Volleyball Ends Regular-Season at Drake on Saturday

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Natalie Hackbarth
Courtesy: Scott Bruhn

This Week
Nov. 19    7 pm    Creighton at Drake (1180 KOIL AM)    Des Moines, Iowa (Drake Knapp Center)

Creighton (16-13, 11-6 MVC) closes out the regular-season on Saturday with a 7 pm match at Drake (9-22, 5-12 MVC). The match will be played at Drake Knapp Center (7,152) in Des Moines, Iowa.

Radio Broadcast Information
Creighton’s 24-match radio broadcast schedule continues this week with Saturday’s match. Rob Anderson and Rachel Houseman will call the action on KOIL (1180 AM) and it will also be streamed on-line via a link at gocreighton.com.

Video Webcast Information
Creighton’s match at Drake will be video webcast by Drake and available for purchase on GoDrakeBulldogs.com. Subscribers to Creighton’s video webcast package (JaysVideo) will have the match added at no additional charge.
    To sign up for JaysVideo (which includes men’s and women’s basketball webcasts), visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Video tab on the left sidebar. A 4-month subscription costs $34.95, while a monthly subscription costs $10.95 per month.

Live Stats Information
Saturday’s match will have free live stats. Visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Stats tab on the left-hand side of the page for links the exact link. Live stats from both matches are also available on your mobile phone by clicking on www.gocreightonstats.com.

Scouting Creighton
Creighton is 16-13 on the season and fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference standings with an 11-6 league mark. The Bluejays have gone 14-7 since a 2-6 start.
    Creighton has won 15 of 24 matches since going to a 6-2 offense, with junior Megan Bober (2.37 kps., 6.59 aps., 2.44 dps., 0.66 bps.) and freshman Michelle Sicner (0.93 kps., 4.49 aps., 2.18 dps., 0.29 saps., 0.52 bps.) taking turns at setter. Both women turned in a triple-double in Creighton’s Sept. 17 match vs. UAB.
    Senior MB Laurel Sanford leads the team in  blocks per set (1.19) while also owning a team-best .296 attack percentage. Another weapon in the middle is junior MB Heather Thorson, who is second on the team in blocks per set (0.84) and hitting percentage (.289).
    Sophomore libero Julianne Mandolfo averages 5.94 digs per set, easily the best in the MVC, and sixth-best nationally.
    As a team, Creighton averages 12.82 kills, 1.14 aces, 17.19 digs and 2.51 blocks per set while hitting .207.
    Creighton was picked third (of 10) in the MVC this fall after returning 11 letterwinners and four starters from last year’s team that finished 21-12 overall and third in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 13-5 league record.

Scouting Drake
Drake is 9-22 on the season, including a 5-12 league record. The Bulldogs are one of three teams in the running for the No. 6 seed in next week’s State Farm MVC Tournament, but need a win over Creighton on Saturday to have any chance of qualifying.
    Junior OH Whitney Westrum leads the team with 2.74 kills per set, with Bentley Mancini (2.11 kps.) and Michelle Reidy (2.05 kps.) close behind.
    Caitlin Johnson (8.53 aps.) directs the offense, while Sarah Madden (3.50 dps.) leads the team in digs per set.
    As a team, Drake averages 11.68 kills, 0.84 aces, 16.11 digs and 2.09 blocks per set while hitting .130.

The Coaches
Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 157-114 record in her ninth season with the Bluejays. She became the program’s all-time winningest coach on Aug. 25, 2007 with a 3-0 win over Stephen F. Austin and joined the 100-win club with an Oct. 31, 2008 win at Drake. Last season she was named CVU.com’s National Coach of the Year after leading Creighton to the second round during its first NCAA Tournament bid.
     Booth came to Creighton after going 112-41 in three years at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A native of Lincoln, Neb., Booth played volleyball at Truman State, where she was named conference MVP, an Academic All-American and Missouri’s 1997 NCAA Woman of the Year. She ranked third in Division II history with 6,077 assists when she graduated.
    Booth is helped by assistant coaches Tom Mendoza and Angie Oxley Behrens and volunteer assistant Amanda (Gates) Sjuts.
    Tony Sunga (Drake, 1988) is in his first season as a head coach, owning a 9-22 record. He was an assistant at Wyoming the previous three seasons, but at Drake from 2005-07 as an assistant under Amy Farber Knowles. He is assisted by Erin Hirsch.

Series History vs. Drake
Creighton owns a 22-15 record in 37 all-time meetings with Drake, including a 9-8 mark in Des Moines. Creighton has won 16 of the last 19 meetings in the series overall, but lost in Des Moines in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
    Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 16-3 against Drake and 1-0 versus rookie head coach Tony Sunga.

Last Week Summary
Creighton went 0-2 last week, losing at No. 12 Northern Iowa (3-1) and at Bradley (3-2). Megan Bober led the team with 24 kills on the weekend while racking up her Valley record eighth triple-double of the fall. Defensively, Julianne Mandolfo had 55 digs and set the CU record for single-season digs.

Bober Sets Valley Record
Megan Bober set a Valley record with her eighth triple-double of the fall when she had 12 kills, 31 assists and 12 digs at Bradley on Saturday, breaking a record she had shared with UNI's Bre Payton (2009). Creighton entered the year without a triple-double since 2001, but Bober has now recorded a triple-double each of the last five weekends.

You Dig?
Julianne Mandolfo became Creighton's single-season recordholder for digs in a season on Saturday, when her 31 digs gave her 642 for the fall. Mandolfo's 642 digs are eighth-most in MVC history, and just 35 shy of the MVC record by a sophomore, set by Ellie Blankenship in 2008.
    Drake's Alana Wittenburg owns the MVC record with 764 digs in 2010.
    Mandolfo is now averaging 5.94 digs per set, a figure that would have tied for the national lead last season. She has averaged 6.43 digs per set in her past five matches.
    Creighton is 11-4 when Mandolfo outdigs an MVC opponent’s libero this fall, but 0-2 when she doesn’t.

