Dec. 13, 2004
The University of Notre Dame volleyball team ranked 17th in the nation in average home attendance in 2004, it was announced today in the final 2004 Division I Women’s Volleyball Attendance Report. Notre Dame, which posted its second-highest totals ever in both total attendance (16,639) and average per match (1,513), finished in the top 25 in Division I for the third consecutive season.
This year’s attendance came in just behind the 2003 season, when Notre Dame volleyball averaged 1,576 per contest and attracted a total of 23,643 fans (in four more home matches). The Irish finished 16th nationally in average attendance in that campaign after breaking into the top 25 for the first time in 2002, with an average of 1,064 per match that ranked 25th.
In addition, Notre Dame’s three-game sweep of BIG EAST rival Pittsburgh on Nov. 12, played immediately before a football pep rally, attracted 4,773 fans, which was the 32nd-largest Division I crowd all season. Only eight schools played host to larger volleyball crowds in 2004: #1 Nebraska, #2 Hawai’i, #3 Penn State, #4 Minnesota, #5 Washington, #14 Florida, #21 Arizona, and #22 Wisconsin. That match was the second-largest volleyball crowd in the Joyce Center in school history.
Volleyball ranks sixth among the 26 Irish varsity sports in attendance, including second behind basketball on the women’s side. The only Notre Dame teams with higher average home attendance are football (80,795 in `04), men’s basketball (10,578 through four games in 2004-05), women’s basketball (4,949 through seven games in 2004-05), hockey (2,004 through eight games in 2004-05), and baseball (1,762 in 2004).
In the 10 matches not played before pep rallies, the Irish still averaged 1,187 per contest, which would have ranked 26th in Division I. Volleyball would have remained sixth-best among Irish sports in attendance even with that average.
Seven of Notre Dame’s 11 home matches featured crowds of more than 1,000, and all but one home contest had an attendance over 940. On Oct. 24, Notre Dame swept St. John’s in its BIG EAST home opener in front of a crowd of 2,086, which stands as the second-largest non-pep rally crowd in program history and the sixth-largest overall.
It continued a trend of increased interest in the Irish program, as Notre Dame volleyball has played in front of home crowds of more than 1,000 on 23 occasions since 2000 after never doing so in the first 20 years of the varsity program’s existence. Over the past two seasons, more than half of the home matches (14 of 26) have featured attendance over 1,000.
When playing on the road, the Irish saw crowds of just over half the size of those in the Joyce Center. Notre Dame’s 19 road matches featured an average attendance of 814.
The Irish played well in front of large crowds, especially at home. Notre Dame was 8-3 overall in matches with 1,000+ fans. At home, the Irish were 6-1 with 1,000 or more fans in the stands and 0-4 with fewer than 1,000.
Notre Dame was easily the best drawing program in both the BIG EAST Conference and the entire AVCA Northeast Region (which also includes the Ivy League, America East, Atlantic 10, and Patriot League). Only two other league teams averaged over 200 fans per match: Pittsburgh (301 average) and Rutgers (242).
The Irish finished with higher average home attendance than 15 teams ranked in the current AVCA top 25: #6 Stanford (26th, 1223 per match), #7 Ohio State (24th, 1280), #8 USC (not ranked, 733), #9 Tennessee (NR, 443), #11 San Diego (NR, 731), #12 Saint Mary’s (Calif.) (NR, 368), #13 UCLA (30th, 1025), #15 Louisville (NR, 768), #17 California (NR, 723), #19 UC Santa Barbara (NR, 517), #20 Georgia Tech (31st, 1015), #21 Arizona (21st, 1394), #23 Kansas State (20th, 1453), #24 Missouri (19th, 1460), and #24 Florida A&M (NR, 110).
The volleyball attendance statistics are kept by Diane Nordstrom, associate sports information director at the University of Wisconsin.
Notre Dame finished the season with a 21-9 record after winning its ninth BIG EAST regular-season crown in 10 years, as well as its eighth league tournament title. The Irish, who hit the 20-win plateau for the sixth consecutive year and 13th time in 14 years under head coach Debbie Brown, gained their 13th consecutive NCAA tournament invitation, defeating Valparaiso in the opening round before falling at 14th-seeded Wisconsin.