“Husker nation is the best. The Husker fans are the best. They love this team and this place will be rocking Saturday night,”
Nebraska head coach John Cook’s words about the fans after Thursday night’s national semifinal match against Illinois echo what he and his team have said all season.
Husker fans have built a reputation for traveling well with their teams and the volleyball Final Four in Minneapolis has only strengthened that viewpoint. Fans will have one more opportunity to show their support as the team takes on Stanford in the national championship Saturday night.
Nebraska senior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke talked about the Husker fans making the trip from Nebraska as the team tries for its third national championship in four years.
“The Nebraska fans always bring it, they always turn out,” Foecke said. “Obviously it’s a huge help for us, a huge momentum builder when you have so many other fans cheering for each other along with us.”
The praise goes both ways. When asked her reaction to the thanks the team has shown to its fans, Husker fan Opal Christensen had a simple answer.
“We love Nebraska, and we love Nebraska volleyball,” Christensen said. “I’ve been a fan since the Coliseum days and I’ve had season tickets since the Coliseum days. I love it.”
Jennifer and Roger Luther, who watched the volleyball team win titles in Omaha and Kansas City, said the strong bond between the Huskers and their fans is part of the state’s culture.
“Nebraska fans travel so well, it’s just crazy,” Jennifer said. “There were all sorts of people asking ‘Where do we buy tickets, where can we find more tickets?’ I hope we have a lot of noise [Saturday] night, even more noise than [Thursday] night and really help pull the team along.”
“It’s just a great atmosphere,” Roger said. “One person just influences another and we grow with it. It’s been going on forever.”
The Nebraska faithful had to hold their breath Thursday night as the Huskers battled back after falling behind 0-2 to Illinois in the national semifinal match.
“In the second set, we were really nervous.” Christensen said. “After that set, we were like ‘I hope a new team shows up.’ and they did.”
Christiansen said her faith continued to grow as the defending champs began their comeback.
“In the third set, I was still a little worried,” Chirstensen said. but in the fourth I was like, ‘Okay ladies you can do this.’”
The Rogers, hoping for a little Christmas magic, held true to the end.
“As the sign says, you must believe,” Roger said.