Creighton Volleyball’s 2012 season featured the program’s first MVC regular-season title, MVC Tournament title, and national ranking in a 29-4 fall for the ages that also included the team’s second NCAA Tournament victory in three years. Picked fourth in the MVC’s preseason poll after going 17-14 in 2011, Creighton didn’t waste any time making a favorable impression early in the fall. The Bluejays opened the season at the USF Invitational in Tampa, Fla., where it defeated Central Florida, host South Florida and Wisconsin en route to its first Tournament title since 2006. Creighton returned home to sweep Syracuse to open the Bluejay Invitational before suffering a 3-0 defeat to No. 21 Kansas State while playing most of the match without Michelle Sicner. The following weekend CU headed to the Northern Colorado Classic, where it went 3-0 against a field that included three NCAA Tournament teams from a season earlier. The weekend was highlighted by a 3-1 win over Conference USA champion Tulsa, where CU set single-match records for blocks and block assists in a match, and Kelli Browning tied an MVC record for block assists in a match. Creighton would open the MVC schedule with a key home weekend against league powers Missouri State and Wichita State. The Bluejays defeated the Bears in five sets before a four-set triumph over the Shockers that firmly established the team as a contender for the league title. Before continuing league play, the Jays would step out of Valley action for a mid-week match at Kansas. The Jays overcame an 0-2 deficit to force a fifth set, only to come up just short. The determined effort and resolve shown that night would prove to be beneficial later in the season, as Creighton would win three crucial five-set matches later on in the year away from home. Creighton returned home with victories over Drake and South Dakota before suffering what would be its only Valley loss of the year, a 3-1 setback at Southern Illinois on Sept. 28th. Little did the team know at the time that it would not lose again until December. Creighton’s record 17-match win streak began with a 3-1 win at Evansville, followed by a monumental 3-1 win over longtime Valley nemesis Northern Iowa. The Panthers hadn’t lost a league match since 2007 (59 in a row), and had been 110-1 since 2004 in league matches when winning the first set. CU would drop just three sets while winning its next seven matches to set up a pivotal rematch with UNI. The Jays quieted the crowd of 3,441 with wins in the first two sets, and responded from blowout losses in sets three and four with a 15-8 win in the fifth and build a two-game lead in the Valley standings while also handing the Panthers their first MVC home loss since 2008. The victory helped Creighton move into the AVCA Top 25 for the first time in program history. The Jays entered the poll at No. 25 and would climb as high as No. 21 before ending the year at No. 24. Creighton followed up that match with wins the following weekend vs. Indiana State and Illinois State, the latter on Senior Day to clinch a share of its first MVC regular-season title in program history. All that remained in the regular-season was the most difficult road trip in the MVC. Creighton rallied from an 0-2 deficit, then survived a fifth-set match point, to win at Wichita State to clinch the outright title on Nov. 16th. One night later, Creighton would again go five sets against MSU in Springfield, and scored the final two points in a 15-13 victory. The Jays headed to the MVC Tournament in unfamiliar territory, as the heavy favorite and top seed. CU lived up to the hype, beating Illinois State in four sets before sweeping Wichita State in the final for the first MVC Tournament title in program history. Armed with a 17-match win streak, the Jays’ automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament returned CU to Minneapolis, Minn., for the second time in three years. Creighton faced Marquette in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, and swept the No. 2 team from the BIG EAST in three close sets. The victory advanced the Jays into a second-round showdown with No. 11 Minnesota. Creighton won the first set and were up 16-8 in the third set, but could not hold on and ultimately fell in four sets to end the season and the record win streak. As you might expect from such an incredible season, the honors were widespread for Creighton after a 29-4 campaign. Head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth was named MVC Coach of the Year, in addition to CaptainU College Coach of the Year. Megan Bober closed out her career as MVC Player of the Year and became Creighton’s first two-time (honorable-mention) AVCA All-American. She was a three-time All-MVC selection and finished her career with a school-record 15 career triple-doubles. Bober was also named a Second Team Academic All-America pick by CoSIDA at year’s end. After sporadic playing time as a freshman, all Browning did was lead the nation with 204 total blocks in a breakthrough season. She would also be named First Team All-MVC as well as the MVC’s Defensive Player of the Year. Joining Bober and Browning on the All-MVC First Team was freshman Melanie Jereb, who was also runner-up for Valley Freshman of the Year. Leah McNary had a big sophomore season and would lead the Jays in kills while also earning Second Team All-Valley plaudits, while Kate Elman would join Jereb on the MVC’s All-Freshman Team. Creighton finished the season ranked fourth in blocks per set, sixth in winning percentage, 38th in digs per set and 42nd in hitting percentage. Individually, Browning was fifth in blocks per set and 32nd in hitting percentage, while Elman was 68th in digs per set.
Radio Broadcast Information Creighton had 26 matches broadcast on radio this season that aired on KOIL (1180 AM), KKAR (1290 AM) and KOZN (1620 AM). The audio was also streamed free of charge on those station’s websites. Brad Burwell handled play-by-play, while the analysis role was handled at various times by Erin Swanson, Rob Anderson, Rachel Houseman, Kevin Gebhardt, Steve Roberts and Glen Sisk.
