Attendance records
fall in Omaha

OMAHA, Neb. » Volleyball's debut at the Qwest Center was an unqualified success ... with the first night's attendance smashing the NACWAA record for a single match.

A crowd of 10,028 broke the mark of 9,345 set when Hawaii met USC in the 2003 NACWAA championship at the Stan Sheriff Center.

The overall attendance mark of 16,292 will fall as well after the final day of the 11th annual event. That mark was also set in 2003 in Honolulu.

The 15,500-seat arena certainly made a strong case to support the discussion of becoming the permanent home of the NCAA women's volleyball championship. The NCAA is moving toward finding permanent sites for its championship sports and Omaha already has a successful 50-year history of hosting the College World Series.

"We're trying to make a statement," Dan Morrissey, executive director of the Omaha Sports Commission, said earlier this week. "We have a huge opportunity to show the NCAA, to put them on notice, that we would like to be the permanent home of the NCAA (volleyball) championships."

Opening with a bang: Successful programs start off successfully. It's certainly the case with the four teams here, where they have a combined 105-17-1 mark in season openers.

Nebraska ran its record to 28-3 with last night's win over Hawaii. The Huskers haven't lost their first match since falling to UOP in the 1999 NACWAA tournament held in Lincoln.

Hawaii's loss dropped its record to 27-5 in season openers. The Rainbow Wahine last lost their first match, also to Nebraska, in the 2001 NACWAA in Stockton., Calif.

All of Hawaii's losses have come on the road, with the exception of the 1980 defeat to UCLA, which was at the Blaisdell Arena.

After Penn State fell to Stanford last night, it was just the sixth time the Nittany Lions had dropped their opener, dropping their record to 23-6-1. The last time Penn State fell in its first match was in 2000 to UCLA at the NACWAA tournament.

Stanford improved its mark to 27-3 in openers. The Cardinal last lost to UC Santa Barbara in 1998.

Penn State is now 4-4 against Stanford.

"A lot of programs would like to be .500 against them," Nittany Lion coach Russ Rose said.

Start 'em up: Sophomore defensive specialist Kelly Ong made her first collegiate start for Hawaii last night. Wahine freshman Jamie Houston started Game 3.

Impressive in their collegiate debuts were Stanford freshmen Cynthia Barboza and Foluke Akinradewo, and Nebraska's Jordan Larson. Barboza had 22 kills and 12 digs, while Akinradewo added 16 kills in the Cardinal's victory; Larson had nine kills and 12 digs for the Huskers.

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