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Volleyball breaks regular season attendance record

After taking part in Volleyball Day in Nebraska the week prior, the Loper volleyball team was out to set an attendance record of its own. 

The Lopers were out to retake the NCAA division II attendance record, which they held from 1996 until last fall, losing it to a matchup between Central Washington and Alaska-Anchorage that drew 3,888 fans.

Even though the Health and Sports Center has drawn record crowds before, coach Rick Squiers wasn’t sure the task was possible. 

“I mean, I’m not always the most optimistic about things like this,” Squiers said. “But when I saw the line and you know you kind of started to feel people getting here a little bit earlier than they normally do, I thought we had a chance.”

That chance would become a reality between the second and third sets. When the announcement was made that the record was back in Kearney, with 4,003 fans packing the arena. 

Although the crowd sets the regular season attendance record, it is only the fourth largest crowd the arean has had watch volleyball. As the arena also holds the overall record for NCAA division II volleyball attendance from the Loper’s 2005 matchup against Grand Valley State in the NCAA final, where 5,025 fans were in attendance. The arena has also hosted crowds of 4,412 and 4,331 that rank just ahead of Wednesday’s crowd.

For defensive specialist/libero and Minden native Jensen Rowse, there was a sense of accomplishment in bringing the record back to Kearney.

“We take a lot of pride in our volleyball fans here in Kearney,” Rowse said. “So we’re really proud that we can break a record and get a huge amount of people here at a local smaller town game.”

The undefeated Lopers would sweep Peru State in three sets to cap off the night. Then, they would hit the road for the weekend and sweep all four of their opponents at the Mountain Lion Invite in Colorado Springs. 

MIAA play opens this week when the Lopers hit the road once again to take on foes Washburn and Emporia State. The Lopers have lost five-straight to the Ichabods dating back to 2021, with their last win coming in 2019 at home. The Lopers have won 23 straight over Emporia State dating back to 2012.

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Traeton Harimon
Traeton Harimon, Sports Editor
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