Oct. 20 7:00 pm Creighton at Drake (1290 AM) Des Moines, Iowa (Drake Knapp Center)
Creighton Volleyball (17-3, 8-1 MVC) starts the second half of Missouri Valley Conference play with just one match this weekend.
The Bluejays will travel west on I-80 to take on Drake (3-17, 2-7 MVC) in a 7 pm match on Saturday. That contest will be held at Drake Knapp Center (7,152) in Des Moines, Iowa.
Saturday’s match at Drake can be heard on KOIL (1290 AM), with Brad Burwell and Rob Anderson on the call.
The contest will also be streamed free of charge on the internet at www.mighty1290koil.com and clicking on the Listen Live button.
Creighton’s match at Drake will be video webcast by Drake and be available for purchase on GoDrakeBulldogs.com. Subscribers to Creighton’s video webcast package (JaysVideo) will have the match added at no additional charge.
Live Stats Information
Saturday’s match will have free live stats. Visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Stats graphic at the top of the page for the exact link.
Live stats from all Creighton home events are also available on your mobile phone by clicking on www.gocreightonstats.com.
Creighton (17-3, 8-1 MVC) continued its best 20-match start in the program’s modern history with 3-0 victories at Illinois State and Indiana State last weekend. That stretched Creighton’s win streak to five, which includes a 3-1 win over UNI on Oct. 5th that snapped the Panthers 59-match MVC win streak and vaulted the Jays into a tie for first place.
Creighton’s has beaten six different NCAA Tournament qualifiers from a year ago (Tulsa, Northern Colorado, Ball State, Wichita State, Missouri State, Northern Iowa), and its only losses have come to Kansas State, Kansas and Southern Illinois.
Two-time First-Team All-MVC pick Megan Bober (9.55 aps., 2.93 dps., 1.76 kps., 0.93 bps., .309%) was named Tournament MVP at the USF Invitational and All-Tournament at Northern Colorado. She was the lone Bluejay to earn Preseason All-MVC accolades this fall, has started all 115 matches in a Creighton uniform, and is the team’s active leader in assists, blocks, digs, kills and aces.
Creighton’s leading attackers have been sophomores Leah McNary (2.92 kps., .239%) and Kelli Browning (2.77 kps., 1.69 bps., .380%). McNary owns 10 or more kills in eight of CU’s last 12 matches, while Browning tied an MVC record with 15 block assists vs. Tulsa (Sept. 8th) and ranks second in the nation in blocking.
Creighton’s freshman class is also making an impact, as Kate Elman (4.78 dps.), Ashley Jansen (2.51 dps.), Melanie Jereb (2.34 kps., 2.72 dps.) and Lizzy Stivers (0.20 saps.) own 55 of the team’s 99 aces thus far.
As a team, Creighton averages 13.28 kills, 1.34 aces, 16.86 digs and 3.11 blocks per set while hitting .251.
Drake is 3-17 on the season and tied for eighth in the MVC with a 2-7 league mark. The Bulldogs are 2-0 in five-set matches, but 1-16 in contests that last just three or four sets.
Bentley Mancini paces Drake with 2.60 kills per set to lead the Bulldogs. Jadranka Tramosljanin averages 2.15 kills per set, 3.62 digs per set and a league-best 0.42 aces per set.
Freshman Cassie Effken (2.07 kps., 1.12 bps.), a Lincoln product, paces the team in blocks.
Halli Meyer (5.28 aps.) and Rebecca Brown (4.07 aps.) share setting duties, while Sarah Madden (5.47 dps.) ranks among the MVC’s top liberos and had 45 digs in Monday’s loss at North Dakota State.
Drake averages 11.32 kills, 1.25 aces, 16.31 digs and 1.90 blocks per set while hitting .130 as a team.
The Bulldogs returned just one starter (and its libero) from a team that finished 9-23 a year ago and were picked to finish 10th in the MVC.
Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 175-118 record in her 10th 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. She was named the 2010 CVU.com National Coach of the Year after leading Creighton to the second round during its first NCAA Tournament appearance.
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 second season as a head coach, owning a 12-40 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 and Rob Batzler.
Series History vs. Drake
Creighton owns a 24-15 record in 39 all-time meetings with Drake, including a 10-8 mark in Des Moines. The Bluejays have won 17 of the last 20 meetings in the series overall.
Creighton has won 11 straight meetings in Omaha, but are just 3-3 in its last six trips to Des Moines. Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 18-3 against Drake and 3-0 versus head coach Tony Sunga.
Last Weekend Summary
Creighton went on the road and swept both Illinois State and Indiana State to improve to 17-3. Heather Thorson and Leah McNary both had 17 kills on the weekend, whiel CU’s defense was led by 33 digs from Kate Elman.
Site Makes The Difference
The Creighton-Drake series has been played with heavy home-court advantage in recent seasons. Creighton has won 21 straight sets at home against the Bulldogs, but has won just 8-of-18 sets in Des Moines in that same span, splitting four matches.
Since Nov. 1, 2005, the team to win the first set has won 13 of the past 14 meetings between Drake and Creighton, including all six matches played in Des Moines.
Racking Up The Wins
Creighton’s 17-3 start is the program’s best in its modern history after 20 contests, two wins better than the 2006 club that started 15-5.
