“7th Man” fanbase provides extra boost for Lady Indians

“7th Man” fanbase provides extra boost for Lady Indians
“7th Man” fanbase provides extra boost for Lady Indians(Brian Wheatley)
Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 12:53 PM EDT
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VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - The roar of the crowd is something all players in sports look for in their fan base, and for the Lady Indians volleyball team, the fan base they call the 7th man is like having an extra teammate.

“When another team comes in, the 7th man is crazy,” junior outside hitter Kyla Freddolino. “Like crazy loud, like shouting. I think it makes the other team uncomfortable, and since we’re like comfortable playing like here, it’s like oh yeah we got this we’re in the groove.”

Volleyball allows six players on the court at one time. So the Venice fans make their players feel like they have seven, but this fan base wasn’t built overnight. It’s a piece of the program that head coach, Brian Wheatley, has been continuously working on since he walked in the door 30 years ago.

“One of the things that we wanted to do here when I first got here is you got to kind of make it a production,” Wheatley said. “You got to promote the sport and 30 years, I started here in 94. We didn’t have social media and really had to dive into your pockets and figure out some good p.r. stuff.”

The presence is not just there for home games. The 7th Man is known to travel well for away games to always support their Lady Indians.

“Last season we had a regionl final game versus Plant, and that was our toughest game that season,” junior libero, Brighton Ferguson said. “We almost had lost but the crowd was stacked. That was like the biggest crowd we had that whole entire year. It kind of rocked their world when we came back and won the fourth set and all of the momentum was with us and just carried out. They play a huge role.”

The Lady Indians regular season starts on August 22nd, but there is a preseason game against Berkeley Prep on August 15th. They players and coaches expect the “7th Man” to be out in full force.