Patriots Enjoy "Gnome Field Advantage" - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/30/7 - Tyler

Patriots Enjoy "Gnome Field Advantage"

They're breaking new ground at UT Tyler. For the first time ever, the University is fully eligible for the playoffs, and the Patriots women's' soccer team debuts in the postseason on Friday.

"It's really exciting," Patriots defender Kelly Buchanan said. "It's like our work is paying off finally, and we can go and win championships."

For the team, the enormity of the situation is just starting to set in.

"We're going to have a pep rally Wednesday night," Coach Stefani Webb explains, "and I told the girls yesterday about the pep rally. It was funny because it came out of my mouth and then I realized, ‘Oh, wow. We're going to be the first team to go to the playoffs.'"

For their first playoff game, the Patriots will be taking an old friend. Just like at every game, the team will take their gnome with them, an eight inch tall gnome statue that's a fixture at every Patriot game and practice.

Webb shines some light on their choice of good luck charm.

"Rachel (Assistant coach Addison) and I had a major discussion one day about the difference between an elf and a gnome, and who was cooler.  We got everybody to vote,  and the girls voted they thought gnomes were cooler. We made the girls write research papers on gnomes."

"Coach and Rachel got bored around the office," Buchanan said. "Now, it's kind of our good luck thing."

Laugh if you will, and it's perfectly understandable, but with that gnome, the Patriots are undefeated at home. It's gnome field advantage. It's gnome sweet gnome. It's just a part of a team playing great ball, having fun, and bonding together in goofy stuff.

"Everybody's kind of dingy in the head," senior forward Jorden Reed laughs. " It's something that we have, it's our thing for us."

"Nobody understands it except us."

Reid Kerr can be reached at

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