Only five of Creighton’s 19 teams since its 1994 reinstatement have won 18 matches or more, with the 2006, 2007 and 2010 teams each winning 21 contests.
Creighton has reached the midpoint of league play with an 8-1 record, the school’s best mark at the turn ever. Five Bluejay teams previously had started 7-2, most recently in the 2010 season that saw the Jays reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Creighton has matched or exceeded its first half Valley record in four of the previous five seasons during the second half of league play, going 6-3 or better each of those seasons.
Race To Midpoint = Regular Season Champ?
Since the inclusion of women’s sports under the Valley umbrella in 1992, teams that have reached the midpoint of the season with at least a share of first-place have gone on to claim at least a share of the regular-season championship in 18 of 19 seasons. The lone exception was the 1996 Drake team that started the season 9-0, finished in second place at 16-2, a game behind Illinois State (17-1).
Currently, Creighton and UNI are the midpoint leaders at 8-1. The Panthers have been the leader/co-leader at the midpoint 11 previous times, and each time UNI has won the regular-season title. Creighton has never previously been the leader at the midpoint of the league race.
Since 1992, no team has captured the MVC conference race with more than two league losses.
Creighton’s 8-1 start is the best in program history for MVC play. In the last 14 years, 18-of-22 teams to start 8-1 or better in league play have gone on to reach the NCAA Tournament.
In those same 14 seasons, teams that were in first place at the turn reached the NCAA in 15-of-17 scenarios.
Road Win Milestone Within Reach
Since its 1994 reinstatement, Creighton owns 99 wins in 231 road matches. A victory at Drake would mark win No. 100.
Creighton owns 10 wins all-time at Drake, tied for fourth among any site. CU’s most road wins have come at Indiana State, where it’s won 14 times.
Creighton has won five straight matches heading into Saturday’s contest at Drake. That figure is one shy of this season’s longest win streak, and tied for fifth-longest in the program’s modern history. The longest streak came in 2008 and was eight in a row.
Wins Dates Snapped By
8 Oct. 25-Nov. 22, 2008 vs. Northern Iowa, 3-2
7 Sept. 4-Sept. 17, 2004 Illinois State, 3-0
6 Sept. 21-Oct. 6, 2007 Wichita State, 3-0
6 Sept. 1-15, 2012 at Kansas, 3-2
5 Sept. 24-Oct. 2, 1999 at Missouri State, 3-0
5 Nov. 4-19, 2005 at Northern Iowa, 3-0
5 Aug. 25-Sept. 2, 2006 Iowa, 3-2
5 Sept. 9-16, 2006 at South Dakota St., 3-1
5 Oct. 26-Nov. 9, 2007 at #24 Wichita State, 3-1
5 Sept. 25-Oct. 9, 2010 at Drake, 3-1
5 Nov. 13-26, 2010 at #11 Northern Iowa, 3-1
5 Oct. 21-Nov. 4, 2011 Missouri State, 3-1
5 Sept. 29, 2012-Pres. ? ? ?
Heading in Opposite Directions
Creighton leads the Missouri Valley Conference by limiting the opposition to .147 hitting this season. Saturday’s opponent, Drake, ranks last in the MVC by hitting just 130.
Only three teams have hit .200 or better against Creighton this year, and none have hit better than .215.
Drake has never hit .200 or better in 21 meetings against Kirsten Bernthal Booth teams, last doing so against the Jays on Nov. 15, 2002 versus a team led by Howard Wallace.
CU is on pace to limit the opposition below .200 for the seventh straight campaign.
Triple Up Megan Bober had a triple-double in both meetings with Drake last season. She had 20 assists, 18 digs and 12 kills on Sept. 16 in Omaha, then had 36 assists, 14 digs and 11 kills on Nov. 19 in Des Moines.
Bober is the only player in program history to have multiple triple-doubles against the same program twice in the same season, having also done it last year vs. Bradley as well.
Bober’s triple-double vs. Drake last September made her just the second player in school history to earn a triple-double in a three-set match, joining JoDe Cieloha’s 15-kill, 10-dig, 12-block showing at Bradley on Sept. 9, 1995.
In this year’s first meeting, Bober had 31 assists, seven kills and six digs in a 3-0 sweep of the Bulldogs.
Talented Prep Team
Two of Drake’s top freshmen, Scarlett Howerter and Cassie Effken, hail from Lincoln, Neb. Both Howerter and Effken were high school teammates of Creighton MB Lauren Smith at Pius X. The MVC also boasts two other Pius X products, as Bradley’s Lea Sack and Allie Falter also went to school there.
Another Drake freshman, Shelby Daum, hails from Battle Creek, Neb.
Only two freshmen in the Missouri Valley Conference are averaging at least 2.25 kills and 2.25 digs per set thus far, Creighton’s Melanie Jereb (2.34 kps., 2.72 dps.) and Illinois State’s Ashley Rosch (3.04 kps., 3.09 dps.).
A year ago at this time, Jereb and Rosch were prep teammates at Cary-Grove (Ill.) High School, part of a team that was state runner-up and also won the 2010 and 2011 AAU Junior National Championships at the club level.
Vote For CU!
Creighton received a pair of top-25 votes in the Aug. 27 AVCA poll. This was the first time in program history the team has received such recognition in the regular-season, as its only previous votes had come following the 2010 NCAA Tournament, when it received three points in the poll.
