Volleyball Prepares For Friday's NCAA Tourney Showdown With Arkansas
Creighton Volleyball Notes
2013 NCAA Tournament
Dec. 6 4 pm Creighton vs. Arkansas (1180 AM) Lawrence, Kan. (Allen Fieldhouse)
Dec. 6 6:30 pm Wichita State at #23 Kansas Lawrence, Kan. (Allen Fieldhouse)
Dec. 7 6:30 pm CU/Ark Winner vs. WSU/KU Winner Lawrence, Kan. (Allen Fieldhouse)
Creighton Volleyball returns to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four seasons when it visits Lawrence, Kan., for a four-team region with a significant Midwestern flavor.
Creighton (22-8) will open tournament play on Friday at 4 pm Central when it takes on Arkansas (16-13). The second semifinal pits Wichita State (28-6) at No. 14 national seed and No. 23-ranked Kansas (23-7) in a 6:30 pm Central contest.
Friday’s winners will meet on Saturday at 6:30 pm, with a berth to the Los Angeles Regional on the line.
All matches this weekend will be held at historic Allen Fieldhouse (16,300), longtime home to KU’s successful basketball programs.
Friday’s Creighton match will air on KZOT (1180 AM). Brad Burwell will call the play-by-play, while Glen Sisk handles color analyst duties.
The match is available by clicking on the “Listen Live” banner on the right side of the page at http://1180zone2.com/.
Should Creighton advance, Saturday’s match would not air on the Omaha airwaves.
Video Webcast Information
All matches this weekend will have free video and audio. Video webcasts can be found at KUathletics.com, with links to Creighton matches available at GoCreighton.com.
Live Stats Information
All NCAA Tournament matches will have free live stats.Visit GoCreighton.com and click on the Live Stats tab on the top of the page for the exact link to Creighton’s matches.
Creighton enters the NCAA Tournament with a 22-8 record after finishing second in the BIG EAST in both regular-season and conference tournament play.
The Bluejays started the fall 9-3 against one of the nation’s most challenging non-conference schedules, and own five wins against teams that have been ranked this season (BYU, Marquette, Kansas, Cal State Northridge and Wichita State). Creighton’s success and schedule combined have the Bluejays ranked 16th in this week’s official NCAA RPI rankings.
Creighton had a pair of juniors earn First Team All-BIG EAST acclaim this fall, MB Kelli Browning (2.42 kps., 1.48 bps., .319%) and OH Leah McNary (3.04 kps.).
Earning a second-team all-conference nod was S Michelle Sicner (9.97 aps., 1.49 kps., 0.94 bps.), who was named AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 15th and has five hitters to choose from that average at least 1.65 kills per set.
A pair of freshmen play a huge role, as OH Jess Bird (2.47 kps., 2.85 dps.) and MB Lauren Smith (2.25 kps., 1.16 bps.) have started all but one match this season and continue to improve.
The defense is paced by sophomore libero Kate Elman (4.15 kps.), who is tied for the team lead with 22 aces.
Creighton averages 13.53 kills, 1.02 aces, 15.73 digs and 3.02 blocks per set while hitting .220 as a team.
Arkansas went 16-13 on the season, including a 9-9 SEC mark and a 1-1 mark on neutral floors.
Arkansas went 3-6 down the stretch in SEC play, and have lost the last five matches away from home.
Meredith Hays (4.02 kps., 2.31 dps.) leads the Razorback offense, and is also third on the club with 25 aces. Hays is one of six Arkansas student-athletes with at least 100 kills, part of a diverse 6-2 offense run by Raymariely Santos (6.52 aps.) and Ashley Vazquez (4.92 aps.).
Emily Helm (4.64 dps.) leads the club with 501 digs, while Ana Sofia Jusino owns a team-high 1.16 blocks per set.
As a team, Arkansas averages 13.29 kills, 13.71 digs, 1.26 aces and 2.50 blocks per set on .199 hitting.
