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Creighton Volleyball looks for its first MVC Tournament title on Saturday vs. Wichita State.
Courtesy: Eric Francis

Volleyball Seeks First MVC Tourney Title Tonight vs. Shockers

Updated Creighton Notes

Saturday, November 24, 2012 – 7:05 pm Central

#21 Creighton (27-3) vs. Wichita State (22-8)

Springfield, Mo. – Hammons Student Center

Media Options
Television: FSN Midwest (Greg Halbleib, Linda Dollar)
Video Webcast: ESPN3 (where available…but not in NE, IA, IL, IN, MO or KS)
Radio: KOZN 1620 AM (Omaha) with Brad Burwell and Glen Sisk
Live Stats: http://www.gocreighton.com.

Reviewing Last Night
Top-seeded Creighton sealed its second MVC Tournament finals appearance in history with a 3-1 (25-21, 20-25, 25-19, 25-21) victory over fifth-seeded Illinois State. Leah McNary had 18 kills and Melanie Jereb added 15 putaways to lead the offense, while Katie Neisler topped the defense with a career-high 20 digs. Megan Bober was one kill away from tying a league record with her 16th career triple-double, finishing with 39 assists, 14 digs and nine kills. ISU was paced by 16 kills from Brooklyn Hlafka.

Series History vs. Wichita State

Creighton has an opportunity to even the all-time series with the Shockers with a victory on Saturday night.  Wichita State presently leads the series 21-20, but the Jays have taken four of the last five meetings, including a 3-1 over the Shockers in the 2010 MVC Semifinals.  Creighton and Wichita State have met two previous times in the MVC Tournament with each team winning once.  Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 9-13 against Wichita State, including a 6-1 mark in five-set matches.

MVC Tournament meetings with Wichita State:

Nov. 28, 2003: Wichita State 3, Creighton 1 (quarterfinals in Springfield, Mo.)

Nov. 26, 2010: Creighton 3, Wichita State 1 (semifinals in Cedar Falls, Iowa)

This Year vs. Wichita State

The Jays defeated the Shockers 3-1 in Omaha, Neb. on Sept. 15 and rallied from an 0-2 deficit to slip past Wichita State 3-2 on Nov. 17 in Wichita, Kan.  In the match on Nov. 17, Creighton not only came back from 0-2, but also trailed 13-10 and 14-13 in the fifth set before claiming it, 16-14.  Sophomore Leah McNary leads Creighton with 32 kills in two matches against the Shockers.  Creighton has outhit WSU, .213 to .164 , in the two meetings.

Creighton and Wichita State in the MVC Final

This is the second time in three seasons that the Jays have appeared in the MVC Tournament final.  Creighton fell to Northern Iowa, 3-1 (18-25, 19-25, 25-20, 20-25) in 2010.   The Shockers are 1-4 in their five previous MVC Finals.  Wichita State fell in 1991, 2005, 2009 and 2011 and claimed the championship in 2004.

Take It To The Max
Six of Creighton’s last nine wins vs. Wichita State have been five-set victories, including last Friday’s 3-2 thriller in Wichita. Creighton is 4-1 in five-set matches this season, including a 4-0 record against Valley schools. Creighton has won six matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth in which it has saved at least one match point, including last Friday. Three of those came against Wichita State, as CU also did it in 2003 and 2006 vs. the Shockers.

Double & Triple Up
Megan Bober
tied a Creighton single-season record with her 21st double-double of the season on Friday vs. Illinois State, as she finished with 39 assists and 14 digs. Had Bober recorded a kill in the fourth set (she had none), Bober would have earned her seventh triple-double of the fall and 16th of her career. The 16 career triple-doubles would have tied her with UNI great Bre Payton for the all-time MVC record in that category.

Three-peat x 2?

Creighton earned its third win of the fall over Illinois State in yesterday’s 3-1 win vs. the Redbirds, the first time Creighton accomplished the feat since besting Drake three times during the 2010 season. Creighton has never defeated two teams three times in one season.  The Jays will attempt to accomplish that against Wichita State on Saturday night.

With A Win…
With a win on Saturday, Creighton Volleyball would have the following streaks continued…

-Creighton would win its first MVC Tournament title in program history.
-Creighton would lock up its second NCAA Tournament bid in program history (also 2010).
-Creighton would improve to 28-3 on the season, extending its school-record for wins.

-Creighton would extend its school-record win streak to 16 in a row.

-Creighton would improve to 6-0 on neutral floors this season.

-Creighton would improve to 8-0 this November.

-Creighton would improve to 8-13 all-time in the MVC Tournament, including a 1-1 mark in the finals.

Against NCAA Teams?
Creighton is 9-1 this season against teams that made the 2011 NCAA Tournament, a category that Wichita State falls into. Creighton is 2-0 against Northern Iowa, Missouri State and Wichita State this fall, 1-0 against Ball State, Northern Colorado and Tulsa, and 0-1 versus Kansas.

