Big Ten Announces 2004 Volleyball Television Lineup
July 22, 2004
The Big Ten Conference office unveiled the television schedule for the upcoming 2004 Big Ten volleyball season today. At least 11 contests will air on ESPN2 and FOX Sports Chicago, as the schedule will feature each Conference school in action at least once.
For more than a decade, the Big Ten has been a leader in collegiate volleyball television exposure. The Conference enters its 10th-consecutive year of partnership with ESPN2 in which at least three matches will be broadcast. The League also begins its eighth season with FOX Sports Chicago, which will broadcast eight Conference matches on its network. The ESPN2 network is seen in over 87 million households nationwide, while FOX Sports Net reaches nearly 20 million cable households nationwide.
The first broadcast of the 2004 campaign will feature Michigan, a team which is coming off its highest-win total since 1997, against Iowa in Iowa City. The Wolverines finished 21-12 last season and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in five appearances. The late-September matchup will also mark first-year Hawkeye coach Cindy Frederick's first ever Big Ten match. Frederick, a former assistant at Iowa, rejoined the Hawkeyes in May after serving as Washington State's head coach for 15 years. The September 24th match will air on FOX Sports Chicago on September 26 at 6 p.m. CT.
Penn State, the defending Big Ten champion, makes its television debut on October 17 at 2:30 p.m., as the Nittany Lions play host to Michigan State. The match will be played on October 16 at 7 p.m. EDT. Penn State fell to Florida in the East Regional Final last year and ended its season with a record of 31-5 overall. The Spartans finished 19-12 this past year, including an 11-9 record in the League. Also on the evening of October 16, Indiana faces Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois at 7 p.m. CDT. Northwestern ended its 2003 season 18-15 overall after the program's second consecutive bid to the NCAA tourney. The match between the Wildcats and the Hoosiers will air October 17 at 3 p.m. CT.
ESPN2's second broadcast should provide quite the atmosphere, as two of the top attendance leaders in the nation square off in Madison, Wisconsin. Ranked second in the nation in attendance last year, with an average of 4,292 fans per match, Wisconsin will play host to 2002 Big Ten champion Minnesota. The Gophers are expected to bring a large contingent as well, as Minnesota ranked sixth last season with 2,430 fans through the turnstiles each match. Minnesota and Wisconsin, which placed third and fourth respectively last year, will take to the court on October 30 at 7 p.m. CDT. The match will air the following day, October 31, at 2:30 p.m.
The final broadcast on ESPN2 will feature intrastate rivals Illinois and Northwestern battling in Champaign on November 6 at 7 p.m. CST. Despite its loss to No. 2 Hawaii in the NCAA Regional Semifinals in Honolulu, Illinois closed out its 2003 season with a 26-7 record, its winningest season in 11 years. The game will be broadcast on November 7 at 4 p.m. EST.
FOX Sports Chicago's eight-match schedule will also conclude with a "Wildcard" broadcast on either Friday or Saturday, November 26-27, featuring teams to be determined.
The complete 2004 Big Ten volleyball television lineup follows.
2004 Big Ten Conference Volleyball Broadcasts on ESPN2
All ESPN2 matches EST
2004 Big Ten Conference Volleyball Broadcasts on FOX
All FOX Sports Chicago matches CT
* NOTE: Schedule dates and times subject to change