Rare Skid
Creighton has lost its last three MVC matches and looks to avoid a four-match losing streak when it visits Drake on Saturday. The Jays haven't lost four straight Valley contests since November of 2003.

Fighting For Five
Creighton has played five-set matches vs. Southern Illinois (Oct. 21), Illinois State (Oct. 29), Wichita State (Nov. 4) and Bradley (Nov. 12) in the past four weekends, improving to 4-2 this year in five-set contests. Creighton is now 28-16 in five-set matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
     Creighton is 3-3 in five-set matches vs. Drake all-time, including a 1-0 mark under Booth.

Stepping Up
One big reason for Creighton's 4-2 record in five-set matches this fall is the play of all-MVC candidates Julianne Mandolfo and Megan Bober.
    Mandolfo, the Valley leader in digs per set, has 30 or more digs in all six matches to go the distance, averaging 6.37 digs per set during those matches.
    Bober, meanwhile, has a triple-double in five of the six matches to go five sets, and was one kill and two digs away in the other.

Seniors Shoot For 50
Creighton seniors Laurel Sanford and Karisa Almgren have won 49 regular-season MVC matches during their careers. A win on Saturday would be the pair's 50th MVC regular-season victory.
Rare Air
In only one match from 1994-2010 did Creighton ever have a player lead the team in both kills and assists in the same match, but Megan Bober has done it 10 different times this season. Her versatility has helped her be in the running for the team lead in both kills and assists, a most unlikely statistical pairing.
    Through matches of Nov. 17th, only Kelly Kirby (Furman) and Zuzana Markova (Louisiana-Monroe) are leading their teams in assists and kills. Bober leads Creighton in assists and is two behind Laurel Sanford for the team lead in kills.
    Bober enters this weekend with 574 kills and 3,091 career assists, making her the first Bluejay in school history with at least 500 kills and 3,000 assists in a career.

Mandolfo’s 20/20 Vision
Julianne Mandolfo owns 20 or more digs in 20 of Creighton’s 29 matches this season.  Her 20 matches with 20 digs sets CU’s single-season record, (previously 15) held by Bianca Rivera in 2007.
    Her eight career matches with 30 or more digs are a Creighton school record, while her 31 career matches with 20 or more digs are also most in program history.
Matches With 30+ Digs, Career
    30+D    Name    Years
    8    Julianne Mandolfo     2010-Pres.
    4    Janeen Piller    2001-04
    4    Bianca Rivera    2007-08
    4    Nayka Benitez    2009-10
    1    Melissa Weisensee    1994-97
    1    Melissa Walsh    1998-01

Matches With 20+ Digs, Career
    20+D    Name    Years
    31    Julianne Mandolfo      2010-Pres.
    27    Bianca Rivera    2007-08
    20    Janeen Piller    2001-04

Matches With 20+ Digs, Season
    20+D    Name    Year
    20    Julianne Mandolfo    2011
    15    Bianca Rivera    2007
    13    Janeen Piller    2004

Mandolfo Digs To New Heights
Julianne Mandolfo dug a career-high 36 balls in Creighton’s 3-2 win at Illinois State on Oct. 29th. The figure is tied for third-most (two behind the record) in CU history and was also the most in the MVC this fall at the time.
    After becoming the first freshman in school history with 500 or more digs in a season last fall, she has now become the first sophomore in school history with 500 or more digs.
    Mandolfo is already the only player in CU history with multiple seasons of 525 or more digs.

Thorson Power
Heather Thorson has upped her hitting percentage to .289 on the year, including a team-leading .320 in Valley action.
    Her last five matches have done nothing but help that figure, as she’s hit .376 with 73 kills and just 11 errors in 165 attacks.
    Creighton is 10-2 all-time when Thorson has 10 or more kills.

Triple-Double Leaders
Megan Bober owns eight triple-doubles this season, the most in one year in MVC history.
    According to the AVCA’s web site, Bober’s eight triple-doubles are the most in the country this fall, two more than Florida’s Kelly Murphy. Murphy, a first-team All-American in 2010, owns a staggering 28 career triple-doubles.
    In addition to her eight triple-doubles, Bober has  eight other matches with at least eight kills/digs/assists this year.
    Here’s a list of most triple-doubles in a season in MVC history.
    No.    Name, School    Year
    8    Megan Bober, CU    2011
    7    Bre Payton, UNI    2009
    6    Bre Payton, UNI    2010
    6    Sam Hardwick, BU    2000
    4    Shannon Perry, UNI    1999
    4    Mary Bernhardt, UNI    1987
    3    Bre Payton, UNI    2011
    3    Sam Hardwick, BU    1999

Mandolfo Surpasses 1,000
Julianne Mandolfo has 1,173 career digs in 62 career matches. She went over the 1,000 dig plateau vs. Evansville on Oct. 22 in her 56th career contest, second-quickest in CU history to 1,000 digs.
Creighton’s Quickest Players To 1,000 Digs (Career)
Name    MP    Date    Opponent
Bianca Rivera    53    11/08/08    Illinois State
Julianne Mandolfo    56    10/22/11    Evansville
Nayka Benitez    60    11/27/10    at #11 Northern Iowa
Kailey Reyes    77    09/01/01    vs. UTSA
Janeen Piller    80    09/25/04    at Missouri State
Melissa Walsh    85    09/08/01    at #24 Santa Clara
Allie Oelke    95    09/04/10    vs. Iowa
Melissa Weisensee    97    10/04/97    at Missouri State
Sarah Schulze    101    11/13/09    Southern Illinois
Korie Lebeda    108    10/17/08    Evansville

