Last season, Wisconsin one-upped Nebraska and Creighton by hosting Florida at the Kohl Center to break the NCAA’s regular season single-match attendance record at 16,833.
Nebraska saw Wisconsin’s raise and is countering by going all-in: the Huskers will host Omaha for a match at Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, August. 30, with a 7 p.m. CT scheduled start time.
Division II in-state schools Nebraska-Kearney and Wayne State will play opening act with an exhibition game at 4:30 p.m., and a concert featuring a performance artist to be named later will follow the Huskers and Mavericks in what the athletic department is calling “Volleyball Day in Nebraska.”
“This is going to be a special day for the sport of volleyball in this state,” Nebraska head coach John Cook said in a release. “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.”
Nebraska and Creighton set a new regular season attendance record at CHI Health Center Omaha early last season before the Badgers and Gators broke it less than two weeks later. Now, Nebraska is planning to raise the bar even further. Nebraska and Wisconsin currently share the all-time attendance record with 18,755 fans at the Final Four in Columbus, Ohio, in 2021.
The Big Ten Network will televise the Nebraska-Omaha match. Tickets — good for both matches plus the concert — will go on sale to Nebraska volleyball season-ticket holders on Tuesday, April 25, and will cost $25 for adults and $5 for children. They will be separate from season-ticket packages. Tickets for the general public will go on sale on April 26.
“This is going to be a fantastic celebration of volleyball in the state of Nebraska,” Nebraska Vice Chancellor, Director of Athletics Trev Alberts said in the release. “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!”
Nebraska went 26-6 last season and fell in the Regional Semifinal round of the NCAA Tournament. Omaha went 20-11 last season including 14-4 in Summit League play under Coach Matt Buttermore, who has led the Mavericks to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since making the transition to Division I in 2011.
UNK finished the 2022 season at 28-6 and ranked 15th in the final AVCA Division II Coaches Poll. The Lopers have made 23 straight NCAA Tournaments with national runner-up finishes in 2005 and 2019. Wayne State went 30-3 last season including the program’s first conference title in the NSIC. The Wildcats finished fourth in the final coaches poll.
The Memorial Stadium match will take place during the second week of the season; the Huskers will open play with a home tournament at the Devaney Center Aug. 25-27.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.