Video Webcast Information All of Creighton’s home matches, as well as several road contests, were video webcast in 2012. Cost for a subscription was $10.95 for one month or $34.95 for a four-month package.
Live Stats Information All Creighton matches had free live stats in 2012 at www.gocreighton.com. Live stats from Creighton’s home matches were also available on mobile phones by clicking on www.gocreightonstats.com.
Television Information Creighton went 3-1 in four matches on television in 2012. The Jays lost at Kansas on Cox 2 on September 19th, and picked up wins on Cox 2 vs. South Dakota (Sept. 25) and Illinois State (Nov. 10). Creighton’s MVC Tournament finals win vs. Wichita State (Nov. 24) was aired on Fox Sports Net.
The Coaching Staff Creighton was coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 187-119 record after 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, and named the CaptainU College Coach of the Year in 2012 following another run to the second round of the NCAA’s. This season, Booth helped Creighton move into the top-25 for the first time in program history while also leading the team to a program-record 29 wins and first ever MVC regular-season and tournament titles. For her efforts, she was named MVC Coach of the Year. 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 was helped by assistant coaches Tom Mendoza and Angie Oxley Behrens and volunteer assistant Amanda (Gates) Sjuts.
NCAA Tournament Summary Creighton went 1-1 at the NCAA Tournament in two matches played in Minneapolis, Minn. The Jays swept Marquette (25-22, 25-23, 28-26) in the first-round match before falling to No. 11 Minnesota in four sets one night later (20-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17). Leah McNary led Creighton with 25 kills in the two matches, while Kate Elman led the club with 23 digs and Heather Thorson with 11 blocks.
MVC Tournament Summary Creighton won its first MVC Tournament in program history with wins over Illinois State (3-1) and Wichita State (3-0) in Springfield, Mo. Megan Bober was named Tournament MVP after collecting 65 assists, 24 digs and 17 kills. She was joined on the All-Tourney Team by Melanie Jereb (3.57 kps.) and Leah McNary (4.14 kps.).
NCAA Tournament History Creighton made its second NCAA Tournament appearance in history, and have now gone 1-1 in both 2010 and 2012. Both times, the Jays were shipped to Minneapolis, Minn. In 2010, Creighton topped No. 16 Iowa State (27-25, 16-25, 25-23, 19-25, 15-11) in the first round before falling to No. 12 Minnesota (25-19, 30-28, 25-20) in the second round the following evening. This season, Creighton swept Marquette (25-22, 25-23, 28-26) before losing to No. 11 Minnesota (20-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17).
vs. NCAA Tournament Opponents Creighton played 11 matches against teams that made the 2012 NCAA Tournament, going 8-3 against those teams. Opponent CU Result Northern Colorado W 3-0 Kansas State L 0-3 Kansas L 2-3 Tulsa W 3-1 Wichita State W 3-1 W 3-2 W 3-0 Northern Iowa W 3-1 W 3-2 Marquette W 3-0 Minnesota L 1-3
Vote For CU Creighton moved into the national rankings for the first time in program history on Nov. 5th, moving into the No. 25 spot in the poll. Creighton moved up to 23rd in the Nov. 12 edition, earning 156 points in the poll. After winning the MVC Tournament, the team improved to a best-ever 21st, earning a new best with 242 points in the poll. The Jays finished the season 24th in the year-end poll, earning 172 points in the poll. Prior to this season, Creighton had only received votes in the AVCA poll once, in the year-end 2010 poll when it got three points after an NCAA Tournament victory. Creighton received at least two votes for the top-25 12 times this season, and 13 times overall in school history when you count the 2010 appearance among those “also receiving votes”. With men’s soccer ranked and men’s basketball teams also nationally ranked throughout November, it marked the first year in the history of Creighton Athletics that three different teams are in the top-25 at the same time. 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 10/22/12 35 28th 10/29/12 31 27th 11/05/12 80 25th 11/12/12 156 23rd 11/19/12 242 21st Year-End 172 24th
Win/Win Situation This year marked the first time in MVC history that the school producing the regular-season volleyball champ also won an MVC soccer title (men’s or women’s, regular-season or tournament) in the same fall.
MVC Finalists Advance To NCAA’s Including this fall, the Missouri Valley Conference has now earned 21 NCAA Tournament bids in the past seven seasons. Notably, every team to reach the MVC Tournament final has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in that time.
