UNK volleyball draws 4,003 fans, reclaims D-ll attendance record
KEARNEY, Neb. — The Lopers are getting used to being record setters.
Exactly one week after Volleyball Day in Nebraska, UNK volleyball fans packed 4,003 people into the Health and Sports Center for the team’s home opener… a new Division ll regular season record.
“Breaking two records in a week, I feel so fortunate that I’ve been able to be a part of both of them," junior Jensen Rowse said. "I’m just really thankful that I’ve been here at this time.”
Fans came from across the region and lined up early. Many were students like Easton Anderson.
“I think that we have good school school spirit here and that people come to support,” Anderson said.
Many have been fans forever like Tom McCoy and Ella Deweese.
“It’s great entertainment and they’re always competitive,” McCoy said.
“We’re great, great people, great fans and they’re a wonderful team to watch,” Deweese said.
The record reflects the fanbase’s love of the sport and the competitive drive of head coach Rick Squiers. Alaska-Anchorage drew 3,888 fans last year, beating UNK’s previous 26-year-old record.
“And so I thought, you know, we gotta fix this. It’s a big number," Squiers said. "You’re asking a lot to get 4,000 people at a home opener in Division ll volleyball, but folks in Kearney, they can do anything.”
After UNK’s three-set sweep of Peru State, the fans lined up again… this time in the autograph line. That’s what hit home for Minden native Jensen Rowse.
“I remember I would be like that same little girl, too, wanting autographs, keeping those shirts that are signed and all that stuff," Rowse said. "It just makes our day. We see these girls at summer camps and then they come back and they remember our names.”
The program already held the D-ll postseason attendance record. Squiers says hitting 4K in the regular season is just another testament to the community’s unparalleled support.
“The regular season record is back in Kearney where it belongs," Squiers said. "It’s just a great volleyball town and a program that’s done that for a long time.”