Most Digs in Creighton History
        Name    Sets    No.    Years
    1.    Janeen Piller    336    1,392    2001-04
    2.    Allie Oelke    445    1,382    2007-10
    3.    Kailey Reyes    368    1,258    1998-01
    4.    Melissa Walsh    394    1,240    1998-01
    5.    Melissa Weisensee    411    1,223    1994-97
    6.    Julianne Mandolfo    232    1,173    2010-Pr.
    7.    Korie Lebeda    428    1,130    2005-08
    8.    Bianca Rivera    207    1,118    2007-08
    9.    Sarah Schulze    398    1,056    2006-09
    10.    Nayka Benitez    233    1,053    2009-10

RPI Update
The NCAA’s fifth official RPI rankings of the fall is out, and Creighton is up dropped five spots to 58th in the rankings. By comparison, last year CU was 44th in the Nov. 15 rankings, eventually reaching as high as No. 29 (Nov. 28), before finishing the year 32nd.
    Creighton has played 13 matches against top-48 clubs this season, facing Nebraska (3), UNI (6 twice), Texas A&M (19, twice), Northern Illinois (16), Kansas State (26), Marquette (40), Missouri State (43, twice), Wichita State (49, twice) and Saint Mary’s (51).
    Drake is 191st in this week’s RPI.

Booth Passes 100 Valley Wins
Now in her ninth season at Creighton, Kirsten Bernthal Booth owns a 104-57 record in MVC regular-season matches. She became the eighth coach in league history to reach 100 victories with a five-set win against SIU on Oct. 22nd, the same team she beat in five sets for her first MVC victory in 2003.
    Booth is seventh on the MVC’s all-time list for regular-season league victories with 104.
Most Regular-Season MVC Wins, MVC HIstory
    Rk.    Name, School    W-L    Pct.
    1.    Melissa Stokes*, MSU    206-80    .720
    2.    Iradge Ahrabi-Fard, UNI    196-29    .871
    3.    Bobbi Petersen*, UNI    183-31    .855
    4.    Julie Morgan, ILS    157-32    .831
    5.    Chris Lamb*, WSU    155-59    .724
    6.    Linda Dollar, MSU    121-32    .791
    7.    Kirsten Bernthal Booth* CU    104-57    .646
    8.    Sonya Locke, SIU    101-142    .416

Wild(wood) October
Like World Series MVP David Freese, Creighton defensive specialist Brooke Boggs also hails from Wildwood, Mo., and attended Lafayette High School. Another prominent Lafayette alum with MVC ties is current Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, a former NL MVP who attended Missouri State.

Setting The Table
Creighton owns a pair of players with more than 400 assists this season in Megan Bober (712 assists) and Michelle Sicner (427) for the first time in program history.
    It’s just the second time in program history they’ve used two setters so often, joining the 2002 team that had Jaden Custer (387) and Liz Hagerman (303) share setting duties with Jadee Tanabe (193).

Crowded House
Here’s the 10 largest home crowds in Creighton Volleyball history, which includes three matches from CenturyLink Center Omaha, four from D.J. Sokol Arena and three from the Omaha Civic Auditorium.
    The Oct. 14 crowd of 2,135 to see Creighton topple Bradley was the sixth-largest in school history and third-largest ever at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Largest Home Crowds, Creighton VB History
    Att.    Opponent    Date    CU Result
    13,081    #18 Cal Poly-C    09/02/07    L 0-3
    12,112    #1 Nebraska-C    09/24/06    L 1-3
    8,037    #2 Nebraska-C    10/05/08    L 0-3
    2,514    #7 Nebraska-D    8/31/10    L 0-3
    2,285    Texas Tech-D    8/28/09    W 3-0
    2,135    Bradley-D    10/14/11    W 3-1
    1,557    Northern Iowa-O    11/21/08    W 3-0
    1,493    Wichita State-D    11/04/11    W 3-2
    1,357    Northern Iowa-O    10/20/07    L 0-3
    1,325    Indiana State-O    09/29/07    W 3-0
C = CenturyLink Center Omaha
D = D.J. Sokol Arena
O = Omaha Civic Auditorium

Win The First Set, Win The Match
The team to win the first set has won 44 of Creighton's last 47 matches, and 41 of Creighton's last 43 contests against MVC competition.
    The first set winner has won the last nine Creighton-Drake meetings.
    Under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, Creighton is 135-17 when winning the first set, but 22-97 in matches it loses the opening frame.

Liberated Liberos
Just a sophomore, Creighton libero Julianne Mandolfo is on pace to shatter program records for digs in a career (1,392 by Janeen Piller) and approach the mark for digs per set (5.40 by Bianca Rivera).
    Her career path seems similar to that of 2010 MVC Libero of the Year Ellie Blankenship, who ended her UNI career last fall ranked sixth in NCAA history with 2,656 career digs and sixth in NCAA history with 5.59 digs per set.
Stat    Mandolfo    Blankenship
Digs as a Freshman    531    624
DPS as a Freshman    4.28    5.43
Digs as a Sophomore    642    676
DPS as a Sophomore    5.94    5.59
Total Career Digs    1,173    2,656
Total Career DPS    5.06    5.59

Triple-Double Trouble
Prior to Sept. 17, Creighton had never seen multiple players earn a triple-double in the same season. That’s no longer the case, however, as both Michelle Sicner and Megan Bober turned in a triple-double on Sept. 17 in the same match vs. UAB.
    Sicner had 11 kills, 17 digs and 22 assists against the Blazers, while Bober turned in 11 kills, 12 digs and 25 assists.
    It was Bober’s second triple-double in as many nights, as she also had one (by intermission) during a three-set sweep of Drake one night earlier.
    Here are the only known matches in MVC history where two or more teammates had a triple-double:
Two Triple Doubles on Same Team, Same Match
    No.    Team    Date
    3    Northern Iowa    9/14/85
    2    Wichita State    9/15/89
    2    Bradley    9/25/99
    2    Northern Iowa    11/20/99
    2    Missouri State    11/24/06
    2    Creighton    9/17/11
    2    Northern Iowa    10/28/11

