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Courtesy: Eric Miller

#21 Volleyball Faces #11 Minnesota For Sweet 16 Spot

Updated Creighton Notes

Saturday, December 1, 2012 – 6:00 pm Central

#21 Creighton (29-3) at #11 Minnesota (25-7)

Minneapolis, Minn. – Sports Pavilion

Media Options
Video Webcast: Link will be available on
Radio: KOIL 1290 AM (Omaha) with Brad Burwell and Glen Sisk
Live Stats: Link will be available on

Reviewing Last Night
Creighton Volleyball swept Marquette (25-22, 25-23, 28-26) to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years. Leah McNary led Creighton with 14 kills, while Kelli Browning had 12 kills on .600 hitting and added four blocks. The match featured 38 ties and 19 lead changes and was close throughout, as neither team led by more than five points all evening.

Series History vs. Minnesota

Minnesota leads the all-time series with Creighton by a 3-0 margin, with each of them being 3-0 sweeps. Two of the meetings took place at Sports Pavilion, including a 2010 NCAA Tournament Second Round match. Minnesota native Laurel Sanford led Creighton with 12 kills in that contest.

Sept. 15, 2007: Minnesota 3, Creighton 0 (in Minneapolis, Minn.)

Aug. 29, 2008: #16 Minnesota 3, Creighton 0 (in Omaha, Neb.)

Dec. 4, 2010: #12 Minnesota 3, Creighton 0 (in Minneapolis, Minn. in NCAA Tournament)

Career vs. Minnesota

Here’s how Creighton’s current roster has done in previous matches against Minnesota.
Name                  SP                  K                  E                  TA                  PCT.                  A                  SA                  DIG                  TB                  KPS                  DPS                  BPS                  APS

Bober                  3                  6                  1                  18                  .278                  31                  0                  6                  4                  2.00                  2.00                  1.33                  10.33

Boggs                  3                  0                  1                  1                  -1.000                  2                  0                  4                  0                  .00                  1.33                  .00                  .67

Thorson                  3                  8                  4                  19                  .211                  0                  0                  0                  2                  2.67                  .00                  .67                  .00

Against The Big Ten

Creighton is 3-19 all-time against current Big Ten members, but 1-0 this fall against Big Ten foes. The Jays beat Wisconsin in four sets on August 25th in Tampa, Fla., to win the USF Invitational. Creighton’s other victories over Big Ten squads came vs. Iowa (9/14/04 in Iowa City) and vs. Northwestern (9/7/00 in Honolulu).


Against Ranked Foes

Creighton is 2-47 all-time against ranked teams, including a 0-1 mark this fall (lost 3-0 to #21 Kansas State on Sept. 1st). Creighton has lost five straight matches versus ranked teams since defeating #16 Iowa State (3-2) on Dec. 3, 2010 in first round action of the NCAA Tournament in Minneapolis. Creighton’s other win vs. a ranked team came on Oct. 2, 2009 vs. #25 Wichita State (3-1).

                  Creighton is 0-3 all-time against teams ranked No. 11 all-time, and 0-24 all-time in true road matches against ranked foes.


Against NCAA Teams?
Creighton is 11-1 this season against teams that made the 2011 NCAA Tournament, a category that Minnesota falls into. Creighton is 3-0 against Wichita State, 2-0 against Missouri State and Northern Iowa, and 1-0 against Marquette, Ball State, Northern Colorado and Tulsa. The only loss came in five sets at Kansas.

                  Against teams that qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament, Creighton is currently 8-2, with wins over Wichita State (3), Northern Iowa (2), Northern Colorado (1), Marquette (1) and Tulsa (1). The losses came against Kansas and Kansas State.

Minnesota is 11-7 so far this year against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams.

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

-Creighton would improve to 3-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament action. That .750 win percentage would rank tied for third-best in NCAA Tournament history, trailing only Nebraska (85-27 after Friday), Stanford (99-26 after Friday) and be tied with UCLA (81-27 after Friday).
-Creighton would improve to 30-3 on the season, extending its school-record for wins.

-Creighton would extend its school-record win streak to 18 in a row.

-Creighton would improve to 18-2 away from home this season, including 11-2 in true road matches.

-Creighton would improve to 2-1 all-time in December.

-Creighton would reach its first Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament in program history.

-Creighton would improve to 3-47 all-time vs. ranked teams, including a 2-1 mark in the NCAA Tournament (with both wins at Sports Pavilion).

Double & Triple Up
Megan Bober
had 41 assists and 12 digs in yesterday’s win vs. Marquette, her Creighton single-season record 23rd double-double of the fall. Bober was four kills shy of 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.

Win The First One
Creighton is a perfect 24-0 this year when it wins the first set, improving to 160-17 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.

Last season Minnesota was eliminated by Iowa State from the NCAA Tournament despite a 25-18 first set win, falling in four.

