Saturday, 30 September 2023

International Volleyball

Packing ’em in: Record crowds as Wisconsin tops Marquette, Louisville beats Kentucky

Packing 'em in: Record crowds as Wisconsin tops Marquette, Louisville beats Kentucky

Wisconsin’s Izzy Ashburn serves against Marquette in Fiserv Forum/Zach Schuster photo

What a great couple of days for volleyball and NCAA women’s volleyball in particular.

A day after Nebraska beat Stanford and got tremendous ratings on ESPN, two matches Wednesday had record crowds.

Top-ranked Wisconsin won a tough, four-set battle over Marquette in Milwaukee’s Fiserve Forum and did it before an NCAA indoor volleyball record crowd of 17,037.

At the same time, No. 2 Louisville was sweeping No. 21 Kentucky in downtown Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center, site of the 2024 NCAA Championship. That match drew the largest crowd in Louisville home history, 12,670.

Three other ranked teams won on Wednesday as No. 11 Washington State beat No. 18 Baylor, No. 12 BYU beat Utah and No. 22 Houston beat Texas A&M. And Manhattan and Siena got their first victories of the season.

The results and top performances follow, but first a look at Thursday NCAA Division I women’s volleyball schedule that includes more regional matches and a handful of ranked teams.

The big match of the day is in Pittsburgh when the No. 8 Panthers play host to No. 7 Oregon.

Sixth-ranked Texas is home for No. 19 Ohio State, No. 9 Minnesota plays High Point, No. 15 Tennessee plays Chicago State, No. 17 Purdue plays UCF, No. 24 Auburn plays South Alabama and Houston plays Liberty.

Other matches of note include unbeaten Arizona State playing Memphis, USC vs. Illinois, Hawai’i vs. TCU, Colorado vs. Colorado State and Washington vs. Cal Poly. 

Want to watch? We have the conference-by-conference schedule with viewing links for any match that is being shown in our TV & Streaming Listings.

HUGE TV ratings

On Tuesday, when No. 4 Nebraska won in four at No. 5 Stanford, the crowd might have been relatively small in Stanford’s Maples Pavilion — 3,363 — but the TV were ratings were huge.

As’s Larry Hamel reported:

The Nebraska-Stanford match, which aired on the flagship ESPN channel, was the most-watched live competitive sports event on cable TV on Tuesday, with a total-average viewership of 466,000 in the overnight Nielsen ratings, according to the Spoiler TV site. 

In a relatively light sports day, on cable channels with similar reach to ESPN, the major-league baseball game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox on TBS logged a viewership of 430,000, and the international soccer match between the USA men’s national…

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