Women’s volleyball team grateful for record-breaking fan attendance

BYU fans cheer at the BYU-Utah game on Sept. 13. BYU fans have helped set multiple attendance records at home and on the road this season. (Abigail Keenan)

It’s no secret there has been a buzz surrounding the No. 1 BYU women’s volleyball team this season.

The volleyball team has an undefeated record and is ranked No. 1 for the first time since 1986. With these records, fan attendance has been breaking records this season not only at the Smith Fieldhouse but also on the road.

“I feel like every game I leave from, the crowd could not have been more loud,” libero Mary Lake said. “But then the next game we have they’re even louder. They just bring so much energy.”

The top two most attended games in BYU women’s volleyball program history happened this season, with the highest being against Utah on Sept. 13, with 5,472 fans in attendance — shattering the previous record of 4,672 set in 2016.

BYU fans later came close to the record in a match against San Diego on Oct. 5, with a total attendance of 5,082.

The Smith Fieldhouse was built in 1951 and has been home of the women’s volleyball team since it came into existence. (BYU Photo)

“With all the energy in here, it’s just crazy fun,” outside hitter Roni Jones-Perry said after the match against Santa Clara on Nov.6. “I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been in a game that’s ever been that loud. Our fans were awesome tonight, I’m super grateful for them for coming out.”

The Smith Fieldhouse, built in 1951, has been home to the women’s volleyball program ever since it came into existence in 1969. Although several other college volleyball programs share stadiums with their basketball programs, the smaller size of the Smith Fieldhouse creates a unique environment where it can get loud.

“Our crowd is amazing,” Lake said. “I was talking with one of the San Diego girls (after our match on Nov. 2) and she said that they couldn’t even hear the plays that they were calling. Our crowd has a big influence on the game.”

Dallen Aquino, a BYU student from Neward, California, talked about how exciting it’s been to watch the team from the ROC section this season.

BYU fans make it hard on opposing teams who come into the Smith Fieldhouse. (Abigail Keenan)

“It’s been fun just to see how well they play and to feel all the energy here at the Smith Fieldhouse,” Aquino said.

BYU fans have not only showed up to the Cougars’ games at the Smith Fieldhouse but to their road games as well.

When BYU traveled to face Portland on Oct. 25, the game — with 2,259 fans in attendance — was the most attended game in Portland women’s volleyball history, largely in part to the BYU fans in the area.

Setter Lyndie Haddock-Eppich talked about the impact that having fans on the road has on the team.

“It just goes to show how much BYU is loved by anyone out there,” Haddock-Eppich said. “Just being able to go anywhere and trust that there are going to be fans there for us makes it a little bit easier for us. A lot of times there are more fans for us in those gyms than for the other teams, so it’s an advantage for us for sure.”

The Cougars are only three games away from recording a perfect season as they now travel to California to play a trio of matches on Nov. 15, Nov. 17 and Nov. 20 to end the season.

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