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Huskers adjust to limited crowds during unique 2021 season

Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 11:10 AM CDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - On a typical game night, Nebraska volleyball fans fill the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln. Crowds are often standing-room-only with the red-clad supporters cheering for their beloved Huskers. And it’s been that way for years.

Nebraska’s sell-out streak dates back to 2001, originating in the NU Coliseum and continuing during the Huskers’ move to the Devaney Center. The 270-match streak is the longest in college volleyball.

In 2021, though, only family members are allowed to attend matches due to COVID-19 restrictions mandated by the Big Ten.

“Go Big Red” chants have been replaced by music playing in between points. Coaches’ instructions can be audibly heard throughout the arena. Intense moments lack the edge-of-your-seat buzz that makes the Devaney Center one of the best fan experiences in college athletics.

“I miss playing in Devaney when it feels like Devaney,” Madi Kubik said. The Nebraska sophomore outside hitter adds that the lack of a home crowd has affected the team. “It never feels any more regular.”

Official attendance for each of Nebraska’s first six home matches is listed at 100. Fans have transitioned to following Nebraska on television this season, with commentary shifting from the stadium seats to social media. Interaction across Husker Nation remains high, and a common discussion point is the effect of an empty arena.

Many fans believe the Huskers’ 5-set loss to Ohio State on Saturday would’ve had a different outcome had there been a capacity crowd inside the Devaney Center.

The Huskers currently own a 4-2 record in Lincoln this season. Nebraska is ranked 5th in the current AVCA Poll.

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