Some Serious Streaks Creighton finished the season with an 11-match home win streak. That streak ranks as the ninth-longest nationally entering 2013. Longest Active Home Win Streaks Streak School 25 Penn State 23 Dayton 22 North Carolina 18 Miami (Fla.) 17 Northeastern 16 Stanford 14 BYU 13 San Diego State 11 Creighton 11 Idaho State
Survival of the Fittest Creighton has won six matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth after surviving an opponent’s match point, including a Nov. 16 thriller at Wichita State. Three of those wins have come against the Shockers. On the other hand, Creighton is 187-1 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 11/16/12 at Wichita State 13-14 16-14
2-0 Better Than 0-2 Creighton is 180-8 (.957) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 122-2 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. They own an 84-4 all-time mark in home matches they lead 2-0 in. Conversely, the Jays are 7-171 (.039) all-time when trailing a match 0-2, including an 0-58 mark in those home matches. The Nov. 16 win at Wichita State from down 0-2 was CU’s first such comeback since 2007. Those seven 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 11/16/12 at Wichita St. 25-16, 25-20, 16-14 Booth
Heavenly 11 Eleven of Creighton’s wins this year came against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams in Ball State, Tulsa, Northern Colorado, Marquette, Missouri State, (twice), Northern Iowa (twice) and Wichita State (three times) The Jays went 11-2 against NCAA Tournament teams from 2011. That sets a program record for wins against NCAA qualifiers, as the 2008 squad was 6-8 vs. 2007 NCAA qualifiers. Year W-L vs. Previous Season NCAA Teams 1994 0-4 1995 0-2 1996 0-2 1997 0-3 1998 0-5 1999 2-4 2000 0-4 2001 1-6 2002 0-5 2003 0-3 2004 2-2 2005 0-6 2006 4-6 2007 4-9 2008 6-8 2009 1-11 2010 4-7 2011 2-6 2012 11-2 TOTAL 37-95 TOTAL Under Booth 34-60
Rank & File Creighton is 7-1 in matches all-time when playing as a ranked team, including a 7-0 mark when facing an unranked opponent.
Against The Best Entering this year, either Northern Iowa, Missouri State or Wichita State had won each of the past 14 MVC regular-season and Volleyball Tournament titles. Creighton snapped those regular-season and tournament streaks. One reason Creighton broke through was the play of Melanie Jereb and Leah McNary against UNI, MSU and WSU. McNary had 10 or more kills in all seven matches against the Panthers, Bears and Shockers, hitting .292 while averaging 3.48 kills per set. Jereb also had double-digit kills in all seven matches vs. UNI, MSU and WSU, averaging 2.71 kills per set while hitting .232 in the seven wins.
Set 1 Result = Match Result CU is 160-18 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when they win set one. In that same time span, CU is just 27-101 under Booth when it drops the first set. Creighton went 24-1 this season when winning the opening set of a match. The season-ending loss to Minnesota was the first time all season that it lost after leading a match after any completed set.
Conditioning Pays Off Creighton’s saved its best volleyball all season for late in matches. The Bluejays were an impressive 16-4 in the fourth set this season, and 4-1 in the fifth set of matches.
High Five One reason that Creighton won the MVC was its 4-0 record in five-set matches. Creighton opened league play with a 3-2 win over Missouri State and also won its final three road contests (at Northern Iowa, at Wichita State, at Missouri State) in five sets as well. Creighton was 4-1 in five-set matches this season and is 33-17 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth in such contests.
Put It In Neutral Creighton finished 7-0 this season on neutral floors, winning three tournaments it has participated in. The Bluejays beat UCF and Wisconsin to win the USF Invitational in Tampa, then claimed the Northern Colorado Classic title with victories over Ball State and Tulsa. Creighton defeated Illinois State and Wichita State to win the MVC Tournament in Springfield, Mo.
Block Out A Record Kelli Browning set a Creighton and MVC record with 189 block assists this season. Sabrina Apker had owned the record with 188 in 2004. Here’s the complete list: Block Assists, Season, MVC History Blocks Name, School Year 189 Kelli Browning, Creighton 2012 188 Sabrina Apker, Missouri State 2004 186 Molly O’Brien, Northern Iowa 2001 181 Sabrina Apker, Missouri State 2005
One of Eight Only eight programs in history have won at least one match in every NCAA Tournament appearance it has ever made, a group that includes Auburn, Creighton, Florida, Stanford, St. John’s, Texas, TCU and Virginia Tech. Of those eight schools, only four (Creighton, Florida, Marquette, Stanford, Texas) won in the 2012 Tournament. At Least 1 NCAA Tourney Win, Every Appearance App. School This Year? 32 Stanford Jackson State 29 Texas Colgate 23 Florida Tulsa 2 Creighton vs. Marquette 2 St. John’s DNQ 1 Auburn DNQ 1 TCU DNQ 1 Virginia Tech DNQ
Title Town? Creighton’s MVC Tournament title capped off a pretty successful 12 months for the school. It made Creighton the reigning Valley tournament champions in men’s soccer, volleyball, baseball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. Both baseball and men’s soccer are two-time defending MVC Tournament champs. Super 17 Creighton won 17 straight matches before its second-round loss to Minnesota. That streak is easily the longest in program history. Consecutive Wins Wins Dates Snapped By 17 Sept. 29-Nov. 30, 2012 at #11 Minnesota 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
Most Improved? After going 17-14 last season, Creighton improved its record to 29-4 in 2012. Extensive research indicates it’s tied for the nation’s third-largest win increase this year, and second-best among NCAA Tournament teams. 2011 2012 Win W-L W-L Increase School 17-15 30-5 +13 Central Arkansas* 4-22 17-12 +13 Loyola Chicago 17-14 29-4 +12 Creighton* 4-25 16-13 +12 Akron 9-21 21-11 +12 High Point 9-18 21-9 +12 Southern Illinois 9-22 20-14 +11 Arizona State* 8-20 19-11 +11 Temple 15-14 26-7 +11 Kansas* *2012 NCAA Tournament Team
