Huskers prepping for record-Breaking day at Memorial Stadium

By Lincoln Arneal

Following a sweep against SMU on Sunday, Nebraska stayed in the locker room longer than usual.

The Huskers weren’t getting chewed out. They weren’t talking about how to fix their offense or having a players-only meeting. Instead, they reviewed the expansive logistics for the next few days.

The upcoming Volleyball Day in Nebraska, when a volleyball match will be played in a packed football stadium, is a first-of-its-kind event for the sport. With more than 91,000 people in attendance and 200 media members expected, Wednesday will be more than just a volleyball game.

“We’re really trying to front-load them up on, ‘Hey, this is going to be way out of what we’re normally used to trying to do,’” NU coach John Cook said. “We want to embrace it. This is historic. It’s going to make history, and it’s a worldwide event and we want to have fun, but we still got to win a match.”

Nebraska players have played outside during beach season, but no one has played volleyball in front of such a huge crowd. The match will exceed the previous regular season attendance mark for a volleyball game more than five times over.

“It’s gonna be an insane day but I don’t think anything can really prepare us for that game,” freshman Harper Murray said.

Getting to game day has taken months of planning, which started before the announcement in February. Fans overwhelmed the ticket office in April and forced the release of more tickets than anticipated. Tickets for stadium seats were gone in a few days, and by July, all standing-room-only tickets were purchased.

The Board of Regents approved alcohol sales in Memorial Stadium. Sales will be at kiosks around the stadium and most domestic and craft beer options will be in 16-ounce cans for $9 each. Three local breweries will be featured as Zipline Brewing Co. and Kinkaider Brewing Co. will have two beers for sale during the event, and Empyrean Brewing Co. will have one craft beer available.

To help with campus traffic, Nebraska canceled in-person classes on Wednesday. Parking will be available in booster lots around the campus, and NU is offering shuttle services to the stadium.

Then came the actual logistics of staging an indoor sport outside in a massive stadium.

Because of the convex crown of the football field, the volleyball court needed to be placed on a riser to provide a level surface. When the stadium was set up for the May commencement ceremony, the graduate managers tested the Teraflex court on a riser. They realized they needed to reinforce the structure to better assimilate an indoor surface and insure athlete safety.

The Nebraska events management team set up the court Thursday night after the football team finished practice. First, they laid down a protective surface over the turf. Then they began setting up a stage for media purposes 20 feet from the court. The space between will hold bleachers and courtside seating. In addition, a stage also is set up on the south side of the field for the concert that will cap the event.

Event workers aren’t the only ones who will be busy on Tuesday and Wednesday. After playing three matches in three days, the volleyball team will get an off-day on Monday, but Tuesday is packed. Cook, junior Merritt Beason and sophomore Bekka Allick are scheduled to meet with the media on Tuesday morning.

Three teams – Nebraska-Omaha, Wayne State and Nebraska – will practice on the outdoor court Tuesday afternoon. Nebraska-Kearney is not scheduled to practice on the outdoor court. Tuesday evening will also include a reception for former Husker players at the stadium and a reception where the current team will appear.

On Wednesday, the Huskers will arrive at the stadium shortly after noon. They will stop by a rally at the NU Coliseum at 12:30 p.m. They will eat together, go through a serve-and-pass practice and hang out in the Nebraska football locker room for the rest of the day.

Gates for the matches will open at 3:30 p.m., an hour before the first serve between Wayne State and Nebraska-Kearney. Fans are allowed to bring personal empty water bottles into the stadium with the regular football regulations in effect – clear bags, digital tickets, no smoking to name a few. The Scotty McCreery concert will begin 15 minutes after the final point and include a light show.

The Nebraska vs. Nebraska-Omaha match, set to start at 7 p.m., will be televised by the Big Ten Network and Wayne State vs Nebraska-Kearney will be shown on Nebraska Public Media. More information about parking and the event is available on the Huskers website:

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