OMAHA, Nebraska — For the record, the Atlanta Vibe won, beating the Omaha Supernovas 26-24, 25-23, 17-25, 19-25, 15-13 and avoided the reverse sweep by rallying from a 13-10 fifth-set deficit.
But, as almost everyone involved said without prompting, the inaugural Pro Volleyball Federation match Wednesday night in the CHI Health Center Arena made history.
Alli Linnehan got the first kill for Atlanta.
“History was made tonight,” Linnehan said. “That’s what we just kept saying. History is being made and it’s just so awesome that we get to be a part of it.”
Her coach, Todd Dagenais, was doused with water by his players in the happy post-match dressing room and his dress shirt and tie were soaked.
“As much as we’re excited about this road win,” Dagenais said, “that’s nice. But I think it was an incredible to share the court with them tonight with such an great crowd and I’m so happy for the league to pull this off.
“This is the dream that we all bought into. This is what we wanted to be a part of and I think we gave the fans of volleyball, of the PVF, we gave them a great match and something they can be excited about.”
No doubt the PVF was excited about the announced crowd of 11,624 and it should be thrilled with the level of play as the teams with the perceived best rosters in the seven-team fledgling league went at it.
“That was a great match in front of a lot of great fans,” said Dagenais, who left his job at UCF to join PVF. “Hey, we’re off the ground and up and running it.”
Two former Kentucky stars, who just happened to go 1-2 last fall in Athletes Unlimited, led Atlanta. Leah Edmond had a match-high 27 kills — including the match-winner, the last of five in the fifth set — to go with two blocks.
As the match began, “It was a surreal moment, that we’re playing professional volleyball in the States,” Edmond said.
Linnehan, who then as Alli Stumler led Kentucky to the spring 2021 NCAA title in this same building, had 13 kills, two blocks and an ace. Stumler, then a junior, had a match-high 26 kills on April 25, 2021, in a four-set victory over Texas.
Obviously she likes being in the CHI Center.
“I do! It’s home,” Linnehan said with a smile. “I think we’re in the same locker room that we were in when we won in college. It’s really special to be back here.”
The Vibe got 11 kills and four blocks…