Omaha Supernovas crowned first Pro Volleyball Federation champions

May 18, 2024, 7 p.m. ·

Omaha Supernovas and Grand Rapids Rise compete
The Omaha Supernovas swept the Grand Rapids Rise 3-0 to become the inaugural champions of the Pro Volleyball Federation. (Photo by Jolie Peal/Nebraska Public Media News)

The Omaha Supernovas swept the Grand Rapids Rise to become the inaugural champions of the Pro Volleyball Federation in Omaha on Saturday.

Omaha Supernovas outside hitter Brooke Nuneviller said the team was locked in starting in the semifinal match, and stayed that way until the final point was done in the championship.

“It almost doesn't feel real just because a sweep is so crazy with such a talented Grand Rapids team like that,” Nuneviller said. “I think like every single set, every single point, we looked each other in the eyes, and we reminded ourselves that we have to keep pushing. If we're up by three, if we're up by five, it's never over until the confetti falls.”

Over 10,600 fans filled CHI Health Center to watch the match, the majority of them being Supernovas fans. Nuneviller said it was special to play the championship match at home.

“I'm so grateful just to be able to be in a state where they love volleyball so much,” Nuneviller said. “They want to come and support us. Before they've even seen us play, we'd go to a grocery store and they knew who we were immediately.”

Along with getting a trophy and the champion title, the winning team won $1 million. The players said they hadn’t thought about what to spend the money on because they were focused on winning the match first. Omaha Supernovas setter Sydney Hilley said money or no money, the team was happy either way.

“The thing is we’d be just as excited right now if there wasn’t a million dollars on the line,” Hilley said.

Hilley was named the 2024 Championship Most Valuable Player.

Although the Grand Rapids Rise lost the match, opposite hitter Emiliya Dimitrova said she’ll always remember this season. Dimitrova is retiring from volleyball after 17 years.

“I wouldn’t describe this last game as something negative no matter of the result because what I got from this season will be unforgettable for me because I made my dream come true,” Dimitrova said.

The league started its inaugural season in January in Omaha. The Omaha Supernovas had lost to the Atlanta Vibe in a five-set match. Nuneviller said becoming league champions was a fairytale ending to the season.

“It’s a pretty full circle moment,” Nuneviller said. “We got an opportunity to compete and to prove that we were the best team in the league, and I'm just really excited, and I'm so proud of this group.”

This first season of the Pro Volleyball Federation had seven teams: Omaha Supernovas, Grand Rapids Rise, Columbus Fury, Atlanta Vibe, Orlando Valkyries, San Diego Mojo and the Vegas Thrill. Three new teams will join the league next year in Kansas City, Indianapolis and Dallas.