Make it 32 Straight For Kate
Freshman Kate Elman has recorded double-figure digs in every match of her career thus far, 32 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.

17 In A Row!
Creighton’s 17-match win streak ranks tied for the fourth-longest active streak. Heading into Saturday, the only schools with longer active streaks are Western Kentucky (25), Hawaii (20) and Dayton (19). Prior to this current stretch, Creighton’s longest win streak in program history had been eight wins in a row.

Searching For 30

Creighton owns a league-high 29 wins this season and is the only team remaining from the MVC with a chance to win 30 matches in 2012. Believe it or not, the MVC has had one team win 30 or more matches in each of the past four seasons, as Wichita State (30-2 in 2008), Northern Iowa (30-2 in 2009, 30-3 in 2010 and 32-2 in 2011) have started that streak.


The Missouri Valley Conference went 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, as Creighton (3-0 over Marquette), Northern Iowa (3-0 over Kansas State) and Wichita State (3-2 over Arkansas) all won. This is the first time that the MVC has earned three NCAA Tournament victories in the same season, and just the third time that multiple Valley teams won in the same season (also 2006 and 2009).

                  In league history, the only teams to win back-to-back NCAA Tournament matches have been Northern Iowa (in 1999, 2001 and 2002). The Panthers defeated a Big Ten team in both 1999 (Indiana) and 2001 (Minnesota) to reach the round of 16.


That’s A Winner

Only four teams in the 2012 NCAA Tournament have won at least one match in every NCAA appearance it’s ever made. That list consists of Stanford, Florida, Texas and Creighton. Kirsten Bernthal Booth is now 2-0 in NCAA Tournament openers, and yesterday’s win snapped a five-match win streak in NCAA openers for Marquette coach Bond Shymansky.


A Chance For Revenge

Creighton returns three women who started in the NCAA Tournament loss to Minnesota in 2010. Megan Bober had 31 assists, six kills and six digs, Heather Thorson had eight kills and two blocks, while Brooke Boggs had four digs. Other active players on the 2010 team to suited up for the Jays that night include Brittany Moon, Natalie Hackbarth and Savannah Smith.


Blocking Towards A Record

Kelli Browning had four blocks on Friday night, giving her 184 block assists this season. That’s four shy of tying the MVC single-season mark set by Missouri State’s Sabrina Apker (2004), and third-best in Valley history. Browning owns four or more block assists in 25-of-33 matches this season.

                  Browning also owns 199 total blocks this season, a figure believed to be fourth-most in MVC history as well.

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 eight of CU’s last nine matches. Though she had “just” five kills on Friday vs. Marquette, Jereb did have 15 digs vs. the Golden Eagles. It was the first time in her career she’s led the Jays in digs.


Nation’s Most Improved Team?

Creighton owns 29 wins this season after going 17-14 a year ago. The 12-win increase is tied for third-biggest in the country this year, trailing only Central Arkansas (+13) and Loyola Chicago (+13). The last MVC team to increase its win total by 12 or more was Southern Illinois, which improved from 11-19 in 2001 to 23-10 in 2002.


Senior Leaders

Creighton’s senior group of Megan Bober, Brooke Boggs, Brittany Moon, Heather Thorson and Natalie Hackbarth (a junior who is graduating) have combined to go 81-46 in the past four years, including the program’s first two NCAA Tournament appearances, and the first MVC regular-season and tournament titles. The five women owned a combined GPA of 3.76 and own a collective 4,468 assists, 2,335 digs, 1,667 kills, 792 blocks and 160 aces to date.


High-Powered Offense Meets Strong Defense

Minnesota ranks fourth nationally, hitting .301 this season. On the other side of the net, the Creighton defense is holding foes to an MVC-best .144 this season. No team has hit better than .232 against the Bluejays all season, while only two teams (No. 4 Texas and No. 1 Penn State) have held the Gophers under .200 hitting all season long.

                  Under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, Creighton is 0-47 when opponents hit .250 or better, and Creighton hasn’t won such a match since Oct. 6, 2001 (at Southern Illinois).


Block Record Set

Creighton outblocked Marquette, 12-3, on Friday, continuing a season-long trend. The Jays have been outblocked just once all season long, and rank fifth nationally with 3.05 blocks per set. Creighton’s 366.0 blocks and 626 block assists are both single-season records.


Finishing Strong

The last time Creighton was in the NCAA Tournament, it was swept by Minnesota (25-19, 30-28, 25-20) in a match that featured 34 ties and 17 lead changes.  Creighton trailed 18-17 in the first set, had two set points in the second frame, and trailed 19-18 in the third set but could not close out a victory in any of them.

                  By comparison, last night’s match featured 38 ties and 19 lead changes vs. Marquette, but Creighton won 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 28-26). The Jays thrived late in sets yesterday, breaking free from 19-17 in the first set, a 22-all tie in the second set and surviving three Marquette set points in the final frame.

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