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The Lafayette Ledger

The Lafayette Ledger

Women’s College Volleyball Gaining Serious Attention

Samantha Madar
Wisconsin Outside Hitter, Temi Thomas-Ailara gets ready to hit the ball in the highly anticipated match against Minnesota.

An unexpected sport has been on the uptick this year. On October 29th, women’s college volleyball recorded their highest watched match in history. The match was between the Minnesota Gophers and Wisconsin Badgers. It averaged 1.66 million viewers and reached about 76% of the country. This was the first time a college volleyball game has ever been aired on the news network FOX. It aired about thirty minutes after the NFL game between the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. A very smart and thoughtful strategy to attract more viewers. The high number of viewers almost tripled the previous week’s match of Nebraska vs. Wisconsin. A new viewer record at the time of

View from the stands of the third set at the Minnesota vs. Wisconsin Match on October 29th. (Samantha Madar)

1.19 million. The Wisconsin vs. Minnesota match tremendously surpassed the NBA, NHL, Premier League, and Formula 1 for viewership that day, Jeff Day of Minnesota Star Tribune states. This match was significant to not only the growth of women’s volleyball, but also to women’s sports in general.

While women’s college volleyball has been gaining serious attention lately, it is also setting world records. On August 30th of this year, Nebraska’s women’s volleyball team hosted over 92,000 fans at their home football stadium for a match against Omaha. Reportedly being the most attended women’s sport event ever. Combined with this new TV record, the number of viewers and fans of women’s college volleyball are only predicted to increase. Eric Achenbach quotes Cook in his article, “You have Nebraska’s volleyball day and other attendance records that have been broken and now this television broadcast, pretty outstanding.” This quote does a great job of showcasing the support of others for this sport as a whole and its tremendously impressive milestones. It’s very important a women’s sport gains traction from others on this level.

Nebraska’s sold-out stadium back in August. A record-breaking number of attendees filled the stands. (Nebraska Volleyball Media Team)

Now that the growth of this sport has been established, let’s talk rankings for the 2023 season. Right now, the top three teams in the NCAA (week 12) ranked from spot one to three are Nebraska (25-0), Stanford (22-3), and Wisconsin (23-2). Wisconsin was recently surpassed shockingly by Stanford in a tough fight for the number two spot. Stanford’s spot this week is quite controversial, but in my opinion, their win over the Oregon Ducks proved them worthy. Wisconsin’s loss against Penn State was an upset, but it is currently causing the Nittany Lions to gain some of the attention they deserve.  Nebraska is likely to hold their spot at the top undefeated if they manage to take the victories for their next four matches. Although this could be a difficult feat because they have yet to face Wisconsin.  Last year, Texas won the NCAA women’s volleyball Championship. This year it is highly likely that the title will be handed to Nebraska if they keep thriving tremendously this season.

The national growth of women’s volleyball is remarkable, and its popularity and recognition will only continue to climb. The influence of everything happening and the milestones being hit this season in the NCAA will hopefully influence other female athletes to reach for their dreams and develop their aspirations. The rankings this season are surprising and show off the hard work and athleticism of the athletes part of each team. Each and every one of them should be proud of their impressive performances. It’s clear that the future of this sport is bright, and I hope this article raised a realization in you that volleyball is a growing sport worth its attention in today’s world.

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