On Sept. 10th, Creighton reached new heights when it was voted into a tie for 36th place, earning seven votes.
The rise of the Jays continued on Sept. 17th, as Creighton is up to 32nd place with a best-ever total of 34 points in the poll.
On Sept. 24th, the Jays were in 33rd place, earning 14 votes.
Creighton did not receive any votes on October 1st, but regrouped last week with two more votes to tie for 37th place. This week the Jays earned 22 votes, good for 32nd place, which matches its best mark ever.
Creighton in the AVCA Poll, All-Time
Date Votes Received Rank
12/21/10 3 36th
08/27/12 2 T-38th
09/10/12 7 T-36th
09/17/12 34 32nd
09/24/12 14 33rd
10/08/12 2 T-37th
10/15/12 22 32nd
History Repeats Itself
Creighton’s 3-1 win over Northern Iowa on Oct. 5 snapped UNI’s remarkable 59-match win streak in MVC play, the second-longest streak in Valley history and 16th longest streak against league opponents in NCAA history.
The Panthers hadn’t lost a regular-season Valley contest since falling to Creighton on Nov. 21, 2008.
Reversing Another Trend
Creighton’s win on Oct. 5 that snapped UNI’s 59-match regular-season Valley win streak came after the Panthers won the opening set, 25-22.
Before that match, UNI had won its last 74 Valley matches after winning the opening set dating to September 21, 2007. On that magical night, Creighton became the first team to ever overcome an 0-2 deficit in Cedar Falls to beat UNI.
Since the start of 2004, UNI had been 110-1 in regular-season MVC matches when leading a match 1-0 prior to that evening.
Error-Free Volleyball Melanie Jereb combined for 18 kills in 72 swings on Oct. 5-6, and most remarkably, did it without a single attack error.
It was part of Jereb’s remarkable streak of 139 straight attack attempts without an error, ranging from a miscue midway through the first set on Sept. 29 at Evansville until midway through the third set at Illinois State on Oct. 12th.
In her last 10 contests, Jereb owns 94 kills and just 12 attack errors in 330 swings.
Key to Creighton’s success this season is its ability to reduce the amount of errors it has made in all facets of the game.
Creighton has just 308 attack errors in 74 sets this season (4.16), compared to 509 attack errors by its opponents.
When it comes to serve reception, the Jays have been aced just 75 times in 74 sets (1.01).
At the service line, Creighton has just 134 service errors (1.81) and has had more errors than aces in just one of its past six matches.
By comparison, last season’s Bluejay team averaged 5.10 attack errors, 1.14 reception errors and 1.82 service errors per set in a 17-14 season. In those same categories, the 2010 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament averaged 4.90 attack errors, 0.88 reception errors and 1.94 service errors per set in a 21-12 season.
Triple-Double Triple Play Megan Bober had a triple-double in both meetings with Bradley last season, then had one again this season against the Braves on Oct. 6.
Last year she had 35 assists, 10 digs and 13 kills on Oct. 14 in Omaha, then had 31 assists, 12 digs and 12 kills on Nov. 12 in Peoria. This year Bober had 14 kills, 30 assists and 13 digs in Omaha.
Bober is the only player in program history to have multiple triple-doubles against the same program twice in the same season, having also done it last year vs. Drake as well.
Triple-Double, No Errors Megan Bober had one of her most remarkable triple-doubles on Oct. 6 vs. Bradley, finishing with 14 kills, 30 assists and 13 digs.
Her 14 kills were the most by a Bluejay setting in a 5-1 system in program history.
Remarkably, she tied a career-high by hitting .636 in the match, as she finished without an error in 22 swings.
Bober’s .636 hitting is tied for seventh-best in CU history for a single-match (minimum 12 kills) and was the best mark ever by a player who recorded a triple-double, eclipsing the .625 by Kailey Reyes at UMKC on Oct. 28, 2001.
It was also the best mark in CU history by any player for a four-set match.
Gutting It Out
Creighton is off to a 17-3 start this season, with seven of those 17 wins being three-set sweeps. Creighton is 7-1 in three-set matches, 9-1 in four-set matches and 1-1 in five-set matches this year.
Creighton’s 3-0 win at Illinois State on Oct. 12 as the first time in 41 meetings that CU swept the Redbirds.
Sophomore MB Kelli Browning ranks second in the nation with 1.69 blocks per set, and continues to do much of her damage away from home.
In 11 matches away from home this season, Browning averages 1.83 blocks per set and CU averages 3.44 blocks per set as a team.
By comparison, in nine home matches, Browning averages 1.53 blocks per set and CU averages 2.72 blocks per set as a team.
Jays Have Duo Honored
A pair of Creighton players were honored on Oct. 8 with weekly awards from the Missouri Valley Conference for their work in victories over Northern Iowa and Bradley. Megan Bober was named MVC Player of the Week, while Kate Elman was honored as MVC Freshman of the Week.
Bober hit .475 and averaged a triple-double (32.5 assists, 11.0 kills and 13.5 digs) in the two victories. She led the Jays in kills per set (2.75) and assists per set (8.12) while also providing 3.38 digs, 0.75 blocks and 0.38 aces per set. She opened her week with 35 assists, 14 digs, eight kills, three aces and two blocks in CU’s 3-1 win over Northern Iowa, snapping the Panthers’ 59-match win streak in regular-season league play.