Top First Round Match-Up? Creighton brought a 28-3 record into its NCAA Tournament opener, while Marquette was 27-6 on the season coming in. Among the 32 first-round match-ups, that was the most combined wins of any pairing. Most Combined Wins, First Round Match-Ups Combined W-L Teams 55-9 Creighton/Marquette 53-10 Washington/Central Arkansas 51-11 Maryland-Eastern Shore/Nebraska 51-12 Miami (Fla.)/Charleston 51-13 Tulsa/Florida 51-14 Jackson State/Stanford 50-15 Western Kentucky/Loyola Marymount
Top Region? Not only was the Creighton/Marquette first-round match-up a big-time pairing, but so was the entire Minneapolis sub-Regional that also included Liberty and Minnesota. The 104 wins between the four squads entering the NCAA’s was more than any other sub-Regional site, and the .819 combined winning percentage was also the best of any sub-Regional site. Combined Wins Teams 104 Creighton/Marquette/Liberty/Minnesota 102 Miami/Charleston/Tulsa/Florida 101 WKU/Loyola Marymount/Jackson St./Stanford 98 Washington/C. Arkansas/Santa Clara/Hawaii 96 Kansas State/UNI/UMES/Nebraska
Tough To Beat Creighton finished the season with a 29-4 record, good for the nation’s sixth-best winning percentages (.879), tying eventual national champion Texas. The only schools with fewer losses were Penn State and Hawaii. On a national basis, Creighton’s 29 wins trailed only Western Kentucky (33), Penn State (33), Stanford (30), Louisville (30), Central Arkansas (30), Oregon (30) and USC (30).
MVC Awards Summary Creighton hauled in a slew of awards from the Missouri Valley Conference at season’s end. Creighton had three players named First Team All-MVC this season for just the third time in program history. Megan Bober was named First Team All-MVC for the third straight season, making her the third player in school history to do so (Korie Lebeda, Melissa Walsh). Bober also became the first player in Creighton history named MVC Player of the Year. Kelli Browning was named First Team All-MVC for the first time, while also being named MVC Defensive Player of the Year. She’s the second Bluejay player to earn the league’s top defensive honor, joining Jessica Houts (2008). Melanie Jereb was named First Team All-MVC as well. She’s the first freshman in Creighton history to earn a spot on the first team. Jereb also was named to the MVC’s All-Freshman Team. Leah McNary was named Second Team All-MVC. Last season she was one of two Bluejays named to the MVC’s All-Freshman Team (along with Michelle Sicner). Speaking of the All-Freshman Team, Kate Elman earned a spot on that squad after leading all Valley freshmen in digs and aces. Last but not least, Kirsten Bernthal Booth was named MVC Coach of the Year. It’s her first honor, and she joins Howard Wallace (1997 co-coach of the year) as the only Creighton mentors to be honored as the league’s top coach.
Browning On The Prowl Arguably the MVC’s most improved player, Kelli Browning set three Creighton single-season records for blocking and another for hitting percentage. Browning’s 204 total blocks smashed Ashley Williams’ record of 170 set in 2003, while her 189 block assists are 34 more than the mark set by Jessica Houts in 2009. Browning also set Creighton’s single-season records for blocks per set (1.65) and the mark for attack percentage (.370) this fall. Keep in mind, Browning had 33 blocks while hitting .197 in 21 matches as a freshman.
Some Special Seniors Creighton honored senior players Megan Bober, Brooke Boggs, Brittany Moon and Heather Thorson, senior manager Brittany Wing, and junior Natalie Hackbarth after its Nov. 10 win vs. Illinois State as part of Senior Day festivities. Hailing from Murdock, Neb., Bober is a three-time all-MVC pick and will be remembered as one of the all-time greats in Bluejay history. She finished her career leading all active CU players in kills, digs, assists, blocks and aces, and set a school record with 128 starts. She was named Honorable-Mention All-American as a sophomore and senior, honored as Creighton’s top female athlete as a junior, and MVC Player of the Year as a senior. Boggs played in 124 career matches as a defensive specialist. She owned 922 career digs and 61 aces, and came up big with a career-best 24 digs in a Nov. 3rd win at UNI. Boggs was recently honored with the MVC’s Service & Leadership Award and as an Academic All-District selection. Moon missed nearly all of her senior season due to lingering knee issues, but donned the jersey for the first time on Senior Night. She made her first career start, serving the first two points, before being lifted to a standing ovation. She played in 22 matches in her career, owning 10 digs and two assists in that time. She was named the squad’s Most Inspirational Player after the 2011 season. Thorson played in 116 matches in her career, amassing 676 kills and 340 blocks in her career. The Mead, Neb., native started CU’s last 84 matches and was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Northern Colorado Classic earlier this fall. She has been named to the MVC Academic Honor Roll after each of the previous three years. Hackbarth was just a junior, but will graduate in the spring and is not expected to return. She owns 143 kills and 158 digs while serving as an outside hitter the past three years. She was named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week once in 2011, when she started 16 matches, and remains one of the team’s vocal leaders. Over the last four years, Creighton has gone 81-47, made the school’s first two NCAA Tournament appearances, set a school record for consecutive wins and wins in a season, and led the way for the school’s first MVC regular-season and tournament titles as well. The quintet has combined for 4,494 assists, 2,349 digs, 1,682 kills, 798 blocks and 163 aces. The women also combine for an average GPA of 3.76.