Win The First One
Creighton is a perfect 22-0 this year when it wins the first set, improving to 158-17 under Kirsten Bernthal Booth in that scenario. On the other hand, CU is 27-101 when dropping the first set, including a 5-3 mark this year. Every MVC Tournament match (all 14) since 2010 has been won by the team to win the first set.

Title Town?
Creighton already is the reigning MVC Tournament champs for men’s soccer, baseball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. A win on Saturday would give it a fifth different sports trophy to add to the recent haul.

Unreal Success
Creighton Volleyball has won 15 in a row, while it’s men’s soccer team has won 11 in a row heading into Sunday’s Sweet 16 match at top-ranked Akron. In addition, Creighton’s men’s basketball team is 5-0 after last night’s 10-point win over Wisconsin, and Jim Flanery’s women’s basketball team is 2-1 heading into Sunday’s match-up with nationally-ranked Kansas. Since Sept. 28th, those four Creighton teams are an absurd 33-1-1.

Get Them A Reality Show Already
Creighton is no stranger to television this fall, as Saturday marks its fourth appearance on the small screen. Creighton beat South Dakota and Illinois State (both 3-1) and lost in five sets at Kansas.

Fun With Seeds
Creighton improved to 1-0 all-time as the No. 1 seed with yesterday’s 3-1 win vs. Illinois State.

The top seed at the MVC Volleyball Tournament has won nine straight matches and is 29-4 all-time, winning 13 of the first 17 tournaments. The last time a No. 1 seed lost in an MVC Tourney came in 2008, when Wichita State was upset in the semi’s by Missouri State.

The No. 1 seed is 13-2 all-time in the title match, while the No. 3 seed is 0-7 all-time. In six previous head-to-head meetings, the No. 1 seed is 6-0 against the No. 3 seed.

The No. 1 seed hasn’t faced the No. 2 seed in an MVC Tournament final since 2005, a streak that continued this year when Wichita State upset Northern Iowa in the semi’s.

Dig This!
Katie Neisler became the fourth different Bluejay with 20 or more digs in a match this season, when she had a career-high 20 digs last night vs. Illinois State. Kate Elman owns 20 or more digs 15 times this year, while Melanie Jereb, Brooke Boggs and now Neisler have done it once each. Incredibly, this was the first time in 61 career matches that Neisler led the Jays in digs for an entire match.

Make it 30 Straight For Kate
Freshman Kate Elman has recorded double-figure digs in every match of her career thus far, 30 in all. Elman and SIU’s Bailey Yeager are the only players in the MVC with 10 or more digs in every match this fall. Janeen Piller owns Creighton’s school-record with 43 straight matches of 10 or more digs from Oct. 10, 2003 – Nov. 26, 2004.

On A Roll
The first freshman in Creighton history to earn first-team all-MVC accolades, Melanie Jereb is showing no signs of hitting the proverbial freshman wall. Jereb owns 10 or more kills in each of CU’s last seven matches, and has just one match all season with more than three attack errors (4 vs. Tulsa). In two meetings with Wichita State this season, Jereb owns 24 kills, one error and 90 swings while also producing 20 digs.

My Favorite Floor
Leah McNary
has played three matches on the Hammons Student Center floor in her career, and excelled each time. McNary had 10 kills against MSU last year before torching the Bears for a career-best 23 kills last Friday. Last night, McNary had 18 kills to lead all players in a win vs. Illinois State.

Bober Seats Another Record
Megan Bober is expected to tie yet another school record on Saturday vs. Wichita State when she plays in her 126th career match. Bober will tie the mark originally held by Jessica Houts (2005-09). Bober already owns the record for starts (125), consecutive starts (125) and sets played (470).

15 In A Row!
Creighton’s 15-match win streak ranks tied for the seventh-longest active streak. The only schools with longer active streaks are Western Kentucky, Jackson State, LIU Brooklyn, Dayton, Hawaii and Texas, while Yale is also at 15 in a row. Prior to this current stretch, Creighton’s longest win streak in program history had been eight wins in a row.

Starting Experience Returns
Creighton returns three women who played in the 2010 MVC Tournament final, a 3-1 loss at Northern Iowa. Megan Bober had 41 assists and eight digs, Heather Thorson had eight kills and four blocks, while Brooke Boggs had 14 digs.

Worth Watching Later Tonight
After volleyball concludes, Valley fans can turn their attention to ESPNU for a 10 pm Central men’s basketball game in Las Vegas that pits Creighton’s No. 12/14-ranked men’s basketball team taking on Arizona State. Last night Creighton got 30 points from First Team All-American Doug McDermott to torch Wisconsin’s vaunted defense in an 84-74 win. The Creighton men’s basketball team is 5-0 this season, while Wichita State is 6-0 in men’s hoops. Last year Creighton won the MVC Tournament title after Wichita State won the league’s regular-season hoops title.

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