Shoehorning Them in at Ohio State?
As Ohio State's Showdown in the Shoe attempts to set (again) the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse regular-season attendance record Saturday, let's take a look at how lacrosse fans have scored thus far. We've seen some terrific crowds, including those that have braved awful weather.
Based on box scores, the top crowds thus far:
1. 25,115: St. John's/Rutgers, UNC/JHU, Syr/Duke (East
Rutherford, N.J.), April 3
2. 17,057: G'town/Syr, Cornell/UVA, Hopkins/UMBC (Baltimore, Md.), March 12
3. 14,340: Virginia at Syracuse, March 4
4. 10,545: Maryland at Virginia, April 2
5. 8,241: Johns Hopkins at Syracuse, March 19
6. 8,152: ND/Duke and G'town/Jax (Jacksonville, Fla.), Feb. 20
7. 8,072: Johns Hopkins at Maryland, April 16
8. 8,059: Army at Navy, April 16
9. 6,993: Maryland at Navy, April 8
10. 6,289: Syracuse at Villanova, March 26
11. 6,000: Duke vs. Denver (Bethpage, N.Y.), April 9
These are paid attendance figures (tickets sold or distributed), and they're often met with skepticism by fans who actually show up. But they provide an apples-to-apples comparison.
No surprise that 'Cuse fans always make their presence known, and that's one reason why coach John Desko wondered to Dave Rahme of The Syracuse Post-Standard about the possibility of a multi-team event at the Carrier Dome, here.
Some fair points. Central New Yorkers drove east to Foxboro, Mass., to help boost the crowd with gameday sales at the 2009 national championship game that pitted the Orange vs. Cornell.
Regardless, it's nice to see some new names on the list above, and winning always helps. Denver, Notre Dame and Villanova have seen an uptick in attendance, and someday I'll take a look at those programs and how others are filling their venues in terms of percent capacity.
Saturday's slate includes two marquee events at football stadiums. The Showdown in the Shoe at Ohio Stadium will have Ohio State squaring off against Fairfield prior to the Buckeyes' spring football game. This is the fourth straight year for this event, and it's set the lacrosse regular-season attendance record each time (31,078 last year). Typically the Buckeyes have announced the attendance in the third quarter of the lacrosse game. The OSU media relations staff has reported 18,000 tickets sold thus far for the doubleheader.
Also Saturday is the ESPNU Warrior Classic at 40,000-seat Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., featuring Massachusetts vs. Hofstra and and Rutgers vs. Syracuse. More than 6,000 attended the event last year. That's four good teams in fairly close proximity, so odds are we'll see a better figure. Highlights on campus this weekend include the ACC tournament at Duke and Navy at Hopkins under the lights.