Records Continue To Fall There’s a reason it seems as if with every Creighton victory, another record or two goes by the wayside. Among the marks that Creighton set this year was for wins in a season (29), consecutive wins (17) and consecutive MVC wins (14). Creighton is also in the midst of a program-record 11 match win streak at home and closed out its first 9-0 MVC home slate in program history this season.
Swiss Army Knife Megan Bober’s versatility was back on display on Nov. 2-3, as the senior setter had consecutive triple-doubles in wins at Bradley and Northern Iowa. Bober had 45 assists, 12 digs and 11 kills at Bradley on Friday night, then added 47 assists, 14 digs and 10 kills one night later at Northern Iowa. Bober had her third triple-double in four matches on Nov. 10th vs. Illinois State, as she finished with 38 assists, 19 digs and 12 kills in a 3-1 win over Illinois State. Bober followed that up with her fourth triple-double in five matches on Nov. 16 at Wichita State, finishing with 42 assists, 14 kills and 11 digs. Bober had 15 career triple-doubles, second-most in league history to the 2009, 2010 and 2011 MVC Player of the Year Bre Payton (UNI). Payton is also the only other MVC player to own multiple seasons of five or more triple-doubles. Payton finished with 16 career triple-doubles.
Double Down Creighton setter Megan Bober was the nation’s only player to average at least 9.50 assists, 1.00 blocks, 1.90 kills and 2.90 digs per set, so it should come as no surprise that she stuffs the stat sheet on a regular basis. Bober put together 11 double-doubles in her last 12 outings, a span that included four triple-doubles. Bober’s 24 double-doubles this year broke the previous school record of 21 set by Korie Lebeda (2006).
Digging Like Crazy Northern Iowa put senior Brooke Boggs to the test, and the senior from Wildwood, Mo., came through with a career-high effort on Nov. 3rd. Boggs dug a career-best 24 balls in CU’s 3-2 win, seven more than her previous high. It marked the third time in her career that Boggs has led Creighton in digs during a match. Boggs was honored on Nov. 5th with the MVC Leadership & Service Award. The award, given to one fall athlete per league school, honors student-athletes in good academic standing who demonstrate good citizenship through good sportsmanship and significant community service. Boggs owns a 3.911 GPA in Health Administration and Policy, has been a member of the Dean’s List all six semesters in college, and has volunteered in more than a dozen community service activities.
Big Block, No Errors Creighton has excelled in three areas in 2012, blocking the opposition, finishing with a good hitting percentage, and minimizing its attack errors. Creighton was outblocked just once in 33 matches this season and owned a better hitting percentage in 30-of-33 matches. In addition, Creighton never had more attack errors than an opponent in any match. Creighton had 12 kills and hit .462 the fifth set of its Nov. 3rd win at UNI. It was the first time since Sept. 17, 2011 that the Jays didn’t have an attack error in a set. There have been just eight sets since Kirsten Bernthal Booth took over (of 1,129 sets played to date) that the Jays have not had an attack error. Creighton also didn’t have any errors (blocking, serving, attacking, ball handling, set) at all in that fifth set, a first since Booth was hired.
Minimal Errors Key to Creighton’s success this season is its ability to reduce the amount of errors it made in all facets of the game. Creighton had just 514 attack errors in 124 sets this season (4.15), compared to 838 attack errors by its opponents. When it comes to serve reception, the Jays were aced just 113 times in 124 sets (0.91). At the service line, Creighton had just 234 service errors (1.89). 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.
Getting Better & Better Nov. 10th was Creighton’s 300th match Kirsten Bernthal Booth, and it continues to thrive under her direction. Below is a look at Creighton’s record under Booth in 50-match segments. Match # W-L Opponent Date Result 50 25-25 Missouri State 10/22/04 L 0-3 100 56-44 So. Illinois 09/16/06 W 3-1 150 88-62 vs. So. Illinois 11/23/07 W 3-1 200 115-85 at Missouri St. 10/30/09 L 0-3 250 143-107 at #11 Nebraska 09/08/11 L 0-3 300 182-118 Illinois State 11/10/12 W 3-1
Record Watch Megan Bober broke four school records in her final month. She now owns the top spot for sets played (480), starts (128), consecutive starts (128), matches played (128) and victories played in (81).
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 was tied for eighth-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 at the time, since surpassed by Kelli Browning (.684) vs. Southern Illinois on Oct. 27.
