Volleyball is everything for the University of Nebraska. Long considered one of the sports powerhouses, the Huskers are five-time National Champions. While they haven't won a title since 2017, the sport remains one of the biggest draws for the school. They once again proved that on August 30. The school broke the record for the biggest crowd at a women's sports event. After months of preparation, the Huskers hosted a volleyball doubleheader on a specially constructed court at Memorial Stadium. The stadium typically serves as the home of the school's football team. The official attendance was announced at 92,003, breaking the record set by a Women's Champions League soccer match in April 2022. The previous US record was the 1999 Women's World Cup Final between the USA and China.
"It's incredible. I don't have enough words to describe it," Nebraska middle blocker Andi Jackson said. "We were walking out of the tunnel after the second set, and we heard on the speaker we had just broken the world record. Everyone was trying to stay locked in, but we were also so excited. I can't describe how grateful I am to be a part of it." The Huskers have started the 2023 season 4-0 and are currently ranked #4 in the country.
Nebraska Record Shows Proof That Women's Sport Is Growing
"There's a great business case and strategy around women's athletics long term that maybe college athletics hasn't embraced," Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts said. "And we think here in Nebraska, long before I became the athletic director, we've significantly invested in women's athletics. You're seeing the result of that by seeing the success of the volleyball program and the fan base surrounding it." Meanwhile, head coach John Cook said going through the tunnel into a sea of red made him feel like a football coach. The event was also nationally televised.
"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 said. "When you're little, you have big dreams and big goals. Having this to look up to is something that a lot of little girls will keep in the back of their mind when they're pursuing the sport of volleyball."