Big Orange Nation welcomes home Lady Vols with impromptu celebration

6:48 PM, Jun 5, 2013   |    comments
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When the Lady Vol softball team arrived at Rocky Top, fresh from Oklahoma and the World Series, it was far from a quiet return.

"We're going to congratulate them," Hannah Miller said, standing beside her friend Kaitlyn Mallia with a homemade sign that read "Let's Go Vols!"

"They were very good at playing the game, and they always had great spirit and stuff," Mallia added.

The two girls admit they only started watching the team when they made it to the championship. However, they will remain fans, despite the season ending.

"We weren't expecting this at all. It was really great to get off the bus and see the fans and the football team," said infielder Lauren Gibson.

It was not just dozens of kids that waited for the team to return to Lee Field. The football Vols, with Coach Butch Jones, also came to congratulate the team.

"I mean anybody can become a role model to the kids that come out, whether it's softball, football, baseball -- anybody. See these kids come out and start screaming as the girls come out is incredible," quarterback Justin Worley said.

In the end, while the team did not win the championship -- they still won many new fans.

"The big goal of having USA and college softball is to have other kids fall in love with the game, and that way the sport keeps going," Gibson said.

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