Defensive Display Creighton owns just 13 home matches in the last eight years in which it has 90 digs or more, but the Jays have reached that figure in each of Illinois State’s last eight trips to town. Since 2005, Creighton has averaged 24.00 digs in those 33 sets played in Omaha against Illinois State. At all sites, Creighton has 1,661 digs in 78 sets versus the Redbirds since 2005 (21.29 dps.). Creighton’s season-high for digs at home has come against Illinois State in five of the last seven seasons, including this year. Illinois State at Creighton, Previous Eight Years Date Sets CU Digs ISU Digs 11/10/12 4 90 79 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 90 Illinois State 11/10/12 W 3-1
Bober Earns Another Megan Bober was honored for the third straight week by the MVC office when the league named her Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 12th. Bober averaged 9.29 assists, 4.29 digs, 1.29 blocks and 2.57 kills per set while hitting .378 in victories over Indiana State and Illinois State. Bober was named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week four times this season, MVC Player of the Week three times and MVC Defensive Player of the Week twice this fall.
Academic All-Stars Seniors Megan Bober and Brooke Boggs have earned a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District VII teams. Bober, an Exercise Science major with a 3.82 GPA, was a first-team pick for the second time in her career. Boggs was a second-team selection after being a third-team pick in 2010. She owns a 3.91 GPA in Health Administration & Policy. Boggs also earned the MVC’s Leadership & Service Award on Nov. 5 for her work on the court and in the community. Bober and Boggs also were named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team in 2012.
Records Go Down Creighton Volleyball continued to set numerous historical marks at an astounding pace. Creighton’s 11 straight home wins are a program record. Creighton’s Longest Home Win Streaks Wins Dates Snapped By 11 Sept. 1, 2012 - Present ? ? ? 8 Sept. 25-Nov. 20, 2010 Northern Illinois, 3-0 7 Oct. 17, 2008-Aug. 28, 2009 #10 Illinois, 3-0 6 Oct. 22, 2005-Sept. 2, 2006 Iowa, 3-2
Creighton also set a program record with 12 home victories. Most Home Victories, Season Home Record Year 12-1 2012 10-5 2009 9-4 2010 9-5 2008 9-5 2011
Creighton also tied the program record for wins in the month of October with seven, previously done in 2004, 2008 and 2010. Most October Victories, Season October Record Year 7-0 2012 7-2 2008 7-2 2010 7-3 2004 6-2 2001 6-3 2011 6-4 2000
Creighton had owned just one undefeated month in program history before doing it three times in 2012. The Jays went 9-0 in November, 7-0 in October and 4-0 in August. Undefeated Months, CU History Undefeated Months Month, Year 9-0 November, 2012 7-0 October, 2012 4-0 August, 2012 3-0 August, 2006
Creighton has also now reached the 20-win milestone for the fourth time in program history. The 2006, 2007 and 2010 teams all won exactly 21 matches. Matches Won, Season Year MP W L Pct. 1. 2012 33 29 4 .879 2. 2006 31 21 10 .677 2007 31 21 10 .677 2010 33 21 12 .636 5. 2008 27 18 9 .667 2004 29 18 11 .621
Top Offense and Defense Creighton ranked first in the MVC in opponent hitting percentage at .149, and also first in overall hitting percentage at .247. Only six teams hit .200 or better against Creighton this year, and only Minnesota hit better than .232. This was the seventh straight season that Creighton limited the opposition below .200 for the seventh straight campaign.
Defense Getting It Done Creighton held Drake to -.060 hitting in an Oct. 20th match in Des Moines, the fifth-lowest mark ever by a Bluejay opponent. Creighton won the third set 25-11 despite just six Bluejay kills, which tied a season-low for any set. That was possible thanks in part to forcing the Bulldogs into 17 attack errors in the third set alone. The 17 attack errors in one set tie the mark by a Bluejay opponent previously done by Indiana State on Oct. 14, 2000. Lowest Opponent Hitting Pct. vs. CU, Match Pct. Team K E TA Date -.112 Jacksonville State 18 27 80 09/05/08 -.108 UMKC 19 27 74 09/15/96 -.086 Drake 15 23 93 09/22/06 -.067 Weber State 19 25 90 09/09/11 -.060 Drake 24 31 117 10/20/12 -.044 Montana State 15 19 90 08/25/07 -.024 Indiana State 29 32 125 10/24/09
Most Attack Errors vs. Creighton, Set KE Team (Set) K TA Pct. Date 17 Indiana State (3) 33 93 .172 10/14/00 17 Drake (3) 7 39 -.256 10/20/12 16 Boise State (2) 12 50 -.080 09/04/99 15 Drake (3) 10 43 -.116 10/21/06 15 Southern Illinois (1) 15 40 .000 11/07/97
MVC Haul Continues The MVC honored Megan Bober and Melanie Jereb for their play on Nov. 5th while helping Creighton Volleyball to wins at Bradley and Northern Iowa. Bober was the MVC Player of the Week, while Jereb was the MVC Freshman of the Week. This was the third such honor this season for both women, and Bober’s sixth career MVC Player of the Week honor, fourth-most in league history. Bober had a pair of triple-doubles and averaged 10.22 assists, 2.89 digs, 2.33 kills, 0.56 blocks and 0.22 aces per set while hitting .321. Jereb had a pair of double-doubles, averaging 3.22 kills and 3.44 digs on .300 hitting.
