Lopers playing at Memorial Stadium during Volleyball Day in Nebraska doubleheader, concert

LINCOLN – Volleyball Day in Nebraska is coming to Memorial Stadium this August.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln volleyball team will host the University of Nebraska at Omaha at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30, in Memorial Stadium as part of a local doubleheader celebrating the impact of volleyball on the state of Nebraska.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney will play Wayne State College in an exhibition match at 4:30 p.m. to start the event. Memorial Stadium gates will open at 3:30 p.m.

Following the Nebraska-UNO match, a concert featuring a national recording artist will take place on a stage on the Memorial Stadium field. The musical artist will be announced at a later date. The Huskers’ Teraflex court will be positioned near the north end zone of Tom Osborne Field with the concert stage closer to midfield.

In conjunction with today’s announcement of the matches, Gov. Jim Pillen will make a special proclamation celebrating the impact of the sport of volleyball in Nebraska.

“This is going to be a fantastic celebration of volleyball in the state of Nebraska,” Nebraska Vice Chancellor, Director of Athletics Trev Alberts said. “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.”

Tickets for the event will go on sale to Nebraska volleyball season-ticket holders on Tuesday, April 25. They will not be part of the Nebraska volleyball season-ticket package and must be purchased separately.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, April 26. A ticket will gain entrance to both volleyball matches and the concert. Tickets will be $25 for adults and $5 for high school age and younger. Ticket information for UNL, UNO, UNK and Wayne State students will be announced at a later date. Everyone, regardless of age, must have a ticket for admittance. Ticket sales will begin with North Stadium and the farthest north sections in East and West Stadiums. All seats will be reserved.

The Nebraska-UNO match will be televised on the Big Ten Network and streamed on the FOX Sports app. Streaming and possible television details for the UNK-Wayne State match are to be determined. The Huskers Radio Network will broadcast the Nebraska-UNO match on their radio affiliates. A live audio stream will be provided at Huskers.com and the Huskers App.

“We greatly appreciate the opportunity to be included in this unique celebration of volleyball in Nebraska. Along with so many programs at every level, Loper volleyball has long represented our state’s passion for this great game,” said UNK head coach Rick Squiers. “We look forward to seeing a splash of blue and gold in Memorial Stadium.”

UNK and Wayne State haven’t met on the volleyball court since fall 2015. This year, Division II teams cannot begin regular-season play until Aug. 31, so the match will be an exhibition and won’t count toward official attendance records.

The Nebraska-UNO match is a regular-season contest, so a few volleyball attendance records will be worth keeping an eye on as ticket sales begin. The largest-ever crowd for an NCAA volleyball match is 18,755 when Nebraska played Wisconsin on Dec. 18, 2021, in the NCAA Final at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The largest NCAA regular-season crowd is 16,833 when Wisconsin hosted Florida at the Kohl Center in Madison on Sept. 16, 2022.

In order to count as an official NCAA volleyball record, the official attendance must be counted at the conclusion of the second set of the Nebraska-UNO match. Anyone entering Memorial Stadium after that point will not count toward the total attendance.

Nebraska volleyball fans have continued to set the bar for attendance throughout the years:

  • Eight of the top nine crowds in NCAA volleyball history are matches that have involved the Huskers.
  • Of the 14 largest NCAA volleyball regular-season crowds, 13 have been Nebraska matches.
  • When Nebraska played at Creighton on Sept. 7, 2022, at the CHI Health Center, a then-regular-season NCAA record crowd of 15,797 turned out to watch the Huskers defeat the Bluejays. It shattered the previous regular-season record of 14,022, set by Nebraska and Creighton in 2018. The record lasted nine days, however, as Wisconsin and Florida drew a crowd of 16,833 to the Kohl Center on Sept. 16.
  • The largest-ever crowd for a Division II volleyball match is 5,025 when UNK hosted Grand Valley State in the 2005 national championship match at the Health and Sports Center.
  • UNK and UNO set the Division II regular-season attendance record when 3,520 fans watched their Oct. 15, 1996, match at the Health and Sports Center. However, that record was topped last fall when the University of Alaska Anchorage hosted Central Washington at the Alaska Airlines Center with 3,888 fans in attendance.

The Nebraska volleyball program has sold out 303 consecutive regular-season matches, though the Memorial Stadium match would not count toward the streak as it is being played outside the Huskers’ main home facility, the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Nebraska’s sellout streak is an NCAA women’s record. The Huskers have led the nation in attendance every season since moving into the Devaney Center in 2013.

The Nebraska volleyball program has won five NCAA championships and 34 conference championships in its 48-year history. The Huskers have a nation-leading 99 AVCA All-Americans and 39 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. Nebraska volleyball also leads the nation in all-time wins (1,433), most weeks ranked in the AVCA Poll (586), most weeks ranked in the top 10 (530) and most weeks ranked No. 1 (102).

“This is going to be a special day for the sport of volleyball in this state,” Nebraska head coach John Cook said. “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.”

UNO is coming off a 20-11 season and 14-4 record in the Summit League last year. That came one year after the Mavericks won the Summit League regular-season title with a 16-2 conference record. Head coach Matt Buttermore took over the program in 2019 and has led the Mavs to back-to-back 20-win seasons, their first since making the transition to Division I in 2011.

UNK ranks among the winningest programs in Division II with an all-time win percentage of .802. The Lopers have made 23 straight NCAA tournaments and were the national runner-up in 2005 and 2019. Squiers has been at the helm since 1999. UNK finished the 2022 season at 28-6 and was ranked 15th in the final AVCA Division II Coaches Poll.

Wayne State is coming off a 30-3 season and the program’s first-ever NSIC regular-season title. The Wildcats ended the season ranked fourth in the AVCA Division II Coaches Poll after holding the No. 1 ranking for five weeks during the regular season. Scott Kneifl has led Wayne State as head coach since 2005, and the Wildcats have made 12 NCAA tournament appearances in his tenure, including their first-ever semifinals berth in 2015.

Both UNK and Wayne State consistently rank among the nation’s Division II attendance leaders.