Triple-Double Threat
In Creighton's season-opener vs. UTSA on Aug. 26th, Megan Bober had the program's first triple-double since 2001 when she finished with 11 kills, 14 digs and 51 assists.
    She became the first player in school history with two triple-doubles in the same season on Sept. 16 vs. Drake, when she had 12 kills, 18 digs and 20 assists. Incredibly, she had a triple-double by the intermission after the second set. The triple-double was the first at home by a CU player since Melissa Weisensee in 1994.
    One evening later Bober had a triple-double for the third time this fall vs. UAB, when she had 11 kills, 12 digs and 25 assists.
    Bober had her fourth triple-double of the fall on Oct. 14 vs. Bradley, finishing with 13 kills, 35 assists and 10 digs.
    Bober’s fifth triple-double came vs. Southern Illinois on Oct. 21st, when she finished with 19 kills, 28 assists and 11 digs in a 3-2 win.
    Her sixth triple-double came vs. Illinois State on Oct. 29th, when she had 19 kills, 33 assists and 12 digs in a 3-2 win.
    Bober had her seventh triple-double on Nov. 4 vs. Wichita State, when she had 10 kills, 27 assists and 18 digs in a 3-2 win.
    Bober’s most recent triple-double came on Nov. 12 at Bradley, when she had 12 kills, 31 assists and 12 digs in a 3-2 loss.
    In addition to those eight triple-doubles, she’s had eight other matches with at least eight digs, eight kills and eight assists in the same contest.

Triple-Double Fun
Junior Megan Bober has eight triple-doubles this fall, the first Bluejay ever with more than one in a single-season. Her eight career triple-doubles are twice as many as the previous the school-record of four by Kailey Reyes from 1998-2001.
Creighton Triple-Doubles
Melissa Weisensee
1) 40a-19d-10k vs. Illinois State (4s)    9/10/94
2) 65a-22d-12k at Evansville (5s)    11/9/97

JoDe Cieloha
1) 15k-10d-12b at Bradley (3s)    9/9/95
2) 22k-15d-12b at Western Illinois (5s)    11/10/96

Kailey Reyes
1) 62a-21d-10k at Indiana State (5s)    10/16/98
2) 47a-11d-11k at Wichita State (5s)    10/9/99
3) 71a-17d-13k at Indiana State (5s)    10/14/00
4) 48a-11d-11k at UMKC (4s)    10/28/01

Megan Bober
1) 51a-14d-11k vs. UTSA (5s)    8/26/11
2) 20a-18d-12k vs. Drake (3s)    9/16/11
3) 25a-12d-11k vs. UAB (4s)    9/17/11
4) 35a-10d-13k vs. Bradley (4s)    10/14/11
5) 28a-11d-19k vs. Southern Illinois (5s)    10/21/11
6) 33a-12d-19k at Illinois State (5s)    10/29/11
7) 27a-18d-10k vs. Wichita State (5s)    11/4/11
8) 31a-12d-12k at Bradley (5s)    11/12/11

Michelle Sicner
1) 22a-17d-11k vs. UAB (4s)    9/17/11

D.J. Sokol Arena Records Fall
Numerous D.J. Sokol Arena single-season and career records were rewritten this fall.
    Julianne Mandolfo now owns single-season and career records for both digs and digs per set mark in the facility.
    Megan Bober set the D.J. Sokol Arena record for double-doubles in a season with eight, one more than Allie Oelke’s previous record.
    Additionally, Laurel Sanford set the career record for career kills in the facility in her final home match.
Digs, Season, D.J. Sokol Arena
        Name    Sets    No.    Year
    1.    Julianne Mandolfo    51    326    2011
    2.    Nayka Benitez    51    257    2009
    3.    Julianne Mandolfo    50    236    2010

Digs Per Set, Season, D.J. Sokol Arena (Min. 30 sets)
        Name    Sets    No.    Avg.    Year
    1.    Julianne Mandolfo    51    326    6.39    2011
    2.    Nayka Benitez    51    257    5.04    2009
    3.    Julianne Mandolfo    50    236    4.72    2010

Digs, Career, D.J. Sokol Arena
        Name    Sets    No.    Years
    1.    Julianne Mandolfo    101    562    2010-Pr.
    2.    Nayka Benitez    101    488    2009-10
    3.    Allie Oelke    101    402    2009-10
    4.    Megan Bober    152    335    2009-Pr.
    5.    Brooke Boggs    135    290    2009-Pr.

Digs Per Set, Career, D.J. Sokol Arena (Min. 350 Digs)
        Name    Sets    No.    Avg.    Years
    1.    Julianne Mandolfo    101    562    5.56    2010-Pr.
    2.    Nayka Benitez    101    488    4.83    2009-10
    3.    Allie Oelke    101    402    3.98    2009-10

Double-Doubles, Season, D.J. Sokol Arena
        Name    D-D    Year
    1.    Megan Bober    8    2011
    2.    Allie Oelke    7    2009
    3.    Allie Oelke    6    2010

Kills, Career, D.J. Sokol Arena
        Name    Sets    No.    Years
    1.    Laurel Sanford    138    330    2009-Pr.
    2.    Alicia Runge    101    318    2009-10
    3.    Allie Oelke    101    264    2009-10
    4.    Megan Bober    152    262    2009-Pr.
    5.    Karisa Almgren    114    215    2009-Pr.