Bober closed her weekend with 14 kills, 30 assists and 13 digs for her 11th career triple-double, a figure that ranks second in MVC history. She also added four block assists and hit .636 in the match, the seventh-best mark in CU history. Bober had 11 kills in 14 swings and seven digs by intermission, earning the triple-double early in the third set. Bober’s 14 kills and 30 assists both led the team in the match.
It was Bober’s second Valley honor of the fall, and her fifth career MVC Player of the Week accolade, which is tied for fourth-most in league history.
Elman averaged 5.38 digs, 0.88 assists and 0.38 aces per set as Creighton limited Northern Iowa and Bradley to combined .144 hitting in a pair of four-set victories. Elman had 25 digs and four assists in Creighton’s 3-1 win over Northern Iowa, snapping UNI’s 59-match regular-season win streak in league play. With Elman spearheading the Bluejay defense, CU held UNI to .136 hitting in the match, its second-lowest mark in 44 meetings. One night later, Elman had 18 digs and tied her career-high with three aces in another 3-1 win.
This was the second MVC Freshman of the Week honor for Elman, who owns 10 or more digs in all 18 matches this season.
First of Many?
Just a sophomore, MB Kelli Browning has torn up the MVC this year and is quickly approaching several school records for both a single-season and a career.
Browning is currently hitting at a .380 clip this season and a .331 mark for her career. Creighton’s single-season record stands at .368 by Kelly Goc in 2007. Goc also owns the career mark of .296.
Browning’s 1.69 blocks per set this year is also on pace to shatter a Creighton mark for a single-season, easily outpacing the current mark of 1.48 blocks per set by Ashley Williams in 2003.
For those wondering, the last MVC player to average 1.70 blocks per set in a season was Missouri State’s Sabrina Apker in 2005. The only MVC player to finish a year hitting .393 or better was Wichita State’s Elizabeth Meyers, also in 2005.
Sophomore Kelli Browning has had five or more blocks in 15 of CU’s 20 matches this year, including six of the past seven. Her recent streak of six straight matches with five or more blocks was tied for the third-longest streak in program history.
Consecutive Matches, 5 or More Blocks
9 Jessica Houts (Oct. 15-Nov. 19, 2005)
7 Laurel Sanford (Oct. 29-Nov. 24, 2011)
6 Melissa Walsh (Sept. 27-Oct. 16, 1998)
6 Jessica Houts (Sept. 1-10, 2006)
6 Kelli Browning (Sept. 25-Oct. 12, 2012)
5 Ashley Williams (Oct. 3-11, 2003)
5 Laurel Sanford (Oct. 16-30, 2009)
Speaking of Streaks... Kate Elman has an impressive streak of her own going on, having recorded 10 or more digs in all 20 matches this season. That is the fourth-longest streak in Bluejay history.
Consecutive Matches, 10 or More Digs
43 Janeen Piller, Oct. 10, 2003-Nov. 26, 2004
27 Bianca Rivera, Aug. 24-Nov. 9, 2007
23 Julianne Mandolfo, Sept. 9-Nov. 24, 2011
20 Kate Elman, Aug. 24, 2012 - Present
19 Bianca Rivera, Sept. 20-Nov. 28, 2008
Approaching The Midway Mark
Last weekend wrapped up the first half of the MVC schedule for Creighton. The Jays current 8-1 record gives the team a winning record at the turn for the ninth time in 10 seasons under Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
League Record by Year
Year 1st Half 2nd Half MVC place
1994 2-8 1-9 T-9th
1995 3-7 3-7 T-7th
1996 2-7 3-6 T-6th
1997 6-3 4-5 T-3rd
1998 2-7 3-6 8th
1999 5-4 4-5 5th
2000 5-4 5-4 T-4th
2001 7-2 5-4 4th
2002 1-8 1-8 T-9th
2003 5-4 4-5 T-5th
2004 5-4 5-4 5th
2005 4-5 6-3 5th
2006 7-2 5-4 4th
2007 7-2 7-2 T-2nd
2008 7-2 8-1 2nd
2009 4-5 6-3 T-4th
2010 7-2 6-3 3rd
2011 6-3 6-3 4th
2012 8-1 ? ? ? ? ? ?
Total 93-80 82-82 --
Creighton hosted a near-capacity crowd of 2,325 fans on Oct. 5 against Northern Iowa, boosting CU’s season average to 1,160 home fans per match. The figure marks the second-largest volleyball crowd in D.J. Sokol Arena history, and was the program’s fifth-largest ever.
That ranks 34th-best nationally this season, and is on pace to be Creighton’s best in any season that hasn’t involved a match at CenturyLink Center Omaha.
Jereb Named MVC Freshman of the Week Melanie Jereb was named MVC Freshman of the Week on Oct. 1st after averaging 2.67 kills, 2.92 digs and 1.00 bocks per set while hitting .304 in three matches. During the week, she had 32 kills and just four attack errors in 92 swings.
She opened her week with 15 digs, four kills and two blocks in a 3-1 win over South Dakota. She then had a double-double in her first career MVC road match, hitting .300 while finishing with 10 kills, 12 digs, four blocks and an ace at Southern Illinois.
Jereb closed out her weekend with 18 kills, eight digs, six blocks and an ace on .349 hitting in a 3-1 win at Evansville. Jereb’s 18 kills were a career-high and the most by a Bluejay freshman against an MVC foe since Allie Oelke in 2007.