Finally Over .500 Since restarting its program in 1994, Creighton owns a 280-271 record. The Jays won their first match of that 1994 season, then proceeded to lose their next nine matches, and hadn’t been above the overall .500 mark since until winning on October 27th vs. Southern Illinois. CU’s “low” point came on Nov. 15, 2003, when the Jays lost to drop to 103-169 and fall 66 matches below .500. Since then, Creighton has gone 177-102.
Uncharted Territory Creighton 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 five of the last six seasons (including this year’s 9-0 mark) 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 19 of 20 seasons (including 2012). 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). This year Creighton and UNI were the midpoint leaders at 8-1. The Panthers had been the leader/co-leader at the midpoint 11 previous times, and each time UNI has won the regular-season title. That streak ended this year. Creighton had 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.
Halfway Home Creighton’s 17-1 start was the best in program history for MVC play, and set the school record for Valley wins in a season. In the last 15 years (including 2012), 20-of-24 teams to start 8-1 or better in league play have gone on to reach the NCAA Tournament. In those same 15 seasons (including 2012), teams that were in first place at the turn reached the NCAA in 17-of-19 scenarios.
Thorson Passes 300 Stuffs Senior Heather Thorson finished her career with 344 career blocks, becoming the ninth player in school history with 300 or more stuffs. Thorson also put together her third consecutive season with 90 or more blocks, something only JoDe Cieloha, Laurel Sanford, Kelly Goc or Sarah Beulke have done previously in Bluejay history.
Bober Seeks Rare Double Megan Bober finished her career with 4,359 assists and 1,123 career digs. She was the fourth player in school history with at least 1,000 digs and 1,000 career assists, joining Kailey Reyes (1,258 digs, 4,207 assists), Melissa Weisensee (1,223d/4,018a) and Korie Lebeda (1,130d/5,281a). Bober’s career totals of 4,359 assists, 1,123 digs, 833 kills and 422 blocks made her the first player in MVC history with at least 4,000 assists, 1,000 digs, 800 kills and 400 career blocks.
Bober Earns Defensive Honor Senior setter Megan Bober was named MVC Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 29th, the first time she’s won that award. Bober averaged 11.57 assists, 4.14 digs, 1.57 blocks and 1.57 kills that week. She had 43 assists and a career-high 19 digs in the Oct. 26 win over Evansville, adding four kills and two blocks. On Oct. 27th, Bober approached the ultra-rare quadruple-double with 38 assists, 10 digs, nine blocks and seven kills on .263 hitting.
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. Creighton’s win at UNI on Nov. 3rd gave the Jays two wins over the Panthers for the first time in one season ever. It also snapped UNI’s 34-match home win streak in Valley play.
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 23 contests of the year, Jereb owned 227 kills and just 37 attack errors in 794 swings. Jereb had the MVC’s best hitting percentage of any Valley player with 800 or more attacks (.236).
Gutting It Out Creighton’s 29-4 season saw the Jays go is 12-1 in three-set matches, 13-2 in four-set matches and 4-1 in five-set matches. Creighton’s 3-0 win at Illinois State on Oct. 12 as the first time in 41 meetings that CU swept the Redbirds. It’s 3-0 win at Drake on Oct. 20 was the team’s first sweep in Des Moines since 2003. Creighton put together four straight MVC sweeps for the first time in program history from Oct. 12-26.
Talented Teammates Only two freshmen in the Missouri Valley Conference averaged at least 2.40 kills and 2.40 digs per set, Creighton’s Melanie Jereb (2.47 kps., 2.74 dps.) and Illinois State’s Ashley Rosch (3.08 kps., 2.97 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.
Road Block Sophomore MB Kelli Browning ranked fifth in the nation with 1.67 blocks per set, and did much of her damage away from home. In 20 matches away from home this season, Browning averaged 1.71 blocks per set and CU averaged 3.22 blocks per set as a team. By comparison, in 13 home matches, Browning averaged 1.54 blocks per set and CU averaged 2.80 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. 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. 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. At the time, it was the second MVC Freshman of the Week honor for Elman.
Net Presence Sophomore Kelli Browning had five or more blocks in 24 of CU’s 33 matches this year, including 15 of the past 20. 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 each of the first 32 matches this season before being held to nine digs in the finale vs. Minnesota. That ranked as the second-longest streak in Bluejay history. Consecutive Matches, 10 or More Digs 43 Janeen Piller, Oct. 10, 2003-Nov. 26, 2004 31 Kate Elman, Aug. 24 - Nov. 30, 2012 27 Bianca Rivera, Aug. 24-Nov. 9, 2007 23 Julianne Mandolfo, Sept. 9-Nov. 24, 2011
Midway Mark History Creighton’s 8-1 record halfway through league play gave 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 9-0 1st Total 93-80 91-82 --
First of Many? Just a sophomore, MB Kelli Browning tore up the MVC this year and approached several school records for both a single-season and a career. Browning hit at a .370 clip this season and is now at a .340 mark for her career She broke the single-season record that had been .368 by Kelly Goc in 2007, and overtook Goc’s career record of .296 as well. Browning’s 1.65 blocks per set this year also shattered the Creighton mark for a single-season, easily outpacing the mark of 1.48 blocks per set by Ashley Williams in 2003.