Volley In The Valley
Five teams have clinched a spot in the MVC Tournament, but Drake, Bradley and Indiana State are still fighting for the sixth spot. Here’s a look at some unofficial seeding possibilities.
    UNI has clinched the top seed.
    Missouri State clinches the two seed with a win (at Indiana State, at Illinois State) or a Wichita State loss (at Illinois State, at Indiana State). If MSU loses twice and WSU wins twice, it is likely that WSU will be the second seed.
    It's likely Wichita State will be the third seed (unless Missouri State falls from above).  If WSU and Creighton tie for third then it is likely that WSU will be the third seed. CU can only be the third seed if it beats Drake and WSU loses at both Illinois State and Indiana State.
    Creighton is going to be the fourth seed, unless the Jays win at Drake and Wichita loses at both Illinois State and Indiana State, in which case the Shockers would be the fourth seed.
    Illinois State has clinched the fifth seed.
    The fight for the sixth seed is quite complicated. If Indiana State wins at either Missouri State or Wichita State, they're the sixth seed.
    If Drake beats Creighton, they're the sixth seed, as long as Indiana State goes 0-2 and Bradley doesn't go 2-0 (at both Southern Illinois and Evansville).
    If Bradley wins at both Southern Illinois and Evansville and Indiana State loses at both Wichita State and Missouri State, then Bradley is the sixth seed as long as Creighton beats Drake.
    If there's a three-way tie for sixth place (Bradley wins at Southern Illinois and at Evansville; Drake beats Creighton, and Indiana State loses at both Wichita State and at Missouri State), it's tough to determine, but preliminary indications are that it might favor Bradley (as long as Evansville doesn't beat Northern Iowa).

Bracket Madness
The State Farm MVC Tournament will begin next Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) in Cedar Falls. A tourney schedule is below:
Thursday, Nov. 24
3 seed vs. 6 seed    5 pm
4 seed vs. Illinois State    7:30 pm
Friday, Nov. 25
2 seed vs. 3/6 winner    5 pm
UNI vs. 4/5/ winner    7:30 pm
Saturday, Nov. 26
Final    6:37 pm

More McNary
Speaking of Leah McNary, the Florida native’s 16 kills vs. Illinois State on Sept. 30 were the most by a Bluejay freshman since Allie Oelke had 19 kills vs. Southern Illinois in the 2007 MVC Tournament.
    McNary is currently averaging 2.05 kills per set. If she maintains that pace, she will be the 14th Bluejay freshman in school history to average at least 2.00 kills per set.
Most Kills Per Set, Creighton Freshman
(min. 100 kills)
    KPS    Name    Year
    3.75    Melissa Walsh    1998
    3.39    JoDe Cieloha    1994
    3.29    Allie Oelke    2007
    2.85    Amanda Cvejdlik    2005
    2.84    Jessica Houts    2005
    2.72    Kelly Goc    2004
    2.70    Carolyn Decker    2004
    2.44    Shelly Kapler    1996
    2.44    Rachelle Von    1997
    2.33    Erin Swanson    1998
    2.17    Leah Ratzlaff    2002
    2.08    Shannon Scrutton    1996
    2.05    Leah McNary    2011
    2.05    Michelle Prorock    1994
On A Roll
Creighton’s 5-0 start in MVC play this season marked the third time in the last six years the Jays started 5-0 or better. CU also started 5-0 in 2006, and had a program-best 7-0 start in 2007.

You Got Served
Freshman Michelle Sicner is fifth in the MVC with 0.29 aces per set.
    She tied a D.J. Sokol Arena record with seven aces on Sept. 17 vs. McNeese State. That performance featured five aces in a six-point span, including four in a row, during the third set.
    After no aces in Creighton’s first seven contests of the season, she has 28 aces in CU’s last 22 matches.

Sicner Joins 20/20 Club
Michelle Sicner became just the fifth player in Creighton history to have 20 or more digs and 20 or more assists in the same contest when she did that on Sept. 30 vs. Illinois State.
    Sicner, who finished with 27 assists and 20 digs, joined Melissa Weisensee and Brittany Coleman as the only freshman in CU history to have a 20/20 match.
20 Assists, 20 Digs In A Match
A    D    Name    Opp.    Date
27    20    M. Sicner    Illinois State (4s)    09/30/11
71    20    K. Lebeda    at Evansville (5s)    11/18/06
62    21    B. Coleman    at So. Illinois (4s)    10/29/04
54    22    B. Coleman    at Illinois State (4s)    10/18/03
45    20    K. Reyes    vs. Evansville (4s)    11/24/00
64    23    K. Reyes    at Evansville (5s)    11/04/00
44    23    K. Reyes    Bradley (4s)    10/28/00
49    28    K. Reyes    at Illinois State (4s)    10/13/00
40    21    K. Reyes    Missouri State (4s)    11/06/99
65    24    K. Reyes    Illinois State (4s)    09/24/99
55    28    K. Reyes    Evansville (5s)    09/11/99
65    22    M. Weisensee    at Evansville (5s)    11/08/97
46    21    M. Weisensee    Missouri State (4s)    10/31/97
46    38    M. Weisensee    Evansville (4s)    10/10/97
40    23    M. Weisensee    at Drake (5s)    09/13/97
53    24    M. Weisensee    at Indiana St. (5s)    10/18/96
51    21    M. Weisensee    at Wichita St. (5s)    09/14/96
47    22    M. Weisensee    Bradley (4s)    09/09/94

Sanford Stuffing
Senior MB Laurel Sanford had a career-high 13 blocks in the win over Southern Illinois on Oct. 21, tying the most by any player in the MVC this season. Her previous career-high of 12 had also come against Southern Illinois back in 2009.
    Her 13 blocks rank fourth-most in CU history for a match.
    Sanford is the only player in Creighton history with five career matches of 10 or more blocks.
Matches With 10+ Blocks, Career
    10+B    Name    Years
    5    Laurel Sanford    2008-Pres.
    4    Ashley Williams    2001-04
    4    Jessica Houts    2006-09
    3    JoDe Cieloha    1994-97

History At The Midway Point
Creighton reached the midpoint of the MVC slate with a 6-3 record. The Jays owned a winning record at the turn for the fifth time in six seasons.
League Record by Year
Year    1st Half    2nd Half    MVC place
2011    6-3    5-3    ? ? ?
2010    7-2    6-3    3rd
2009    4-5    6-3    T-4th
2008    7-2    8-1    2nd
2007    7-2    7-2    T-2nd
2006    7-2    5-4    4th
2005    4-5    6-3    5th
2004    5-4    5-4    5th
2003    5-4    4-5    T-5th
2002    1-8    1-8    T-9th
2001    7-2    5-4    4th
2000    5-4    5-4    T-4th
1999    5-4    4-5    5th
1998    2-7    3-6    8th
1997    6-3    4-5    T-3rd
1996    2-7    3-6    T-6th
1995    3-7    3-7    T-7th
1994    2-8    1-9    T-9th
Total    85-79    81-82    --
    .518    .497

