The University of Nebraska has a long tradition of producing title-winning volleyball teams. John Cook has led the Cornhuskers to four national championships, seven Final Four appearances, and twelve conference titles in his time at Nebraska. Nebraska is one of the most successful volleyball programs in the country and on August 30th, Nebraska and Omaha play each other in Memorial Stadium in front of a record-breaking crowd.
This game is looking to break several records for women's sporting events in the USA. The people of Nebraska already have a long history of turning up at sporting events and Nebraska is one of the programs that has consistently had sold-out crowds at the Bob Devaney Sports Centre in Lincoln. Memorial Stadium holds over 90,000 people and the event was sold out in no time. Following the doubleheader, country artist, Scott McCreery will perform.
According to Husker Athletics, they have sold 91,000 tickets to this record-breaking event at Memorial Stadium. That means that if everyone turns up at Memorial Stadium, Volleyball Day will break the current record held by the 1999 Women's World Cup final between the USA and China by a mere hundred people. Not only does this showcase how women's volleyball is on the rise, but it also shows that people in the US are also willing to travel and dedicate their time to a women's sporting event.
The sheer size of this event can be seen in both the fans' support and through the increase in media coverage. In the days leading up to the event, Nebraska Event Management on Twitter stated they had to order more media credentials and that they underestimated how many media outlets wanted to cover the match. Ordering more media credentials is something that is almost unheard of in the world of sports, proving how massive, and important, Volleyball Day is going to be.
Volleyball is one of the most successful sports at UNO, Wayne St. and UNK. Wayne St is a D2 school but that is not stopping people from turning up or the players and coaches to step up to the challenge. Maggie Brahmer at Wayne St told Nebraska Public Media that this is an opportunity for smaller programs to gain respect and “Our Division II (programs), they may get overlooked. But, hey, we can play ball too. We can play ball just with the best of them,”
The players are all excited to showcase their team and the sport that they love and hope that this event can help give them some well-deserved visibility. The state of Nebraska has always been a trailblazer in volleyball and Jaden Ferguson, a senior at UNK, said:
“It's going to give girls the opportunity to see that football and basketball aren't the only sports that get to do these special things or get to have these large game coverages,”.
Ferguson went to high school in Lincoln and told Nebraska Public Media how happy she is that Nebraska is proving to be a leader in that field.
Lindsay Peterson, the Director of Volleyball Operations at Nebraska, has said that seven months of preparations and planning have gone into this event and for the five-time national champions, this day will most likely be ranked just as high as any National Championship game.
But why play at Memorial Stadium you might ask? Volleyball is typically an inside sport and bringing it outside is not something we have ever seen before. It all comes down to a rivarly. Last season, the Wisconsin Badgers broke the regular season attendance record with a game held in the Kohl Center which is typically reserved for basketball. The record prior to that game was Nebraska's. Now Nebraska wants to win it back, and leave it far out of reach for anyone to break.
Nebraska captains, Lexi Rodriguez and Merrit Beason, talked to the Big 10 network on the media day and they were both very excited to play at Memorial. Although Rodriguez also thinks it will be nerve-wracking she also thinks this is the right direction for women's sports, “I've said it before, not just for volleyball but women's sport in general, this is a huge monument I'm very excited to be a part of."
Beason added “It's hard to grasp that so many people are going to be there watching us” She ends the interview by thanking Husker Nation and the people of Nebraska for even giving them the opportunity to play in front of the record-breaking crowd.
Volleyball day serves off at 5:30 p.m. EST where Nebraska-Kearney will play Wayne State. The exhibition match will be streamed on Nebraska Public Media. Following the end of the match, Nebraska and Omaha will start at 8 p.m. EST on Big Ten Network.