Friday May 25, 2012UF students take 'Kitty's Korner' on road for today's NCAA semifinal vs. Syracuse
Updated: 12:31pm, May 25
Updated: 12:31pm, May 25
Photo: UF students Seth O'Brien, Larry Delaney and Kyle Gooding are taking Kitty's Korner on the road.
STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Seth O'Brien headed down from Boston on Friday morning. The UF mechanical engineering student just started a summer internship in Beantown and there was no way he was going to miss this opportunity.
O'Brien planned to meet a pair of fellow Gators – Larry Delaney and Kyle Gooding – here at LaValle Stadium for Florida's women's lacrosse game against Syracuse. The winner advances to Sunday's national championship game.
"We'll be trying to sit front row if we can,'' O'Brien said.
When the Gators play at home, O'Brien, Delaney and Gooding are three-fourths of Kitty's Korner, a fan club for Gators junior attacker Kitty Cullen that hangs a huge banner and keeps the crowd involved throughout the game.
They plan to add themes in honor of more players next season.
By coincidence all three are spending part of their summer in the Northeast. Gooding is doing a summer internship in New Jersey and Delaney is visiting family in Philadelphia.
So when the Gators advanced to Stony Brook for the Final Four with last week's 15-2 win over Penn State, they made immediate plans to take Kitty's Korner on the road.
"Since I was going to be in Boston, there was no doubt in my mind I was going to try and make it,'' O'Brien said. "We were all able to make it happen at the right time."
Cullen first remembers seeing the group at a game early in the season. She didn't know what to make of them at first, a group of guys she didn't know with a big banner draped behind the Gators' bench with her name on it.
They also dressed crazy in spiked orange hair, huge orange-and-blue Afros and face paint.
"We were like, 'who are those kids? This is kind of weird. We don't know them.' But as time progressed, they have been such a huge support and they've been so much fun,'' Cullen said. "They have made such a big difference for our team this year and they are all great guys.
"We have invited them to our tailgates after games and for them to be coming up here is just amazing. They are really awesome."
O'Brien, who is from Tampa, joined the group a couple of games into the season. He didn't realize it would be so much fun.
"The three other guys didn't know anything about lacrosse,'' he said. "I actually played a little lacrosse back in high school. I'm pretty much the one who yells and tries to get the team fired up as much as possible."
They hope to provide Cullen and her teammates with a boost this Friday against a Syracuse team that beat Florida earlier this season.
Why did they pick Cullen to build their fan club around? The answer is pretty simple.
"First of all, she just had a cool name,'' he said. "And then after we went to that first game, we looked up and found out that Kitty was the leading scorer on the team from the season before and she is just a really great all-around player."