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The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

Arden Village powderpuff team gets “the full experience”

Sophomore dorm residents immerse themselves within football culture for homecoming.
Kathryn Kovalenko
Arden Village’s offensive team smiles on the sidelines of the AV versus Commuter game. The coaches had split the players up into different shifts, enabling them to ensure everyone shared playing time. Between shifts, the girls cheered on their teammates and reviewed strategies with their position coaches.

Lucy Stay’s feet pounded against the bow of the curved treadmill as she pushed through another set of intervals. Next to her, more of her teammates completed their sprints, while others lifted weights, curling and pressing ten-pound plates as they warmed up their muscles. Team lifts in the Wellness Center aren’t uncommon, but this was no ordinary team: it was the Arden Village Powderpuff Team.

Though nine residence areas put together a powderpuff team to train and compete with during homecoming week each year, Arden Village did more than just run a couple of practices. 

Head coach Caleb Harris said that the coaches–current members of the Bethel University football team–wanted to “give [the girls] the full football experience,” noting that the group had participated in a “spark lift” and full-team meeting in CC313. The spark lift was a light warmup intended to warm players’ bodies and set minds right before the game began, while the team meeting afterward involved entertainment YouTube videos like “Guy on a Buffalo” by Jomo & The Possum Posse and “Turbulence” by Steve Aoki.

Arden Village Powderpuff players jump up and down while cheering for their teammates. The players each donned their hall t-shirts and red face paint, some opting to wear cleats and football gloves. (kath)

One of Arden Village’s many assistant coaches, Ben Frey, said the Bethel Royals football team follows the same rituals when preparing for their own games. 

After the meeting, the players and coaches made their way to the field, armed with their equipment: players with cleats and football gloves, and coaches with whiteboards, markers and gaming headsets to simulate the sideline of a National Football League game. In the first round, Arden Village took on freshman dorm Edgren. 

“I feel absolutely dialed,” Stay, the running back, said. “I think AV’s easily the best team out here, and I think we’re going to crush everyone.” 

Stay added that she had been paying close attention to her physical health in the days leading up to the big night. 

“I’ve been eating right, I’ve been getting sleep and I’ve been taking really good care of my body,” she said. “We’ve been preparing all week for this.”

Arden Village’s hours of practice showed in their first match as they scored two touchdowns and prevented Edgren’s offense from getting onto the scoreboard. 

“The first game was great,” Harris said. “We didn’t expect anything different. We knew we were going to dominate, so we did. We dominated.” 

We have a connection for sure. I’m always looking for her, she’s always looking for me.

— Julia Helget

In the second round, the team was set to play another freshman dorm: Bodien. Harris said the team’s strategy was to treat every team they played against as if they were Arden Village’s biggest competition: the Commuter team. Once again, Harris’ team came away with a decisive victory, scoring three times and holding Bodien scoreless.

Wide receiver Julia Helget contributed to the win with a touchdown off a pass from quarterback Maddie O’Connor.

“We’ve been playing sports together since we were like ten years old,” Helget said. “We have a connection for sure. I’m always looking for her, she’s always looking for me.” 

Finally, it was time to face the team Arden Village considered the most significant threat. Linebacker Molly Closser wasn’t fazed by the challenge the Commuter team presented. 

“I’m pumped,” she said. “We’re going in 2-0. We’ve won two games, and we’re about to win some more.” 

I would sacrifice my life for AV Powderpuff.

— Lucy Stay

Riding the high from the first two victories, the Arden Village team took to the field. The sidelines were bursting with spectator and team energy underneath the stadium lights. Onlookers chanted, “A-V! A-V! A-V!” while hoisting a loudspeaker blasting “Red Kingdom” by Tech N9ne, symbolizing Arden Village’s dorm color. The start of the game was promising, with Stay securing the first points on a long run into the end zone. 

“Maddie handed me the ball, I ran, had some amazing blockers, and was able to make it all the way through,” she said. “Got shoved a little bit at the end, but I dove into the end zone…literally. I would sacrifice my life for AV Powderpuff.” 

With a touchdown of their own paired with a pick-six, the Commuters pulled away from Arden Village and dealt them their first loss of the night.

It wasn’t over for Arden Village yet, as they shifted to the consolation bracket to take on their third freshman team of the night: Getsch. 

With elimination on the line, Arden Village and Getsch battled it out in a game that called for overtime. The teams went back and forth, making touchdown attempts from the five-yard line, yet neither could execute a game-winning play. So, in a twist of unluckiness for Arden Village, losing a round of rock-paper-scissors determined that they had one final chance to reach the end zone. If they failed, they would be eliminated. 

The snap.

The handoff.

The run.

And, finally, the flag snatch followed by Getsch celebration. The Arden Village team was out.

With fallen faces, the group congratulated the Getsch players before shuffling off to take a third-place team picture, beat out by second place Getsch and the victorious Commuters. Yet, in the face of loss, the girls still held onto hope for next year’s season.

“I’m a little disappointed, I’m not going to lie,” Stay said. “We worked really hard. But next year? It’s in the bag.”

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About the Contributor
Kathryn Kovalenko, Staff Photographer
Kathryn Kovalenko, 19, is a sophomore media production and journalism major. She enjoys making hyper-specific Spotify playlists, treasure hunting at Goodwill, and spending all her money on concert tickets. If you want hundreds of candid photos taken of you, ask her to hang out.  [email protected]  | 605.321.6455
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