Sterling grad Lexi Rodriguez leads Nebraska women’s volleyball in record-breaking night

Cornhuskers break world record with 92,003 fans watching women’s event

Nebraska's Lexi Rodriguez, bottom, performs the worm as her teammates cheer her on following a college volleyball match against Omaha at Memorial Stadium, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023, in Lincoln, Neb.

Sterling’s Lexi Rodriguez not only had the opportunity to be part of a historic moment Wednesday when Nebraska women’s volleyball hosted Omaha outside at the Cornhuskers’ Memorial Stadium.

She also led the team out to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Rodriguez, a December 2020 Sterling alumna who committed to play for Nebraska before she played a high school game, joined head coach John Cook and teammate Merritt Beason in leading the Cornhuskers out into the stadium. They met 92,003 fans, the most ever gathered to watch a women’s sporting event in the world.

“I was super excited,” Rodriguez said after the game. “I couldn’t keep a serious face, I just wanted to show everyone how excited I was, how happy I was. It was crazy emotions in that tunnel.”

The Cornhuskers defeated Omaha 3-0 and found out they had set the world record before the third set as they made their way to the court.

It was a historic moment for Rodriguez who has had plenty of them in her career. Rodriguez helped the Cornhuskers reach the NCAA championships in 2021 and another national tournament in 2022.

Rodriguez was the AVCA National Freshman of the Year, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-American in 2021 and she earned first team Big Ten as a freshman and sophomore. Rodriguez also was a named second team All-American last season.

Nebraska's Lexi Rodriguez serves the ball against Pepperdine during the 2022 season in Lincoln, Neb.

“I was super excited. I couldn’t keep a serious face, I just wanted to show everyone how excited I was, how happy I was. It was crazy emotions in that tunnel.”

—  Lexi Rodriguez, Sterling alumna

All of that came before a decorated high school career, helping Sterling win Class 3A state title in 2018 and 2019.

While the historic moment was something Rodriguez said she’ll remember, she also hopes Wednesday’s match is something that girls across the country never forget.

“It’s so huge for little girls to get to see a women’s sport and volleyball being played on this big of a stage,” Rodriguez said. “Having so many people invest into it, I think it’s huge because when you’re little, you have big dreams and goals. Having this to look up to is something that little girls will keep in the back of their mind when they’re pursuing the sport of volleyball.”

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Michal Dwojak

Michal Dwojak

Michal is a sports enterprise reporter for Shaw Local, covering the CCL/ESCC for Friday Night Drive and other prep sports for the Northwest Herald. He also is a Chicago Bears contributing writer. He previously was the sports editor for the Glenview Lantern, Northbook Tower and Malibu Surfside News.