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The Golden Age of Volleyball

No. 1 Nebraska will face defending national champions Texas in the NCAA women’s volleyball national championship Sunday (3 pm ET, ABC). Texas, who has won four titles, will be led by standouts Madisen Skinner—the Big 12 player of the year—and middle blocker Asjia O’Neal. The five-time champion Huskers (32-1), whose only loss this season was to Wisconsin, are led by captains Merritt Beason and Lexi Rodriguez. 

The match comes during a boom in popularity for the sport, with last year’s title game bringing in almost 1.2 million viewers. This year's Nebraska versus Omaha game filled Nebraska’s football stadium with just over 92,000 fans and set an all-time attendance record for women’s sports. USA Volleyball membership—the national governing body of the sport in the US—increased by 9.6% in the 2022-23 season, the largest percentage growth since 1998. The number of high school girls and boys playing the sport has grown by almost 40% since 2017.

The first women’s professional league, Athletes Unlimited, debuted in 2021. The Professional Volleyball Federation will launch a seven-franchise league starting in January, and League One Volleyball—partnered with USA Volleyball—will arrive in 2025.

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