The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


University of Nebraska Women’s Volleyball sets new world record

Photo courtesy of Steven Branscombe, Getty Images

September 22, 2023/12:00 a.m.  

It feels like a great accomplishment for this sport called volleyball played by women. It’s a state treasure. We proved it.” John Cook Head Coach University of Nebraska women’s volleyball, NBC News.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023, spectators filled Memorial Stadium in Lincoln Nebraska for Nebraska Volleyball Day. The Cornhuskers faced off against the University of Nebraska Omaha, winning the event 3-0. Not only did they win the match, but they also broke a world record for attendance at a women’s sporting event. This record breaks the previously standing one of the 2022 Champions League soccer match between Barcelona and Real Madrid with a total of 91,648. The US record was shattered as well, with Nebraska’s volleyball topping the then record of 90,185 attendance record at the 1999 Women’s World Cup Soccer Final against the US and China. 

“And we think here in Nebraska, long before I became the athletic director, we’ve significantly invested in women’s athletics, and you’re seeing the result of that by seeing the success of the volleyball program and the fan base surrounding it” (Trev Alberts University of Nebraska athletic director and Nebraska football alum). The players admit to learning certain tricks and tactics on the fly with the change of scenery. Since this division of women’s volleyball is specifically indoors, the athletes adapted to things like differing depth perception, wind, and overall atmosphere (The day we made the impossible possible. | Instagram) that comes with playing in Memorial Stadium.

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Announced last spring, the University of Nebraska Omaha vs. Nebraska match would be made into an entirely dedicated day to celebrate women’s volleyball in Nebraska. The world record-breaking match does not count towards the Husker’s 306 consecutive sold-out match streak since it took place at Memorial Stadium, not the typical Devaney Center home of the five-time national champion Nebraska women’s volleyball team. The women’s volleyball team also set a stadium record for attendance, beating football’s 91,585 in 2014 against Miami. The number 5 ranked Husker volleyball team is renowned in the area for its event sellout streak, hot on the heels of the university’s football team. The nationally coined Nebraska “Sea of Red” showed up and out to see the volleyball team accomplish seeing nine out of ten of the biggest crowds in the history of collegiate volleyball.  

“I’ve been saying it’s so huge for little girls to get to see a women’s sport and volleyball being played on this big of a stage and having so many people invest in it,” Nebraska junior Lexi Rodriguez told ESPN. The record-breaking event was a day’s worth of celebration. A day specifically dedicated to the love and reputation for the sport of women’s volleyball in the state of Nebraska. “At a moment when the dominant issue in college sports is conference realignment in football, Nebraska’s Volleyball Day served as an example of a growing realization among universities that investing in women’s sports can be great for business” (Santul Nerkar, The New York Times). Supporting Husker sports is a given for most Nebraska-born and raised. But supporting and celebrating Husker volleyball is due to state pride.  

Nebraska Volleyball Day hosted a series of matches division wide. Wayne State and Nebraska Kearney opened the rounds of play at Volleyball Day. Wayne State secured the win overall with a 3-0 sweep. “You don’t really think growing up that you can be a part of something like this, and then you go to a DII and you watch the Division I girls on ESPN and all that kind of stuff. And obviously, we weren’t on ESPN, but we’re playing on the same court in front of lots of people, so just very thankful and just a whirlwind of emotions” (Maggie Bramer, Wayne State middle blocker). 

The Huskers faced off against the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks, winning each set-in double digits. The Huskers recorded a total of seven blocks while forcing the Mavericks to 25 attack errors. The Mavericks held their ground until set two, holding the national champion Huskers to multiple ties throughout the night. However, Nebraska rallied with a 5-0 run as well as finishing the night out with 88 attacks and 18 kills to cap the historic day 25-14, 25-14, 25-13. 

There are no current plans for a Nebraska Volleyball Day for the next year, but the inspiration of what women’s sports truly can do has exploded even beyond other volleyball programs. It has inspired other women’s collegiate sports nationwide. Iowa women’s basketball plans to host an event like Nebraska Volleyball Day, coining it “Crossover at Kinnick” where Iowa will welcome DePaul on the field at Kinnick Stadium. The empowerment of women’s athletics has always been there, but the results of this explosion are larger than ever. The sports world is witnessing female athletics like never before, and it is not stopping.

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