LINCOLN, NEB. Volleyball has come a long way at Nebraska in the 25 years since players would set up folding chairs at courtside so perhaps 100 or 200 fans could watch matches at the NU Coliseum.
When the third-ranked Cornhuskers meet Texas Tech tonight, they'll be playing before their 50th consecutive home sellout of 4,030.
The streak is the second-longest in women's college sports behind the University of Connecticut basketball team's 111 straight sellouts.
Of course, volleyball remains well short of the Nebraska football team's ongoing NCAA-record 267 consecutive sellouts.
Norm Helzer holds season tickets for both sports, and though he loves football, he said his Big Red blood ran hottest for volleyball.
"Football's fine, but volleyball is indoors. Shucks," Helzer, 60, said. "Once you get a ticket, you hate to let it go. Volleyball is a minor sport, and the tickets are scarce. Imagine that."
The Huskers ranked third nationally in attendance last season at 4,239 a game, or 105 percent of capacity. They have averaged better than 3,000 fans a game 12 of the past 14 seasons.
Since the program started in 1975, the Huskers have gone undefeated at home 12 seasons, and they are 413-30 all-time at the Coliseum.
The experience isn't so much about what happens on the court as the atmosphere surrounding it. The fans' enthusiasm transfers to the players.
"The first game when I was walking out on the court as a freshman, I had goosebumps," sophomore setter Dani Busboom said. "I was almost in tears knowing I was playing in a place that is so special."