By Makayla Smith & Ariel Porter
KNOXVILLE – The final event of Wednesday’s Homecoming activities featured a fierce battle of alumni versus students in a late night floor hockey face off.
The white team featured former Johnson University Tennessee students, while current students donned blue and black.
After quick team photos, all players joined the referees in the middle for a pre-game prayer. Then, the challenge was on.
With the first ball drop, white gained control for what would be a ferocious back and forth.
No team could seem to gain the lead as the ball sped back and forth along the walls. Each shot was successfully blocked by the opposing goalie.
The first period ended in a deadlock of 0-0.
With the start of the second period, tensions began to rise. Spectators could feel the hum of energy radiating off the competitive players.
With 6:40 left in the period, the alumni white team scored the first point.
Anxious with the rising energy, the sideline teammates beat their sticks against the ground as they rooted on their team.
The student team fought back, but wasn’t able to make any headway on the scoreboard.
They soon suffered a penalty as freshman Brendan Endsley took to the court for an unsuccessful substitution, resulting in too many players on the court. The team was forced to compete a player short for two minutes.
The third period began with fierce efforts from both sides.
Members from the teams collided, tripped, and crashed on the floor. Corner battles left players struggling for control.
“[I enjoy] being the enforcer and getting down in the corners and being the ‘bash brothers’ with my brother Nathan,” said senior Jenson Martinelli, who has 2 years of floor hockey under his belt. “I enjoy the high level of intensity/adrenaline rush that the game provides.”
Sophomore Nathan Martinelli said, “[I love] the fellowship and getting to do something active with fun people. I also love coming in and being ‘bash bros’ with my blood brother Jenson.”
With 10:43 left in the third period, white scored their second point. 34 seconds later, they gained another point.
The score was looking dim for the current students who were losing 0-3.
Finally, with 5:35 left, the blue and black team got on the board.
They were desperate as they called a time out with 2:55 left on the clock. The two teams fought until the end, but blue and white wasn’t able to score again.
The game ended 3-1 with alumni obtaining the victory. They celebrated another victory in the old gym among the crowd’s uproar.
Kerri Weaver (formerly Kerri Christe), ’11, enjoyed her chance to get back in the game after 3 years competing in college, and said she was still friends with everyone.
Another alumnus, Nathan Worley ’10, said “[My favorite part is] the ability to be so competitive, but at the end of the match you are still best buds.”
The two teams finished with a friendly row of high fives.