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…
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