Bekka Allick admits she is freakishly competitive.

So when Wisconsin took Nebraska’s regular season attendance record last fall when it hosted 16,833 fans for its match against Florida at the Kohl Center in Madison, Allick and the Huskers knew they would have to get creative to get it back.

Nebraska revealed its answer on Friday announcing it would play Omaha on August 30 in at Memorial Stadium, which has a capacity of 85,458. The event will also feature an exhibition match between Division II powers Nebraska-Kearney and Wayne State College. Nebraska added that the matches will be paired with a music concert by a to-be-announced national recording artist.

“If I’m in traffic and if someone accelerates too fast, I’m gonna take it personal,” said Allick, the middle blocker who is from Lincoln. “When I saw that they set the trend I was like, ‘All right, game on.’ We don’t just roll over to anybody. There was a little bit of talk in the locker room. Then, of course, Coach (John Cook) drops the mic and says, ‘Yeah, we’re playing Memorial Stadium.’ Let’s pack it.”

The match at Memorial Stadium would likely be the first NCAA volleyball match played outdoors, not including the beach season. Playing outside would present new challenges in dealing with wind, humidity and sun. However, for the Huskers, who all play beach volleyball, the conditions would be similar to what they experience during the spring season, but with a more stable surface.

Despite all the possible obstacles, Cook appreciated NU athletic director Trev Alberts’s confidence in their ability to pull off the event.

“It’s cool to be around people that dream big,” Cook said. “That’s what we talk about all the time. This is just the next step we can take to make Nebraska volleyball really special or more than it is and really put it on a world stage.”

College basketball has tried the outdoor experiment as four games have been played on the decks of aircraft carriers, starting in 2011. (Two more were scheduled to play, but condensation on the court canceled them.) The NBA played four preseason games outdoors, with the last three played at Indian Wells Tennis Garden near Palm Springs, California. The WNBA hosted a regular season game at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, in 2008.

The announcement press conference also featured Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, University of Nebraska system president Ted Carter, UNL chancellor Ronnie Green and all four participating head coaches.

Carter challenged Nebraska fans to fill the stadium, which has been sold out for every football game since 1962.

“We’re going to do this once, and I want to hope that the number is large enough that nobody dares even try to attack our all-time record,” Alberts said.

From Nebraska:

— 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 September 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, 3-2. 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 September 16.

The entire news conference follows:

Lincoln Arneal lives in Lincoln and covers Nebraska volleyball for Huskers Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @lincoln_VB 



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