This was Jereb’s second weekly honor of the season, also winning the same award on Sept. 17th.
Home Sweet Home
Creighton owns a 36-15 (.706) all-time record in D.J. Sokol Arena, which opened in 2009. Seven of those 15 losses have come against ranked teams. The Jays are a perfect 5-0 in five-set matches in the building.
The Jays have been at their best in the facility during MVC play, where CU is 27-5 (.844). Northern Iowa owns three of those wins, while Missouri State can claim the other two. Against the other seven MVC rivals, Creighton is a perfect 24-0 at D.J. Sokol Arena in Valley action.
Creighton went 9-3 this September, one win shy of the school-record for victories in any month. Creighton’s 2006 team went 10-3 in September.
Creighton is 53-31 under Kirsten Bernthal Booth in October matches, including a 17-5 mark since October 1, 2010, and 4-0 this year.
Let’s Hear It For The Sophomores
Creighton’s sophomore class earned 41 of Creighton’s 56 kills in its Sept. 25th win over South Dakota. Leah McNary had 20 kills, while classmate Kelli Browning chipped in with a career-best 18 kills. In addition, Michelle Sicner had three kills in the victory.
For the season, CU’s sophomores (which also includes Katie Neisler and Savannah Smith) has been responsible for 497 of the team’s 983 kills (50.6 percent).
Jack Of All Trades
Watch Megan Bober play and it’s obvious her importance to Creighton. The senior setter and two-time All-Valley pick leads all active Bluejay players in kills (724), assists (3864), aces (74), digs (969) and blocks (367).
Bober already ranks in the top-10 in CU history in assists and blocks, and has a solid chance to finish in the top-10 in aces and digs as well.
Nov. 9 Start Time Changed
Creighton has changed the start time for its Nov. 9 match vs. Indiana State. The Jays and Sycamores will now begin at 5 pm Central at D.J. Sokol Arena.
The move was made to avoid going head-to-head with Creighton men’s basketball’s regular-season opener vs. North Texas, which begins at 7 pm at CenturyLink Center Omaha.
Update After 20
Creighton’s 17-3 start is the program’s best record after 20 matches. The previous best had been 15-5 after 20 matches in 2006.
Creighton’s most wins with four losses was 15 (also in 2006), while its most wins with five losses was also 15 (in 2006).
Top 30 RKPI
Monday marked the sixth rankings from the Rich Kern Percentage Index, a ranking system developed by RichKern.com that mimics the official NCAA RPI. Thanks in part to five wins over top-75 foes (Wisconsin, Tulsa, Northern Colorado, Wichita State, Northern Iowa), the Jays are 29th in this week’s RKPI.
Kansas State and Kansas, the first two teams to beat CU this fall, are ninth and 13th, respectively, while Southern Illinois is No. 76.
CU’s schedule is ranked as the No. 71st-toughest nationally.
Drake is No. 231 in the RKPI rankings.
2-0 Better Than 0-2
Creighton is 173-8 (.956) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 115-2 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. They own an 82-4 all-time mark in home matches they lead 2-0 in.
Conversely, the Jays are 6-171 (.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
Freshman Digging Pipeline
Creighton had two freshmen with 20 or more digs on Sept. 19th, as both Kate Elman (21) and Melanie Jereb (20) reached that plateau at Kansas. Believe it or not, it’s the first time since the program’s 1994 reinstatement that two Bluejay freshmen have had 20 or more digs in the same match.
Let’s take a look at how Creighton’s start in 2012 compares to the past two seasons, as well as the aforementioned 2006 club’s first 20 matches.
Creighton has already matched its win total from all of 2011.
Stat 2012 2011 2010 2006*
W-L Thru 20 17-3 11-9 13-7 15-5
Final W-L ? 17-14 21-12 21-10
Tourney Titles 2 0 0 2
Kills/Set 13.28 12.85 13.16 16.46
Hitting % .251 .202 .212 .210
Aces/Set 1.34 1.28 1.24 1.61
Digs/Set 16.86 17.23 18.29 17.67
Blocks/Set 3.11 2.50 2.47 2.64
*sets played to 30 (instead of current 25)
Creighton’s Megan Bober is one of 30 student-athletes who excel both on and off the court and were announced as candidates for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate volleyball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of candidates follows this release.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Bober has started all 113 Creighton matches in the past four seasons and joined Northern Iowa’s Amy Braun as the only MVC representatives on this year’s list.
Bober ranks second in league history with 11 triple-doubles, and is currently averaging 1.76 kills, 9.55 assists, 2.93 digs and 0.93 blocks per set for a Bluejay team that is 17-3. In the classroom Bober maintains a 3.83 GPA while studying exercise science and is a four-time MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week selection.
Six of Creighton’s wins this year have come against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams in Ball State, Tulsa, Northern Colorado, Missouri State, Wichita State and Northern Iowa.
The Jays are now 6-1 against NCAA Tournament teams from 2011. That matches the program record for wins against NCAA qualifiers, as the 2008 squad that was 6-8 vs. 2007 NCAA qualifiers.
Year W-L vs. Previous Season NCAA Teams
TOTAL Under Booth 29-59
Freshman Melanie Jereb had double-doubles in wins vs. both Missouri State (15 kills, 10 digs) and Wichita State (14 kills, 12 digs) on Sept. 14-15, making her the league’s only outside hitter to start with two double-doubles in league play in 2012.
