Trojan softball recognized for NCAA record book
By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on January 9, 2008 3:48 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive softball finished fifth in the nation among NCAA Division II schools in average home attendance and total home attendance in 2007, as compiled by the NCAA.
Nearly 3,000 fans -- 2,865 in fact -- attended the Trojans' 13 home games last spring. The average was 220 and the mark will be published in this year's NCAA Softball Records Book.
Mount Olive head softball coach Jaime Kylis-Higginbotham says the school's "family atmosphere" is one of the main reasons for the high attendance ranking.
"During the game, I can look at the stands and not only see students and parents, but also professors and staff members and even our president, Dr. Byrd," said Kylis-Higginbotham. "We also get a lot of fans from the local community."
Mount Olive posted a record of 39-17 last year to set a school record for wins in a season. The Trojans earned a share of the 2007 Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference (now Conference Carolinas) regular-season championship with a 16-4 mark.
"Our attendance has dramatically increased over the years that I have been here," said Kylis-Higginbotham, who enters her sixth year. "I think there's something to be said about the quality of kids that we bring in."
Angelo State (Texas) ranked first in both total and average attendance. Its average attendance in 21 home dates was 265, only 45 more spectators per date than Mount Olive. Ironically, Kylis-Higginbotham's alma mater Valdosta State (Ga.) finished just ahead of Mount Olive in fourth place in attendance per home date.
Kylis-Higginbotham expressed her appreciation of the fan support and how the home crowd helps inspire her team.
"Our fans really drive us during 'crunch time,'" said Kylis-Higginbotham. "They help give us that edge and give us a true home field advantage."
The Trojans open their 2008 season Feb. 13 at in-state rival Chowan University. Their home opener is Feb. 15 against Newberry (S.C.) College. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Nancy Chapman Cassell Field.
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