important game for them, so we played with a lot of emotions. I think we handled those emotions well and it was an exciting game. The girls wanted to bring their best effort.”

Was it unsportsmanlike for Friends to continue scoring goals after having control the entire game? 

“I think that’s what sports is about,” says fan favorite Zayda.  “And what I really don’t like is that it has become kinda like a taboo when it comes to female sports, that there’s supposed to be some sort of mercy. If you watch any other sports in A-conference or B-conference, they’re always trying to put their competitors away and they’re not trying to do it in a friendly way. You want to put them away really bad, and you want to make a statement. And that’s what we did.”