NCAA Womens Volleyball: Omaha at Nebraska

Nebraska proved once again that it is the volleyball capital of the world. The University of Nebraska volleyball team has officially broken the women's sport world record with an announced attendance of 92,003 at Lincoln's Memorial Stadium on Wednesday night. A sea of red filled the venue as the Cornhuskers hosted the Omaha Mavericks. 

"This is unbelievable for women's athletics. To do this in Nebraska, we dreamed big tonight, we really dreamed big," Nebraska coach John Cook said. "(Junior setter) Kennedi Orr wrote me a note today. It said, 'Coach, tonight the impossible will be possible.' We did it."

The previous record crowd for any NCAA volleyball match was 18,755 when Nebraska played Wisconsin on Dec. 18, 2021. The Huskers wanted to aim higher -- much higher -- as the old mark was easily shattered Wednesday.

Nebraska finished the night with a 3-0 victory over Omaha, but the final score came second to making history with a world record. 

"It's incredible. I don't have enough words to describe it. ... I can't describe just how grateful I am to be a part of it and be part of Husker nation," freshman Andi Jackson said.

The previous women's sport world attendance record was 91,648, set in 2022 during a UEFA Women's Champions League soccer semifinal between Barcelona and Wolfsburg. Although Memorial Stadium's official capacity is just over 85,000 for football games, field-level seating was made available this week, which helped the Huskers get the space needed to achieve their goal.

While 92,003 fans were at the stadium, many more were watching worldwide. Even NBA legend Magic Johnson said he was blown away by the support shown to women's athletics.

Wednesday's celebrations started with an exhibition between Nebraska-Kearney and Wayne State, who know something about big crowds. UNK holds the DII all-time attendance record, set in 2005 when they played Grand Valley State in front of 5,025 fans in the NCAA tournament. 

Nebraska and Omaha got the full treatment with a tunnel walk and a flyover before their match.

History was officially made this week, but the record was not exactly a surprise. Tickets for "Volleyball Day in Nebraska" sold out in 48 hours in April. The event was so important for the program that UNL canceled in-person classes on Wednesday to encourage students to attend.

Nebraska has led the nation in volleyball attendance every season since 2013. The team has sold out an NCAA-record 306 consecutive regular season matches, but Wednesday did not count toward that streak because the match was not held at Devaney Center court.

"It's a celebration of Nebraska volleyball at every level in the state," Cook said. "We took a chance by playing at Memorial Stadium, and to go for the record and break it. Now we've made a statement to everybody else on how important volleyball is here. ... We just proved it."