Scouting No. 23 Kansas
Kansas is 23-7 on the season and went 12-4 in Big 12 play to earn the No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
All-American Caroline Jarmoc (2.07 kps., 1.19 bps.) leads the Jayhawks with 350 kills and 136 blocks, while also hitting a stout .314. Omaha native Sara McClinton averages a team-high 3.20 kills per set, while Papillion native Chelsea Albers is third on the team with 2.83 kills per set and 0.99 blocks per set. All three women were named First Team All-Big 12.
Freshman Tayler Soucie had 12 blocks earlier this year against Creighton and leads the team with 1.21 blocks per set.
Brianne Riley (4.43 dps.) leads the team in digs, while Big 12 Setter of the Year Erin McNorton (12.13 aps.) directs the offense and ranks fourth nationally in assists per set.
As a team, Kansas averages 14.46 kills, 15.54 digs, 2.59 blocks and 0.92 aces per set on .260 hitting.
Scouting Wichita State
Wichita State earned its seventh straight trip to the NCAA Tournament with a 28-6 record and were regular-season co-champions of the Missouri Valley Conference before taking the league tournament title last weekend to clinch the automatic bid. The Shockers went 10-2 in road matches and 16-3 away from home this fall.
Co-MVC Players of the Year Chelsey Feekin (10.59 aps., 2.48 dps., .435%) and Ashley Andrade (3.24 kps., 1.32 bps.) lead the way for the Shockers.
Feekin directs a varied offense that also features four other women averaging multiple kills per set.
Dani Mostrom (3.50 dps.) leads the defense, while Katie Reilly owns a KU-best 33 aces.
Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 209-127 record in her 11th 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, joined the 100-win club with an Oct. 31, 2008 win at Drake and the 200-win club with a Oct. 18 win vs. Xavier.
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.
Last 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 2012 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 is helped by assistant coaches Tom Mendoza and Angie Oxley Behrens and volunteer assistant Amanda (Gates) Sjuts.
Arkansas is led by Robert Pulliza (Ball State, 1996), who is in his sixth season with the Razorbacks. He owns a 90-84 record at Arkansas and has led to back-to-back NCAA Tourney appearances after a five-year drought. He is assisted by Carol Price-Torok.
Kansas is coached by Ray Bechard, who is 271-216 in his 16th year at the school, and 988-276 in 29 years overall as a head coach. He’s assisted by Laura Kuhn, Todd Chamberlain and Wendel Camargo.
Chris Lamb (Sonoma State, 1998) is in his 14th season with Wichita State. Lamb owns a 314-128 record, all with the Shockers, and led WSU to the second round of the 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009 NCAA Tournaments before last year’s Sweet 16 run. He is assisted by Jeff Sanders and Matt Hoffman.
Series History vs. Arkansas
Creighton is 0-1 all-time against Arkansas, with that match being played on Sept. 13, 2003 in Lawrence, Kan., at the Hampton Inn/Jayhawk Classic. The Razorbacks won that match 30-25, 30-15, 30-23, as Kele Brewer and Denitza Koleva each had 12 kills.
Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 0-1 against Arkansas, but 6-4 against current members of the SEC. She has never faced Robert Pulliza.
Series History vs. Kansas
Kansas has won five of six matches against Creighton since CU reinstituted volleyball in 1994, claiming victories in 2002 (3-0 in Omaha), 2003 (3-0 in Lawrence), 2009 (3-1 in Lawrence), 2010 (3-1 in Omaha) and 2012 (3-2 in Lawrence). Creighton snapped that streak on September 10th, however, beating the Jayhawks in four sets in Omaha, behind 15 kills on .400 hitting from Kelli Browning.
Last season in Lawrence, Kansas won the first two sets and Creighton won the next two sets before KU won the fifth frame, 15-13. Kelli Browning had 15 kills and 11 blocks in the contest for CU, while Caroline Jarmoc had 22 kills and Brianne Riley 33 digs for the Jayhawks.
Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 1-4 against Kansas and Ray Bechard.
Series History vs. Wichita State
Creighton has won five straight and eight of the past 11 meetings with Wichita State to reclaim a 22-21 lead in the all-time series. That includes a 3-1 mark on neutral floors, including last year’s 3-0 sweep in Springfield, Mo., to claim the progarm’s only conference tournament title.
The first set winner of the CU-WSU match has won 17 of the past 21 meetings and 21 of the past 26 match-ups. Additionally, Wichita State had won 22 straight third sets against the Bluejays until CU won the third frame in all three meetings in 2012 and again took the third frame in September.
Booth is 11-13 vs. Wichita State and Chris Lamb, while Lamb is 15-15 vs. Creighton all-time.
Last Weekend Summary
Creighton went 1-1 at the BIG EAST Tournament, defeating Xavier (3-1) in the semifinals before losing in the final to No. 24 Marquette (3-1). Kelli Browning and Lauren Smith were named to the All-tournament Team.
With A Win on Friday...
-Creighton would improve to 3-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, and continue as one of eight teams to win at least one match in every NCAA Tournament appearance.
-Creighton would even the all-time series with Arkansas at 1-1.
-Creighton would improve to 23-8 on the fall with its eighth victory in the past 10 contests.
-Creighton’s 23 wins would be second-most in school history, trailing only the 29 victories by last year’s club.
NCAA Tournament History
Creighton will be making its third NCAA Tournament appearance in history this weekend. The Bluejays went 1-1 in its maiden voyage in 2010 and again 1-1 in 2012. All those matches were played in 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.
In 2012, Creighton swept Marquette (25-22, 25-23, 28-26) before falling to No. 11 Minnesota (25-20, 17-25, 25-23, 25-17) in the second round the following evening.
Creighton has one woman on the 2013 team who was a part of the 2010 NCAA Tournament team, and 10 women that were a part of the 2012 NCAA club.
Savannah Smith was on the 2010 NCAA team but did not play.
Players on last year’s NCAA Tournament team that are still with the Jays include Ashley Jansen, Melanie Jereb, Katie Neisler, Kelli Browning, Savannah Smith, Michelle Sicner, Kate Elman, Leah McNary and Lizzy Stivers. In addition, Lauren Smith was on the team but redshirted and did not play in the NCAA’s.
In addition, Creighton’s entire coaching staff (Kirsten Bernthal Booth, Angie Oxley Behrens, Tom Mendoza and Amanda Sjuts) all return as well from both of Creighton’s previous NCAA trips, as well.
vs. Common Opponents
Creighton and Arkansas own two common opponents this season, Kansas and Northern Colorado.
Creighton went 2-0 against those teams, while Arkansas was 2-1.
Opponent CU Result ARK Result
Kansas W 3-1 L 2-3
Northern Colorado W 3-0 W 3-0
vs. NCAA Tournament Opponents
Creighton played nine matches against teams that made the 2013 NCAA Tournament, while Arkansas had 13 such contests. Creighton went 5-4 against those teams, while Arkansas went 2-11.
Opponent CU Result Ark. Result
California L 0-3
Marquette W 3-0
Cal State Northridge W 3-0
BYU W 3-1
Hawai’i L 2-3
Kansas W 3-1 L 2-3
Wichita State W 3-2
Kentucky L 1-3
LSU L 2-3
Oklahoma L 0-3
Texas State L 0-3
Missouri L 1-3
Alabama L 1-3
Florida L 1-3
Georgia W 3-1
Texas A&M L 1-3
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 half (Creighton, Florida, Stanford, Texas) are in the 2013 Tournament.
At Least 1 NCAA Tourney Win, Every Trip
App. School This Year?
