Husker Volleyball to play match in Memorial Stadium
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Volleyball Day in Nebraska is coming to Memorial Stadium this August.
The Nebraska volleyball program will host the University of Nebraska-Omaha on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Stadium as part of a local doubleheader celebrating the impact of volleyball on the state of Nebraska. The University of Nebraska-Kearney will play Wayne State College in an exhibition match at 4:30 p.m. to start the event. Memorial Stadium gates will open at 3:30 p.m.
Following the Nebraska-UNO match, a concert featuring a national recording artist will take place on a stage on the Memorial Stadium field. The musical artist will be announced at a later date. The Huskers’ Teraflex court will be positioned near the north end zone of Tom Osborne Field with the concert stage closer to midfield.
Take the thrill of a Devaney Center volleyball game and multiply that about ten times. That’s the hope of Husker Athletics Department as they bring volleyball inside Memorial Stadium for one huge event.
“We are going to make history here in the state of Nebraska and continue on with proving to not only Nebraska itself, but to the country that we have the best fans and that we are a volleyball state,” said Ted Carter, NU President.
NU Athletics Director Trev Alberts, alongside Governor Jim Pillen, head coach John Cook and the coaches of three other Nebraska Schools announced an Aug. 30 date to take the court in the soon to be 100-year-old stadium. In terms of setting records, Alberts wants to set an almost unattainable bar for volleyball turnout.
“We are going to do this once and I want to hope the number is large enough that nobody dares even try to attack our all-time record,” Alberts said.
For organizers, it’s a chance to celebrate women’s sports in the state’s largest venue in light of last year’s 50th anniversary of Title Nine, which bans discrimination in education based on sex.
“This is pretty surreal that this is all happening, but we are dreaming big, and I think it’s going to be a really special day,” Cook said.
“We have sold out this stadium for every sporting event we’ve put in that stadium since 1962,” Carter said. “Let’s pack the stadium.”
In conjunction with Friday’s announcement of the matches, Gov. Jim Pillen will make a special proclamation celebrating the impact of the sport of volleyball in Nebraska.
“This is going to be a fantastic celebration of volleyball in the state of Nebraska,” Nebraska Vice Chancellor, Director of Athletics Trev Alberts said. “Our Husker program has long been a source of pride throughout the state, and we are also proud that the success of Nebraska volleyball has played a large role in the exponential growth of the sport in Nebraska. We know our great fan base will embrace Volleyball Day in Nebraska and turn out in full force for this historic event. Go Big Red!”
“This is going to be a special day for the sport of volleyball in this state,” Nebraska head coach John Cook said. “At Nebraska we’re always aiming to ‘Dream Big’ and raise the bar, and there can’t be a much bigger way to do that than to play a match outdoors in a 90,000-seat football stadium. We’re excited that we’re going to be able to include three other local schools as well to make it a statewide celebration. A Nebraska volleyball ticket is one of the hardest tickets in town to get, so we’re pumped that this match will give so many more fans an opportunity to come watch us play and be part of a historic day.”
Tickets for the match will go on sale to Nebraska volleyball season-ticket holders on Tuesday, April 25. Tickets to the outdoor match will not be part of the Nebraska volleyball season-ticket package and must be purchased separately. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, April 26. A ticket will gain entrance to both volleyball matches and the concert. Tickets will be $25 for adults and $5 for high school age and under. Ticket information for Nebraska, UNO, UNK and Wayne State students will be announced at a later date. Everyone, regardless of age, must have a ticket for admittance. Ticket sales will begin with North Stadium and the furthest north sections in East and West Stadiums. All seats will be reserved.
The Nebraska-UNO outdoor match will be televised on the Big Ten Network and streamed on the FOX Sports app. Streaming and possible television details for the UNK-Wayne State match are to be determined.
The Huskers Radio Network will broadcast the Huskers-Mavericks match on their radio affiliates. A live audio stream will be provided at Huskers.com and the Huskers App. The match will occur during the second week of the regular season. The Huskers will open the 2023 season with three matches at a home tournament at the Devaney Center from Aug. 25-27.
A few volleyball attendance records will be worth keeping an eye on as ticket sales begin. The largest-ever crowd for an NCAA volleyball match is 18,755 when Nebraska played Wisconsin on Dec. 18, 2021 in the NCAA Final at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The largest NCAA regular-season crowd is 16,833 when Wisconsin hosted Florida at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., on Sept. 16, 2022.
In order to count as an official NCAA volleyball record, the official attendance must be counted at the conclusion of the second set of the Nebraska-UNO match. Anyone entering Memorial Stadium after that point will not count toward the total attendance.
The Husker volleyball program has sold out 303 consecutive regular-season matches, though the Memorial Stadium match would not count toward the streak as it is being played outside the Huskers’ main home facility, the Devaney Center. Nebraska’s sellout streak is an NCAA women’s record. The Huskers have led the nation in attendance every season since moving into the Bob Devaney Sports Center in 2013.
Nebraska volleyball fans have continued to set the bar for attendance throughout the years:
• Eight of the top nine crowds in NCAA volleyball history are matches that have involved the Huskers.
• Of the 14 largest NCAA volleyball regular-season crowds, 13 have been Nebraska matches.
• When Nebraska played at Creighton on Sept. 7, 2022 at the CHI Health Center, a then-regular-season NCAA record crowd of 15,797 turned out to watch the Huskers defeat the Bluejays, 3-2. It shattered the previous regular-season record of 14,022 (set by Nebraska and Creighton in 2018). The record lasted nine days, however, as Wisconsin and Florida drew a crowd of 16,833 to the Kohl Center on Sept. 16.
The Nebraska volleyball program has won five NCAA Championships and 34 conference championships in its 48-year history. The Huskers have a nation-leading 99 AVCA All-Americans and 39 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Nebraska volleyball also leads the nation in all-time wins (1,433), most weeks ranked in the AVCA Poll (586), most weeks ranked in the top 10 (530), and most weeks ranked No. 1 (102).
Omaha is coming off a 20-11 season and 14-4 record in the Summit League last year. That came one year after the Mavericks won the Summit League regular-season title with a 16-2 conference record. Head Coach Matt Buttermore took over the program in 2019 and has led the Mavs to back-to-back 20-win seasons, their first since making the transition to Division I in 2011.
Nebraska-Kearney ranks among the winningest programs in NCAA Division II with an all-time win percentage of .802. UNK has made 23 straight NCAA Tournaments and was the national runner-up in 2005 and 2019. Rick Squiers has been at the helm since 1999. The Lopers finished the 2022 season at 28-6 and were ranked 15th in the final AVCA Division II Coaches Poll.
Wayne State is coming off a 30-3 season and the program’s first-ever NSIC regular-season title in 2022. The Wildcats ended the season ranked fourth in the AVCA Division II Coaches Poll after holding the No. 1 ranking for five weeks during the regular season. Scott Kneifl has led Wayne State as head coach since 2005, and the Wildcats have made 12 NCAA Division II Tournament appearances in his tenure, including their first-ever NCAA Division II Semifinals berth in 2015.
Both UNK and Wayne State consistently rank among the nation’s Division II attendance leaders.
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