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Nebraska volleyball set to break attendance record for all women’s sports

Nebraska volleyball celebrates a five-set victory over Creighton during the 2022 season. (Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

Nebraska volleyball is aiming to shatter the all-time attendance record for women’s sports.

What started out as a “joke,” head coach John Cook told The Athletic, has turned into reality, with more than 90,000 fans expected to come together for the Cornhuskers’ match against Omaha at Lincoln Memorial Stadium.

“We never thought seriously about doing it,” Cook said. But then rival Wisconsin drew a crowd of 16,833 people in its basketball arena, breaking the regular-season attendance record for a women’s volleyball match.

And Nebraska, which holds 13 of the 14 largest regular-season crowds and has played in front of eight of the nine largest collegiate crowds in the sport, couldn’t let that stand.

“The attendance record for volleyball belongs in the state of Nebraska,” Nebraska athletics director Trev Alberts said in April.

Of course, their basketball arena wouldn’t work – it wasn’t big enough.

“Wisconsin, being as competitive as they are, went and took one of our attendance records away,” Cook said. “So we’re like, ‘How are we going to get it back?’”

Enter Lincoln Memorial Stadium, which seats 83,406 in the stands and will hold extra seats on the stadium floor and in added bleachers. A total of 82,900 tickets were sold over three days in April, and if the weather holds the team is expected to play in front of more than 90,000 fans – and likely even more than the 91,648 that attended FC Barcelona’s Women’s Champions League semifinal against Wolfsburg last April. With that match at Camp Nou, Barcelona set the world record for attendance at a women’s sporting event.

That’s right – Nebraska volleyball could take down soccer powerhouse FC Barcelona and their women’s sporting event attendance world record because of Midwestern rivalry.

The volleyball match also is set to break the record for the biggest crowd at a U.S. women’s sporting event, overtaking the 90,185 fans who attended the 1999 World Cup final between the U.S. and China at the Rose Bowl. And that’s not to mention setting the Memorial Stadium attendance record, which currently sits at 91,585.

“Yes, we believe that goal will be attained,” Nebraska athletics director Trev Alberts told USA TODAY Sports. “I think the number is going to be pushing closer to 95,000.”