By: Saya Alvares
On Aug. 30, the University of Nebraska made history with a world-breaking record of 92,003 spectators for their women’s volleyball game. The game took place in the University of Nebraska’s football stadium: Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. The stadium, which has a seating capacity of 85,458 people, held nearly 7,000 more spectators than its football capacity. The game between the University of Nebraska and in-state rival Omaha resulted in the continuation of Nebraska’s winning streak with a score of 3-0.
This impressive team already sold out 306 regular season games, which is every single game since 2001; although this match does not add to that number, as it was not played in Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Huskers also hold the record for attendance at an NCAA women’s volleyball match with 18,755 spectators for the national championship match between the Huskers and Wisconsin on Dec. 18, 2021.
The head coach of the Huskers is John Cook, who has coached the team since 2000 and helped bring the team to win five of the NCAA championships. In regards to the game Aug. 30, he said, “[I] shed tears at least five times Wednesday, overcome with the emotion of such a monumental event and seeing so many of Nebraska’s former players.”
The volleyball game not only shattered the record for the number of spectators at a women’s sporting event, but broke the record for spectators at Memorial Stadium. The prior record for the stadium was 91,585 spectators from a football game in 2014 versus Miami. The prior record for a women’s sporting event took place in Europe, a soccer game in Barcelona, Spain where 91,648 fans witnessed the semifinal UEFA Champions League game between Barcelona and Wolfsburg.
The University of Nebraska has only shut down in the past for two events, COVID and snowstorms, and they can now add a third to the list: Volleyball Day. Thousands of students came to support their women’s volleyball team, showing an incredible rise throughout the past decade in the support of collegiate female athletics.
When discussing the impact of this game, Nebraska junior Lexi Rodriguez said to USA Today, “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… 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.”
(Sources: ESPN, CNN, USA Today)