The Washington Times - May 15, 2009, 06:50PM

It comes as no surprise that Syracuse leads the country in average lacrosse attendance this spring.

But Ohio State as No. 2? That’s what you get for serving as the opening act to a Big Ten football powerhouse’s spring game.


Massachusetts vaulted into the top five with a similar ploy, drawing 66.9 percent of its season crowd in just one of its seven home games. (Much thanks, by the way, to UMass’ Jason Yellin for passing along the 2009 data)

Locally, Navy was third nationally, Johns Hopkins was fourth and Virginia was sixth. Maryland (12th) and Georgetown (16th) were among the 16 schools to average at least 1,500.

But raw numbers only tell part of the story. It’s better to offer up a comparison to a year earlier, and that’s what this chart is for:

School 2009 Avg.
2008 Avg.
1. Syracuse
5,832 4,818 +21.0%
2. Ohio State
5,762 4,773 +20.7%
3. Navy
5,263 6,478 -19.8%
4. Hopkins
3,036 3,133 -3.1%
5. Massachusetts
2,930 1,078 +171.8%
6. Virginia
2,712 3,149 -13.9%
7. Hofstra
2,455 1,703 +43.8%
8. Cornell
2,317 1,495 +55.0%
9. Towson
2,187 1,452 +50.6%
10. Loyola
2,084 2,164 -3.7%
11. North Carolina
1,769 1,757 +0.7%
12. Maryland
1,653 2,376 -30.4%
13. Princeton
1,599 1,742 -8.2%
14. Stony Brook
1,554 1,483 +4.8%
15. Duke
1,527 2,081 -26.6%
16. Georgetown
1,517 1,293 +17.3%

There were some dropoffs locally, and here’s a few theories why:

* At Navy, there was no NCAA quarterfinal to bolster the average substantially. Give the Mids a win last weekend and a crowd of 15,000 on Sunday (possible given the 17,000 that attended last year’s quarterfinals), and that average leaps to 6,885.

(EDIT: Have also had it pointed out to me that Navy played its “home” game against Army at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium. A crowd of 10,000 or so —- typical for Army-Navy in Annapolis —- would have bolstered the average attendance back over 6,000)

* Virginia had to go to Duke, Johns Hopkins and Syracuse, and the Cavaliers also played a neutral-site game against North Carolina. With no signature April or May home game, the attendance dip isn’t a surprise.

* Hopkins’ decline was so small, you can probably chalk it up to shaky weather throughout the spring. The Blue Jays got Navy and Virginia at home, so it wasn’t like there were no obvious draws at Homewood.

* Maryland played its home games at Ludwig Field. A schedule featuring Georgetown, UMBC, Bryant, North Carolina and Binghamton (and missing Duke and Hopkins, which were moved to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore) explains a great deal.

—- Patrick Stevens