After going a combined 27-4 at home a season ago, three UNC programs are tasked with recreating that home field advantage in stadiums outside of Chapel Hill.
Men’s and women’s soccer, as well as field hockey, will all play their "home" games off campus as the result of construction on new athletics facilities. The programs all made final four appearances in 2016 and begin 2017 in the top five of their respective polls.
The group tasked with creating home crowds is Carolina Fever, a student organization that assigns a points system to home UNC sporting events and rewards attendees with merchandise and tickets to men’s basketball games.
Fever co-chair, junior Rebecca Griffin, has helped oversee an effort to bring last year's home environment to new stadiums.
“We do realize the commitment and the effort it will have to take,” Griffin said.
Field hockey will play at Duke, while both soccer teams will play home games at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, as well as far as Greensboro for the men's team. Fever’s primary concern is convincing students that it is worth making trips that could amount to an hour and a half of round trip travel.
“It's definitely going to make it more difficult for students to make it to those events,” sophomore and Fever public relations director Anders Pokela said. “But we have a few measures in place to incentivize students to go to those games and matches.”
Those measures include offering more points for these home matches than they were worth a year ago.
“Essentially they count as two games,” Pokela said of the new points system.