The last Creighton freshman to open her Valley career with consecutive double-doubles was Allie Oelke in 2007, who remains the only player in CU history to be named MVC Freshman of the Year.
Jereb A Past MVC Freshman of the Week Melanie Jereb averaged 3.22 kills, 2.44 digs and 0.89 blocks per set while hitting .338 in wins vs. Missouri State (3-2) and Wichita State (3-1) to earn her MVC Freshman of the Week award on Sept. 17th. She also handled 46 serve receptions without an error, 24 of which the Jays converted directly into a kill.
Jereb recorded her first two collegiate double-doubles in the wins, finishing with 15 kills and 10 digs vs. MSU and 14 kills and 12 digs vs. WSU. Jereb’s 15 kills against Missouri State were a career-high, as were her seven blocks. She served the final three points in CU’s opening set victory, and would end up the match-clinching kill in the fifth set as well. Against the Shockers, Jereb had kills on the final three points of a 25-19 set one victory. She would serve a 4-0 run that gave the Jays a 20-16 lead in the third set and help CU to a 2-1 lead in the match.
Air McNary Leah McNary had a career-best 21 kills in the Sept. 15 win over Wichita State, five more than her previous high.
McNary had seven matches of 10 or more kills a year ago, and has now done it 12 times already this season.
The sophomore from Florida currently owns 10 or more kills in eight of CU’s last 12 contests.
McNary’s 21 kills made her the first Bluejay with 20 or more kills since Laurel Sanford had 20 on Nov. 20, 2010 vs. Southern Illinois, and were the most since Alicia Runge had 21 kills at Wichita State on Nov. 5, 2010.
McNary is also the first player since Runge in 2010 with two contests of 20 or more kills in the same season.
Hundred in Hand
Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth owns 175 wins at the helm of the Bluejays.
That’s 107 more than the previous record held by Howard Wallace, who went 68-94 as head coach from 1997-2002.
Booth surpassed Wallace as the program’s winningest coach on Aug. 25, 2007.
Booth’s win total has come in 10 years and is made even more impressive when you consider the program won 92 games total from 1994-2002.
Working On The Weekend
Picked fourth in the preseason MVC poll, Creighton turned heads with wins over Missouri State (picked second) and Wichita State (picked third) during the first weekend of league play.
It’s just the third time ever that CU has toppled the Bears and Shockers on the same weekend, having also done so in 1997 and in 2010.
This season is also the first time in program history that the Jays have beaten MSU, WSU and UNI in the same campaign.
Creighton tied a school-record by recording 21 blocks in its Sept. 8 win over Tulsa. CU’s 38 block assists matched the high previous set on Sept. 4, 2009 vs. Lipscomb, while its 21 total blocks matched the team’s performance on Sept. 19, 2003 vs. Southern Illinois.
In addition, sophomore MB Kelli Browning set a CU record and tied an MVC record with 15 block assists in a single match. Browning is the fourth player in league history with 15 block assists in a single contest.
Browning Honored By MVC
Sophomore Kelli Browning was named MVC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 10 after a huge weekend in Colorado. A middle blocker from Waukesha, Wis., Browning earned All-Tournament Team honors at the Northern Colorado Classic after hitting .362 and averaging 2.80 kills, 2.60 blocks and 0.30 aces per set in wins over three NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago.
Browning opened her weekend with a then-career-best eight blocks in a 3-0 win over Ball State, adding four kills an ace, and a dig.
In Saturday (Sept. 8) morning’s match vs. Tulsa, Browning had 11 kills on .276 hitting while adding an ace and a dig. She also tied an MVC record with 15 block assists in a match, easily eclipsing her personal best from one day earlier. Nine of her blocks came against All-American Tyler Henderson, the nation’s leader in kills in 2010 who was forced into 15 attack errors in the match.
Browning closed her weekend with 13 kills, three blocks and .571 hitting against Northern Colorado in a sweep that clinched the Northern Colorado Classic title.
In addition to her MVC record 15 blocks vs. Tulsa on Sept. 8, sophomore Kelli Browning also recorded 11 kills for her first career double-double.
Browning then had her second career double-dip on Sept. 14 vs. Missouri State when she had 16 kills and 11 blocks. Browning had her third double-double at Kansas on Sept. 19, finishing with 15 kills and 11 blocks.
Browning finished her freshman season with 54 kills and 33 blocks in 21 matches played, but already owns 205 kills and 125 blocks after 20 matches in 2012.
Browning owns three matches this season with 10 or more blocks. The only CU player with more than that in one season is Ashley Williams (4 in 2003).
NCAA Stats Are Out
The sixth edition of the NCAA Volleyball statistics was released on October 15th, and Creighton is all over those figures.
Creighton is ranked seventh in blocks per set (3.11), 17th in winning percentage (.850), 36th in hitting percentage (.251), 44th in digs per set (16.86), 96th in service aces per set (1.34) and 97th in kills per set (13.28).
Individually, sophomore Kelli Browning is second in the country in blocks per set (1.69) and is 34th in hitting percentage (.380). Kate Elman ranks 74th with 4.78 digs per set.
Titles x 2
Creighton won the USF Invitational and the Northern Colorado Classic in non-conference play this fall. This is the second time in school history the Jays have won multiple tournaments in the same season, having also done so in 2006 in the team’s last 10-2 start.