Secret Weapon
Freshman OH Leah McNary has averaged 2.05 kills per set in CU’s last 22 matches. After Creighton started 2-5 without McNary, the Jays are 14-8 since her debut.
    McNary was named MVC Freshman of the Week for her performance on Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

Nifty 250
Since its 1994 reinstatement, Creighton owns 250 wins in program history, compared to 266 losses. Kirsten Bernthal Booth owns 157 of the wins. CU’s win vs. Wichita State on Nov. 4 was the 250th win.

Good To Be Home
Creighton is 20-3 in its last 23 MVC matches at D.J. Sokol Arena, with two losses coming to Northern Iowa and one other to Missouri State.
    All-time, CU is 22-5 in regular-season Valley matches at D.J. Sokol Arena, but 0-3 against Northern Iowa.

Defensive Difference-Maker
Sophomore L Julianne Mandolfo earned MVC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career on Oct. 3 after averaging 7.86 digs per set in two wins.
    Mandolfo had 28 digs in a four-set win over Illinois State on Sept. 30, then dug 27 balls in a three-set win over Indiana State on Oct. 1.
    The 27 digs against the Sycamores ranks as second-most in CU history for a three-set match.
    She earned the honor for the second time on Oct. 17 after averaging 6.86 digs and 0.29 aces per set in matches vs. Bradley and UNI last week.
Thorson’s Thunder
Junior MB Heather Thorson had two of the best matches of her career on Sept. 23-24, helping Creighton to road wins at Evansville and Southern Illinois. She tied her career-high with 12 kills in a win at Evansville while also hitting a season-best .500 in 22 swings, adding four blocks.
    Thorson came out one day later and set another career-high in kills, this time finishing with 15 kills on .342 hitting in a 3-1 victory at SIU. She also had a season-high six blocks, including a solo stuff in the fourth set with the score tied at 25.
    Thorson dominated both teams in Omaha as well. She had 13 kills and four blocks vs. SIU on Oct. 21, then had 14 kills on .636 hitting one day later vs. Evansville.
    For the season, Thorson hit .568 while averaging 4.33 kills and 1.00 blocks per set vs. Evansville, and hit .303 while averaging 3.11 kills and 1.11 blocks per set vs. SIU.

Duo Honored as MVC Player of the Week
Creighton had two players earn MVC recognition when the league handed out its weekly awards on Oct. 24th.
    Megan Bober was named MVC Player of the Week for the third time in her career, while Laurel Sanford was tabbed MVC Defensive Player of the Week for the fourth time in her career.
    Bober hit .500 in 46 swings and averaged 3.25 kills, 6.38 assists, 2.38 digs and 0.62 blocks per set. She had her fifth career triple-double on Friday in a 3-2 win over Southern Illinois.
    Sanford averaged 2.25 blocks, 1.62 kills and 0.75 digs per set in two wins, including a career-high 13 blocks in the win over Southern Illinois.

More Service Please
Creighton’s 13 aces against McNeese State were second-most in school history for a three-set match. It was also a D.J. Sokol Arena team record for a contest of any length.

Sicner Earns Another Freshman Award
Creighton Volleyball's Michelle Sicner was named Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Week for the second time in three weeks on Sept. 26th after helping Creighton complete an unbeaten road swing at Evansville (3-0) and Southern Illinois (3-1), averaging 6.00 assists, 2.86 digs, 1.14 blocks and 1.29 kills per set last week.
    Sicner opened her week with her by nearly posting her second straight triple-double, finishing with 20 assists, 12 digs and eight kills in a three-set win at Evansville. Sicner also hit .368 in the contest and added a team-best five blocks.
    In the Sept. 24th four-set win at Southern Illinois, Sicner had 22 assists, eight digs, three blocks and three aces.
    The Millard North product was previously honored as MVC Freshman of the Week on Sept. 12.

All-Tourney Combo
Sophomore Julianne Mandolfo and senior Laurel Sanford both earned a spot on the Creighton Classic All-Tournament Team on Sept. 16-17. Mandolfo averaged 6.80 digs per set and had four different sets in which she owned 10 or more digs. Sanford averaged 2.90 kills and 0.90 blocks per set while also hitting a team-best .339 in three matches. It’s the third all-Tourney honor in four events this fall for Sanford, but the first all-Tourney accolade of Mandolfo’s career.