Full House Creighton hosted a near-capacity crowd of 2,325 fans on Oct. 5 against Northern Iowa, boosting CU’s season average to 1,131 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 ranked 37th-best nationally this season, and 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 40-15 (.727) 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 31-5 (.861). 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 28-0 at D.J. Sokol Arena in Valley action.
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) were responsible for 849 of the team’s 1,660 kills (51.1 percent).
Jack Of All Trades Watch Megan Bober play and it’s obvious her importance to Creighton. The senior setter and three-time All-Valley pick leads all active Bluejay players in kills (833), assists (4359), aces (86), digs (1123) and blocks (422). Bober ranks in the top-10 in CU history in assists, digs, aces and blocks.
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 Compare Let’s take a look at how Creighton’s stats in 2012 compared to the past two seasons, as well as the 2006 club. Stat 2012 2011 2010 2006* Match W-L 29-4 17-14 21-12 21-10 Set W-L 91-33 61-56 74-50 72-44 Tourney Titles 3 0 0 2 Kills/Set 13.39 12.75 13.52 16.45 Hitting % .247 .203 .214 .195 Aces/Set 1.24 1.13 1.27 1.59 Digs/Set 17.32 17.23 18.94 19.42 Blocks/Set 3.06 2.54 2.36 2.65 *sets played to 30 (instead of current 25)
CLASS Act Creighton’s Megan Bober was one of 30 student-athletes who excel both on and off the court and was announced as an initial candidate 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 did not reach the finalist list of 10.
Special Freshman 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 (then) career-best 21 kills in the Sept. 15 win over Wichita State, five more than her previous high. She upped that figure to 23 against Missouri State on Nov. 17th in the regular-season finale, finishing with just one error. McNary had seven matches of 10 or more kills a year ago, and but did it 22 times this season. The sophomore from Florida owned 10 or more kills in 18 of CU’s last 25 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 three contests of 20 or more kills in the same season. The last player to do it four times in one year was Kelly Goc in 2007.
Hundred in Hand Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth owns 187 wins at the helm of the Bluejays. That’s 119 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 was also the first time in program history that the Jays have beaten MSU, WSU and UNI in the same campaign. Creighton went 7-0 against that trio this year.
Blocking Bluejays 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 was 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.
Double-Double Day 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 owned 350 kills and 204 blocks in 2012. Browning owns five matches this season with 10 or more blocks, more than any other player in school history for one season.
NCAA Stats Update In the final edition of the NCAA stat leaders, Creighton was ranked fourth in blocks per set (3.06), sixth in winning percentage (.879), 42nd in hitting percentage (.247), 38th in digs per set (17.32) and 83rd in kills per set (13.39). Individually, sophomore Kelli Browning was fifth in the country in blocks per set (1.65) and is 32nd in hitting percentage (.370). Kate Elman ranked 68th with 4.98 digs per set, a figure that ranked sixth-best among the nation’s freshmen.
Titles x 3 Creighton won the USF Invitational and the Northern Colorado Classic in non-conference play this fall, then won the MVC Tournament in November. 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 12 seasons (including 2012) that Creighton has won its MVC opener, it has never finished worse than 9-9 in league play and owns a combined .662 (143-73) 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 18 of the last 19 (including 2012) 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. Every team in the MVC except Creighton lost at least one MVC home match 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 six triple-doubles this season, Bober owned 10 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 600 Digs Freshman libero Kate Elman 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’s 32 straight matches with 10 or more digs was the longest such career-opening streak in Bluejay history, passing Rivera’s 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. Elman surpassed 400 career digs in her 22nd career match, second-quickest in program history behind Rivera’s 20. Elman surpassed 500 career digs in her 27th career match, second-quickest in program history behind Rivera’s 25. Rivera reached 600 career digs in her 31st career match, while Elman did it in match No. 32.
Marian Pipeline This was the 10th straight season that Creighton Volleyball had 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 eight most common servers were freshmen, so it should come as little surprise that the Jays owed 76 of their 154 aces so far from their highly-regarded freshman class consisting of Melanie Jereb, Ashley Jansen, Kate Elman and Lizzy Stivers. Elman led CU with 31 aces.
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.
Net Gain Creighton led all MVC teams in blocking, averaging 3.06 stuffs per set. The Jays had three players average at least 1.00 blocks per frame (Heather Thorson, Megan Bober and Kelli Browning), the MVC’s only school that can claim that. Creighton out-blocked foes 379.0 - 191.5, and were out-blocked in just one match all season (Kansas State). Browning’s 204 blocks this year were more than the 191.5 blocks against CU all season long, and her 115 blocks in MVC play would rank her ahead of two teams and tied with another.
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 nine of the past 10 years (including 2012). 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 1st #3
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. Megan 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.
New Opportunity at Libero Kate Elman was the lone libero used by Creighton so far. She was 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 33-17 in five-set matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, including a 5-2 mark last year and a 4-1 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 4-1 29-4 Total 48-45 280-271
Production Returning Creighton returned 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%)
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 are admitted free.
VB: Villanova at Creighton (11/21/14)
Creighton Volleyball clinched the 2015 BIG EAST Conference Regular Season Title...