MVC Opener Histories
With its Sept. 14 win vs. Missouri State, Creighton improved to 12-7 all-time in Missouri Valley Conference openers, including seven straight wins and a 9-1 record under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. Only Wichita State (9) has a longer active streak of league-opening victories.
In the 11 previous seasons that Creighton has won its MVC opener, it has never finished worse than 9-9 in league play and owns a combined .636 (126-72) winning percentage in MVC action.
In the seven years in which Creighton has lost its MVC opener, the Jays have had a losing record five times and own a combined .315 (41-89) winning percentage during league contests.
How Do You Win The MVC? Start 1-0
When conference play started, all 10 Missouri Valley Conference schools harbored dreams of a regular-season league title.
Since the beginning of the Gateway Conference (which later merged to form the Missouri Valley Conference in 1992) in 1983, no school has ever won the regular-season title after dropping its first league match of the season.
Taking it a step further, the 2008 Missouri State team is the only club to win the MVC Tournament after starting 0-1 in league play.
The only teams to win their 2012 MVC opener were Creighton, Illinois State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois and Wichita State.
Home Losses Are Also Devastating
The 2006 Northern Iowa and 2007 Wichita State teams are the only programs in MVC history to lose a home conference match and still win the regular-season title outright in that same season.
It’s also worth noting that 17 of the last 18 regular-season MVC champions finished the year with one regular-season league loss or fewer. The exception was that 2006 UNI team that was 16-2, with both losses coming against Wichita State.
Bradley, Drake, Evansville, Illinois State, Indiana State and Missouri State have already lost MVC home matches this fall.
Triple-Double, With A Twist Megan Bober moved into second-place on the MVC’s all-time list when she earned her 11th career triple-double on Oct. 2nd with 14 kills, 30 assists and 13 digs in a win vs. Bradley.
Earlier in the year on Sept. 8th, Bober had 34 assists, 15 digs and 11 blocks vs. Tulsa to become the first Jays player in history to have at least 10 assists and 10 blocks in any match, as Bober’s previous high had been nine blocks.
Besides her two triple-doubles this season, Bober owns seven other matches where she owned a assist-dig double-double and had between seven and nine kills.
Last fall Bober led the nation with nine triple-doubles.
Elman Passes 300 Digs
Freshman libero Kate Elman continues her strong play in the back row, as she reached 100 career digs in just six matches to equal the quickest to that milestone in Bluejay history. Bianca Rivera had 106 digs through six contests during the 2007 campaign.
Elman currently owns 354 digs through 20 matches, good for 4.78 digs per set, and is one of three women in the MVC to have 10 or more digs in every match this season.
Elman is the only freshman in that grouping, which also includes Ashley Mason (Missouri State) and Bailey Yeager (Southern Illinois).
Elman’s 20 straight matches with 10 or more digs is the second-longest such career-opening streak in Bluejay history, as Rivera had 27 straight to begin her career in 2007.
Elman went over 200 career digs in her 13th match, which is tied for second-fastest in CU history. Rivera needed just 11 matches, while Nayka Benitez also took 13 contests to get there.
Elman surpassed 300 career digs in her 17th career match, second-quickest in program history. Rivera needed 15 matches to set the record.
This is the 10th straight season that Creighton Volleyball has at least one product of Omaha Marian High School on the roster, as freshmen Kate Elman and Ashley Jansen have joined the program.
Interestingly, the Jays had never had a volleyball player from Marian between 1994-2002. Here’s a look at Creighton’s pipeline of players from Marian.
2012: Kate Elman, Ashley Jansen
2011: Julianne Mandolfo
2010: Lisa Greisch, Julianne Mandolfo
2009: Lisa Greisch
2008: Emily Crowley, Korie Lebeda
2007: Korie Lebeda, Katie Mehal
2006: Korie Lebeda, Katie Mehal, Emily Greisch
2005: Korie Lebeda, Katie Mehal
2004: Katie Mehal, Emily Greisch
2003: Emily Greisch
Freshmen Serve It Up
Four of Creighton’s six most common servers are freshmen, so it should come as little surprise that the Jays own 55 of their 99 aces so far from their highly-regarded freshman class consisting of Melanie Jereb, Ashley Jansen, Kate Elman and Lizzy Stivers Elman leads CU with 20 aces, while Jansen and Jereb are tied for third with 12 service winners.
Creighton is off to an 17-3 start, including eight wins over the MVC, two each versus the Big East and Conference USA, and one victory each over the Big Ten, Summit League, MAC, WAC and Big Sky.
Included is victories over the defending regular-season and tournament champions from Conference USA (Tulsa), Big Sky Conference (Northern Colorado) and Missouri Valley Conference (Northern Iowa).
Title Town Once Again
Creighton made its first trip to the state of Florida a memorable one, winning the USF Invitational with victories over UCF (3-1), USF (3-0) and Wisconsin (3-1) on Aug. 24-25.
The title was the program’s first since winning the Blue Raider Bash in 2006, and school’s eighth tournament title all-time.
The Jays made it two titles in three weeks with the Northern Colorado Classic crown on Sept. 7-8.
It marks the second time in CU history that the Jays have won two tournaments in the same fall, having also done so in 2006.