Reasons For Success
Creighton owns a 57-24 home record in regular-season MVC matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
    Before losing to Missouri State on Nov. 5th, the Jays had won 29 straight at home against teams picked below them in the preseason MVC poll (since a 2007 loss to Missouri State). The Jays are now 47-3 under Booth in such home scenarios, with two of those losses to MSU.
    In matches not against the power trio of Northern Iowa (1-8), Missouri State (2-7) and Wichita State (5-4), Creighton's home MVC record under Booth improves to 49-5.
Early Tests Pay Big Dividends
For the fifth straight season, Creighton entered MVC play with an overall record at the .500 mark or worse, as it was 4-6 this season before MVC play.
    The willingness of Creighton to test itself early has paid dividends when conference play rolls around. During this five year stretch, Creighton is 18-26 (.409) in matches before league play starts, but 63-26 (.708) in Valley action. The Jays 63 Valley wins in that time trail only UNI (79), Wichita State (74) and Missouri State (64) league-wide.
Year    W-L Entering MVC    MVC W-L    Finish
2003    2-7    9-9    T-5th
2004    7-1    10-8    5th
2005    5-4    10-8    5th
2006    8-1    12-6    4th
2007    4-4    14-4    T-2nd
2008    3-4    15-3    2nd
2009    2-7    10-8    T-4th
2010    5-5    13-5    3rd
2011    4-6    11-6    ?
Total    40-39    104-57
Preseason MVC Poll
Creighton was picked third in a preseason poll of Missouri Valley Conference coaches. Defending regular-season champion Northern Iowa was the unanimous pick to win the league, with Wichita State second. Creighton is third, Missouri State fourth and Illinois State fifth. Rounding out the rest of the league was Drake, Evansville, Southern Illinois, Indiana State and Bradley.
    In addition, Megan Bober was named preseason all-MVC.
    Each of the past eight years Creighton has finished in the spot predicted of them or better in the preseason poll.
Year    Preseason Pick    Finish    Move
1994    11th    9th    #2
1995    9th    7th    #2
1996    9th    6th    #3
1997    8th    3rd    #5
1998    6th    8th    i2
1999    T-7th    5th    #2
2000    4th    T-4th    - -
2001    2nd    4th    i2
2002    7th    9th    i2
2003    9th    T-5th    #4
2004    5th    5th    - -
2005    5th    5th    - -
2006    4th    4th    - -
2007    3rd    T-2nd    #1
2008    3rd    2nd    #1
2009    4th    T-4th    - -
2010    4th    3rd    #1
2011    3rd    ???    ???

All-Tourney Duo
Creighton had two players named to the All-Tournament Team at the Ameritas Players Challenge (Sept. 8-10), Michelle Sicner and Laurel Sanford.
    Sicner averaged 3.44 assists, 2.00 kills, 0.67 aces, 1.67 digs and 1.11 blocks per set in three matches over the weekend, hitting .205 in 44 swings. Her 10 overall blocks led the team, while her six aces, 31 assists and 18 kills were second-most on the Bluejay squad. Sicner was also named MVC Freshman of the Week for her efforts.
    Sanford averaged 1.89 kills and 1.00 blocks per set while hitting a robust .381 overall. She had nine kills and five blocks while hitting .500 in the Jays win over Saint Mary's on Saturday morning that clinched the second-place finish. This was the second career all-tournament selection for the senior from Eagan, Minn., joining the all-Tourney accolade she won at the season-opening Texas A&M Invitational.

Defensive Display
Creighton owns just 12 home matches in the last seven years in which it has 90 digs or more, but the Jays have reached that figure in each of Illinois State’s last seven trips to town, including Sept. 30 in the Redbirds’ annual trip to Omaha.
    Since 2005, Creighton has averaged 24.21 digs in those 29 sets played in Omaha against Illinois State. At all sites, Creighton has 1,352 digs in 63 sets versus the Redbirds since 2005 (21.46 dps.).
    Including this year’s 92 digs vs. the Redbirds, Creighton’s season-high for digs at home has come against Illinois State in five of the last six seasons.
Illinois State at Creighton, Last Seven Years
Date    Sets    CU Digs    ISU Digs
09/30/11    4    92    79
10/30/10    4    90    93
10/23/09    4    92    88
11/08/08    4    106    102
09/28/07    4    114    108
10/28/06    4    111    92
10/21/05    5    97    95

Most Creighton Digs, Home Matches, Since 2005
    Digs    Opponent    Date    CU Result
    114    Illinois State    09/28/07    W 3-1
    111    Illinois State    10/28/06    W 3-1
    106    Illinois State    11/08/08    W 3-1
    103    Northern Iowa    09/17/05    L 1-3
    101    Iowa    09/02/06    L 2-3
    97    Illinois State    10/21/05    L 2-3
    94    Missouri State    10/08/10    W 3-2
    94    Wichita State    11/04/11    W 3-2
    92    Illinois State    10/23/09    W 3-1
    92    Illinois State    09/30/11    W 3-1
    91    #25 Wichita State    10/02/09    W 3-1
    90    Illinois State    10/30/10    W 3-1

Setting Them Straight
Creighton started two players with setting skills in its Sept. 3 nightcap against Marquette, as both Michelle Sicner and Megan Bober were in the starting six.
    Bober finished with 10 assists, nine digs and eight kills while starting a match as an outside hitter for the first time at the collegiate level.
    Sicner, who was the setter on the first few points of the match, finished with a team-best 18 assists. It was the first time in Bober’s 71-match career that she did not lead Creighton in assists.
    In the 24 matches with Creighton using a 6-2 offense, Bober leads the team with 220 kills (2.50 kps.) and 548 assists (6.23 aps.), while Sicner owns 87 kills (1.00 kps.) and is second with 425 assists (4.89 aps.).

Bober Named MVC Player of the Week
After posting two triple-doubles in three matches at the Creighton Classic (Sept. 16-17), Bluejay junior Megan Bober was named the Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Player of the Week on Sept. 19.
    It was the second time she's been honored by the MVC with Player of the Week accolades, having also earned similar recognition on Oct. 4, 2010.
    For the week, the all-Valley setter averaged 2.80 kills, 6.90 assists, 0.40 aces, 3.5 digs and 0.40 blocks per set while hitting at a .280 rate.
    Bober also claimed Prairie Farms/MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week for her week. The Exercise Science major owns a 3.791 GPA in the classroom.

Two Of A Kind
Michelle Sicner had a solid all-around match in Creighton’s Sept. 9 victory over Weber State, finishing with 11 assists, five kills, four aces, four blocks and two digs.
    Since Creighton Volleyball was reinstated in 1994, the only other player reached all of those minimums (or better) in the same match was Melissa Weisensee vs. Evansville on Nov. 2, 1996. Weisensee had 80 assists (still a CU record), five kills, four aces, five blocks and 14 digs.

Stepping Up
Veteran leaders Karisa Almgren and Heather Thorson each had a big match vs. UTSA to open the regular-season.
    Almgren tied her career-high with 14 kills, while Thorson’s 11 kills were one shy of her career-best at the time.
    Creighton is 14-5 all-time when Almgren has nine or more kills in a match and 13-2 when Thorson reaches that figure.

