MEN’S VOLLEYBALL: Ball State Students urge for more attendance for men’s volleyball game against Ohio State
The Daily News
Last season when Ball State’s men’s volleyball team toppled No. 10 Ohio State only 510 people sparsely lined Worthen Arena. When the No. 8 Buckeyes come to Muncie on Friday, two Cardinal volleyball enthusiasts are hoping a few more fans are there to greet them.
Ball State junior music media production major Keenan Pfotenhauer and his friend Ball State 2010 alumnus Zach Brubaker have followed Ball State’s volleyball team for years which has given a special relationship with the team, and now they want to give something back.
“[Going to volleyball games] was one of the first things that got me out of my dorm room my freshman year,” Pfotenhauer said. “I was pretty much a recluse my first semester until I got out, and started going to their matches.
“Other than monetary donations, what more can you give other than your support?”
Pfotenhauer and Brubaker actually met at a match in Worthen years ago.
The two have deployed an all-out assault vigorously trying to get bodies in the stands Friday night, with the ultimate goal of breaking Worthen’s men’s volleyball attendance record of 3,729 set Jan. 17, 2009 against No. 4 Stanford.
“I would be happy with 2,000 fans, or any increase [in attendance],” Brubaker said. “But why not shoot for the record?”
Muncie is rich volleyball tradition, imploring the nickname of ‘college volleyball capital’ and is home to national high school volleyball powerhouse Muncie Burris, which touts four national championships and 21 state championships.
“Muncie is a little volleyball oasis in the Midwest,” Pfotenhauer said. “Before Worthen, they used to pack the old Irving Gym every night.”
Through the years the community and students’ support has dwindled. This season Ball State averages an attendance mark of 562 with a high of 735 Feb. 2 against Lindenwood, and only had 542 fans at its only match against a ranked opponent No. 10 Penn State, March 10.
To combat these low numbers and apathy, Pfotenhauer and Brubaker have taken their endeavor to social media via Facebook and Twitter.
The two have also contacted head coach Joel Walton, who is fully backing their goal.
“I think it’s awesome that students decided to do something like this,” Walton said.
Walton also said that he has contacted WLBC and got them to run a few ads to inform the Muncie community. The team will also be out with Pfotenhauer and Brubaker in the Atrium, at the Scramble Light and other high-foot traffic areas on Friday.
Pfotenhauer and Brubaker want to create Ball State’s version of March Madness during the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and get fans that would be watching the games on television into Worthen.
“We want an electric atmosphere with fans cheering, and you can’t do that watching a game on your coach,” Brubacker said.
Both think that the success of the program will keep the fans come, once they see a game.
“This is only team on campus with the potential to realistically win a national championship, and when people see that they are going to want to support that,” Pfotenhauer said.
Brubacker echoed his sentiments.
“I was here for the undefeated season, I saw Schumann Stadium packed on a Fruesday, I know what these fans can do,” Brubacker said. “Imagine a full Worthen Arena, and how crazy that would be.”
Regardless if 4,000 fans show up or 20 show up the two say that this will not be the last time they push to break the attendance record.
“We’ll definitely do something like this again, we always want to push for the record, even if we don’t see any fruit for our effort,” Brubacker said.