RICHMOND, Va. -- As the VCU Rams men's basketball team took care of business on the court winning the A-10 title Sunday in Brooklyn, the VCU Peppas brought their unique brand of energy to the arena from the baseline.
“In each game, [Peppas director] Ryan [Kopacsi]’s like, ‘make sure you bring the heat.’ I’m like the heat was brought the last game!” Peppa Andre Aboite said.
Anyone on social media saw the praise heaped on VCU's pep band during the Rams' run through the tournament.
“Like our song “Never Scared,’ I was never scared. I was very confident they were going to win!” Peppa Jessica Johnson said. “Shout out to our fans, VCU fans. No matter what state we’re in they are there, they are loud, they are matching our energy.”
“Through the whole season, you could see the team growing, connecting with each other, learning their plays and all that. It’s really awesome to see in the front row,” Peppa Michelle Vo added.
“We’re always locked, and we’re always having so much fun!” Peppa Nicole Rodriguez said.
The Rams next play Friday as the #12 seed versus the #5 seed West Coast Conference regular season champion St. Mary’s.
Traditionally, the #5 vs. #12 matchup is rife with upsets.
VCU last played an NCAA Tournament game in 2019.
Despite making the field in 2021, the Rams had to forfeit the opening round game due to a COVID outbreak within the team.
Many current Peppas remember the disappointment they felt alongside the players.
"When we got shut down from COVID at the arena, it was just like, we have to make this up, and we’re like making it up,” Aboite said. “It was so fun [to make it back] and worth it too.”
Though many of the players and Peppas were in middle school when VCU men’s team shocked the basketball world and made it to the 2011 Final Four, the current Peppas know vibes and the ones the Rams are putting down right now.
“They went to the Final Four. It could happen again. I really want it to happen again,” Peppa Marlon Harris said.
“They are playing differently [during the A-10 tournament] they brought a whole other level of determination and energy,” said Johnson.
“We’re going to bring the heat at that tournament. I’m going to have to do sign language, I’m going to lose my voice! That’s how strong it’s going to be for real, for real. They not ready for it!” said Aboite with a laugh.
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