Taking The Fifth
Creighton is 28-16 in five-set matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, including a 4-2 mark this season. That’s impressive since Creighton had never finished a season with a winning record in fifth sets prior to Booth’s arrival.
    Below is a list of Creighton’s record in five-set matches on a yearly basis:
Year    Set 5 W-L    Total W-L
1994    0-2    5-20
1995    0-2    11-19
1996    2-6    9-19
1997    3-5    15-13
1998    2-3    7-18
1999    3-3    13-15
2000    3-3    16-12
2001    1-1    14-13
2002    1-3    3-23
2003    5-1    12-18
2004    4-0    18-11
2005    3-1    16-14
2006    4-2    21-10
2007    2-0    21-10
2008    2-3    18-9
2009    1-4    14-17
2010    3-3    21-12
2011    4-2    16-13
Total    43-44    250-266

Milestone Match For Booth
Creighton’s Sept. 8 match at Nebraska was Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s 250th match at Creighton, and moved her record to 143-107 (.572).
    She now owns a 157-114 (.579) mark to date in nine years, compared to the program’s 93-152 (.380) record in 245 matches during the nine seasons prior to her arrival.

Just In Time
Creighton Volleyball faced a 14-12 fifth-set deficit against preseason Southland Conference favorite UTSA in its Aug. 26 season-opener, only to rally for a 16-14 set victory to win the match.
    Creighton has now won five matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth after surviving an opponent’s match point. On the other hand, Creighton is 157-1 under Booth when it reaches a match point opportunity, falling only when it wasted two match points on Sept. 4, 2010 to Iowa in an eventual 20-18 fifth set loss.
Surviving Match Points, Under Booth
Date    Opponent    MP(s) Faced    Final Set 5
08/26/11    vs. UTSA    12-14, 13-14    16-14
09/11/07    at Drake    13-14, 14-15    17-15
10/13/06    at Wichita State    12-14, 13-14, 14-15    17-15
10/10/03    Wichita State    13-14    16-14
08/30/03    vs. McNeese State    13-14, 15-16    18-16

Production Returning
Creighton returns 11-of-16 letterwinners from last season. Below is a breakdown of the production that returns:
Stat    Returners    Departures
Assists    1415 (91.2%)     137 (8.8%)
Aces    89 (56.3%)    69 (43.7%)
Digs    1264 (53.8%)    1085 (46.2%)
Matches Started    140 (70.7%)    58 (29.3%)
Blocks    230.5 (78.7%)    62.5 (21.3%)
Points    1234.5 (58.0%)    892.5 (42.0%)
Kills    915 (54.6%)    761 (45.4%)

Set 1 Result = Match Result
In its last 141 matches in which it wins set one, Creighton is 128-13. CU is 135-17 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when they win set one. In that same time span, CU is just 22-97 under Booth when it drops the first set.

2-0 Better Than 0-2
Creighton is 161-8 (.953) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 102-2 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. They own a 75-4 all-time mark in home matches they lead 2-0 in.
    Conversely, the Jays are 6-170 (.034) all-time when trailing a match 0-2, including an 0-58 mark in those home matches. Those six comebacks from down 0-2 are listed below:
Date    Opponent    Sets 3-5 scores    Coach
09/19/97    at Bradley    15-11, 15-13, 15-8    Wallace
10/01/99    at Drake    15-6, 17-15, 15-11    Wallace
09/03/04    vs. Montana    30-20, 30-21, 15-11    Booth
10/15/04    at Bradley    30-22, 30-23, 15-11    Booth
10/15/05    at So. Illinois    30-25, 30-24, 15-8    Booth
09/21/07    at No. Iowa    31-29, 30-26, 15-12    Booth

Last Year Summary
Creighton had its most successful year in program history, tying a school-record with 21 wins while also reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
    Megan Bober was named first-team all-MVC and honorable-mention All-American after averaging 10.26 assists, 1.95 digs, 1.48 kills and 0.92 blocks per set. Named second-team all-Valley were Laurel Sanford (2.47 kps., 1.10 bps.) and Alicia Runge (3.73 kps.). In addition, Julianne Mandolfo (4.28 dps.) was named to the MVC’s All-Freshman Team.
    Creighton ranked second nationally with 18.94 digs per set a season ago and was also top-60 in kills per set and blocks per set.

AVCA Honors CU Volleyball For Academics
The Creighton volleyball program was honored by the American Volleyball Coaches Association as a recipient of the 2011 AVCA Team Academic Award. Creighton previously won the award in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 are one of seven Division I schools nationwide to win the award in eight consecutive campaigns.
    The award honors teams that displayed excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA. Last spring the Bluejay volleyball team posted a combined GPA of 3.45.

Radio Broadcast Information
Brad Burwell and former Bluejay volleyball player Erin Swanson will broadcast at least 24 matches (14 home,  10 away) this season. The matches will air on KOIL (1180 AM) and KKAR (1290 AM) and be webcast on-line at www.gocreighton.com as well.
    The pre-match show starts approximately 5-15 minutes before first serve. The post-match show also lasts about 15 minutes and includes post-match interviews.
    A complete list of remaining matches follows:
2011 Volleyball Broadcast Schedule
Nov. 19    at Drake (KOIL)
Nov. 24-26  at MVC Tournament (KOIL)

Creighton Ticket Information
Tickets to Creighton’s home regular-season matches could be purchased at the Creighton Ticket Office located inside the Ryan Athletic Center (19th and Webster) as well as all Ticketmaster outlets.
    Cost was $8 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 3-18) for reserved seats and $7 (adult) and $4 (youth) for general admission seating. Children two and under were admitted free. 
    Creighton sold a school-record 890 season tickets for volleyball this year. Single-match tickets went on sale Aug. 29th.

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