Honors Roll In
Creighton had three players honored for their play in the USF Invitational to open the season. Kate Elman was named MVC Freshman of the Week after leading all MVC freshmen by averaging 5.09 digs. Elman also served up three aces and had 14 assists.
Sophomore Michelle Sicner averaged 1.91 kills and 1.45 blocks per set while hitting a healthy .386 in the three victories. She had 10 kills on .643 hitting in the Saturday win vs. USF.
Michelle Bober was named USF Invitational MVP after averaging 8.73 assists, 3.09 digs, 2.18 kills and 0.64 blocks per set while hitting .408. Bober was also named MVC Player of the Week, MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week and CVU.com National Player of the Week.
Bober Passes Century Mark Megan Bober has started all 115 matches since the beginning of the 2009 season, helping CU to 69 wins in that span.
Bober is the fourth player in Bluejay history to make 115 or more starts, a group that includes Allie Oelke (120), Korie Lebeda (119) and Jessica Houts (119).
Bober is seventh in CU history for matches played.
Bober Starts 3,500-350-350 Club Megan Bober owns 3,864 assists, 724 kills and 367 blocks in her fine career, making her the Creighton first player with at least 3,500 assists, 350 kills and 350 blocks.
The only other player even close to Bober’s totals is Korie Lebeda, who finished her career with 5,281 assists, 411 kills and 278 blocks.
Creighton continues to lead all MVC teams in blocking, averaging 3.11 stuffs per set. The Jays have three players averaging more than 0.93 blocks per frame (Heather Thorson, Megan Bober and Kelli Browning), the MVC’s only school that can claim that. Creighton has out-blocked foes 230.0 - 112.5 thus far, and been out-blocked in just one match all season (Kansas State).
Preseason MVC Poll
Creighton was picked fourth in a preseason poll of Missouri Valley Conference coaches. Defending regular-season champion Northern Iowa was the unanimous pick to win the league, with Missouri State second and Wichita State third. Creighton is fourth and Illinois State fifth. Rounding out the rest of the league was Southern Illinois, Bradley, Indiana State, Evansville and Drake.
In addition, Megan Bober was named preseason all-MVC. She joins Wichita State’s Emily Adney as the lone players to repeat on last year’s preseason All-Valley list.
Creighton has finished in the spot predicted of them or better in the preseason poll in eight of the past nine years.
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 4th i1
2012 4th ??? ???
New Opportunity at Libero Kate Elman has been the lone libero used by Creighton so far. She’s the first freshman in school history to make her debut wearing the libero jersey.
Since the libero became legal in 2002, the Jays have used multiple liberos in a season just three times (2005, 2006, 2010), and only used 11 different players in that role (Janeen Piller, Molly Lahr, Emily Greisch, Brittany Coleman, Mallory Lahm, Katie Mehal, Sarah Schulze, Bianca Rivera, Nayka Benitez, Julianne Mandolfo, Kate Elman).
Taking The Fifth
Creighton is 30-17 in five-set matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, including a 5-2 mark last year and a 1-1 mark this year. 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 5-2 17-14
2012 1-1 17-3
Total 45-45 268-270
Survival of the Fittest
Creighton has won five matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth after surviving an opponent’s match point. On the other hand, Creighton is 175-1 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
08/30/03 vs. McNeese State 13-14, 15-16 18-16
10/10/03 Wichita State 13-14 16-14
10/13/06 at Wichita State 12-14, 13-14, 14-15 17-15
09/11/07 at Drake 13-14, 14-15 17-15
08/26/11 vs. UTSA 12-14, 13-14 16-14
Creighton returns 9-of-14 letterwinners from last season. Below is a breakdown of the production that returns:
Stat Returners Departures
Assists 1287 (92.6%) 103 (7.4%)
Matches Started 142 (76.3%) 44 (23.7%)
Blocks 289 (63.6%) 108 (36.4%)
Kills 987 (66.2%) 505 (33.8%)
Points 1262.0 (65.7%) 659.0 (34.3%)
Aces 86 (65.2%) 46 (34.8%)
Digs 1186 (58.8%) 830 (41.2%)
Set 1 Result = Match Result
In its last 156 matches in which it wins set one, Creighton is 143-13. CU is 150-17 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when they win set one. In that same time span, CU is just 25-101 under Booth when it drops the first set.
Radio Broadcast Information
Brad Burwell and former Bluejay volleyball player Erin Swanson will broadcast at least 22 matches (13 home and 9 away) this season.
The matches will air on KZOT (1180 AM) and KOIL (1290 AM) and be webcast online at 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:
2012 Volleyball Broadcast Schedule
Oct. 20 at Drake (KOIL)
Oct. 26 Evansville (KOIL)
Oct. 27 Southern Illinois (KOIL)
Nov. 2 at Bradley (KOIL)
Nov. 3 at Northern Iowa (KOIL)
Nov. 9 Indiana State (KZOT)
Nov. 10 Illinois State (KOIL)
Nov. 16 at Wichita State (KOIL)
Nov. 17 at Missouri State (KZOT)
Nov. 22-24 at MVC Tournament (KOIL)
Creighton Ticket Information
Tickets to Creighton’s home regular-season matches can be purchased at the Creighton Ticket Office located inside the Ryan Athletic Center (19th and Webster) as well as all Ticketmaster outlets.
Cost is $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 are admitted free.
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