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Courtesy: Steven Branscombe

No. 23 Volleyball Sweeps South Dakota Behind Balanced Effort

WICHITA, Kan. -- Junior setter Michelle Sicner turned in a double-double as the 23rd-ranked Creighton Volleyball team picked up a 3-0 sweep over regional rival South Dakota on Saturday afternoon at the Shocker Volleyball Classic in Wichita, Kan.

Scores of the match in favor of Creighton were 25-19, 25-20, 25-19.

Sicner had 30 assists, 16 digs, six kills and four blocks while helping distribute the ball to five hitters with precision that left USD guessing all match.

Creighton (8-3) won the first set 25-19, but couldn't pull away from the pesky Coyotes until late in the  set. The frame featured seven ties, including as late as 16-all, before three straight USD (9-6) errors helped the Jays take a 19-16 lead. After three straight sideouts, CU got kills from Sicner and Lauren Smith, in addition to a solo stuff by Smith, during a 4-0 run that brought it to set point. McNary had the winner, her fourth of the set, to close out the 25-19 win. CU hit .231 with 15 kills and 18 digs and was led by Sicner's 10 assists, five digs and three kills. USD was paced by Kendall Kritenbrink's four kills.

Creighton trailed nearly the entire second set, only to rally late behind the serving of Lizzy Stivers. Stivers authored up a 6-0 run to turn a 19-17 deficit into a 23-19 lead, and after a sideout CU got kills from Jess Bird and Melanie Jereb to close out the victory. Bird had four kills to pace CU in the game, while Sydney Dimke paced USD with seven kills in the second set.

The third set saw Creighton build an early 13-6 lead after Bird served up a 6-0 run. USD countered, scoring eight of the next 10 points to threaten CU. But McNary stopped the USD momentum with a block, followed by a kill, and the Coyotes got no closer than two the rest of the afternoon down the stretch. Jereb had five of her team-high nine kills in the last set, just missing a double-double as she finished with 11 digs as well.

Jereb led CU with nine kills, while Browning had eight kills to go with a match-best six blocks. Bird finished with seven kills and 10 digs, while McNary had six kills and Smith five more.  Creighton finished with 41 kills, two aces, 66 digs and nine blocks on .206 hitting.

USD was led by 13 kills and 13 digs from Gretna native Kritenbrink, while libero Kaitlyn Hastings had 19 digs. The Coyotes had 36 kills, three aces, 59 digs and eight blocks on .141 hitting, but were hampered by 12 service errors.

Creighton closes out play at the Shocker Volleyball Classic on Sunday with a 2 pm match-up against tournament host and former MVC rival, Wichita State.

NOTES: Creighton improved to 3-0 all-time against South Dakota, but this was its first sweep of the Coyotes ...Lizzy Stivers tied a season- and career-high with four digs ...The victory was Creighton's fifth 3-0 win of the year ...Creighton is now 7-0 when winning set one this year ...The double-double by Michelle Sicner was her fourth of the season and 11th of her career. Her 16 digs tied a season-high.
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