33 Stanford Hampton
30 Texas Texas State
24 Florida Jacksonville
3 Creighton vs. Arkansas
2 St. John’s DNQ
1 Auburn DNQ
1 TCU DNQ
1 Virginia Tech DNQ
Since the NCAA went to sideout scoring in 2001, the No. 14 national seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 in just seven of 12 seasons, and only once in the past four tournaments.
Among the “upsets” in recent years are Ohio State over Tennessee in 2011, Ohio State over Dayton in 2010, Kentucky over Oregon in 2009, Michigan over Colorado State in 2007 and Miami (Fla.) over Wisconsin in 2002.
This year Kansas is the national No. 14 seed and looming as a potential second-round match-up should the Jayhawks and Creighton both advance.
Winner Heads Where?
The winner of matches on both Friday and Saturday will advance to play in the Los Angeles Regional next weekend, hosted by USC.
The first match would be next Friday (Dec. 13) against the winner of the Seattle subregional that features Washington, Alabama State, LSU and Michigan. One contest would be at 7 pm Central, and the second contest at 9 pm Central and air on ESPN3.
Saturday’s (Dec. 14) Regional final is set for 10:30 pm Central and will air on ESPNU.
Don’t I Know You?
Creighton junior Katie Neisler should be quite familiar with the play of Arkansas sophomore Liz Fortado, as the two were high school teammates at Marcus High School in Flower Mound, Texas.
Jays Avoid A House of Horejsi
Die hard Creighton fans will be relieved to learn that this weekend’s NCAA Tournament games will be played at Allen Fieldhouse, rather than KU’s normal venue, the Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
Creighton is 0-7 all-time in matches played at Horejsi Family Athletics Center. CU went 0-3 in tournaments there in 2003 (North Carolina, Kansas, Arkansas) and 2009 (Florida International, Lipscomb, Kansas), and also lost a non-conference contest in 2012.
This will be Creighton Volleyball’s first matches played at Allen Fieldhouse, the regular venue for KU Basketball. Then again, Creighton women’s basketball has its last seven games inside Allen Fieldhouse since a 2002 victory, including five setbacks since 2009.
Facts About The Lawrence Bracket
It’s not just a cliche to say that anyone can come out of the four-team bracket of evenly-matched teams in Lawrence.
The quartet of Arkansas, Creighton, Kansas and Wichita State is nation’s only four-team sub-regional that contains four teams with an RPI of 36 or better.
The Lawrence sub-regional is also the nation’s only quartet of teams without a team in the top-20 of this week’s AVCA poll.
A Nebraska Flavor
The state of Nebraska annually is among the national leaders for volleyball players per capita, and this weekend’s tournament will help prove that fact.
Kansas has three Nebraska natives on the roster, while Wichita State’s top player also hails from the Cornhusker State.
KU’s roster includes Papillion native Chelsea Albers, Omaha’s Sara McClinton and Lincoln’s Maggie Anderson. Albers and McClinton were both named First Team All-Big 12.
Albers attended Papillion-La Vista High School, McClinton attended Millard North High School, and Anderson went to Lincoln Southwest High School.
While at Millard North, McClinton was a teammate of current Creighton setter Michelle Sicner. Sicner was a Second-Team All-BIG EAST choice.
Wichita State setter Chelsey Feekin hails from the Omaha suburb of Papillion, Neb., where she attended Papillion-La Vista High School and was a teammate of KU’s Albers. Feekin was named MVC Co-Player of the Year.
Creighton owns six players from Nebraska, including four regular starters (plus its libero) who have started nearly every match.
Thorn In Their Side
Creighton is 7-2 since the start of the 2010 season against Wichita State, exceeding the number of CU wins (6) in the series from 2001-09.
Since the start of 2010, only 19 different programs have defeated Wichita State. Of those 19, the only two teams to beat WSU more than once have been Northern Iowa (8 times), Creighton (7), Illinois State (2), Missouri State and Hawai’i (2).
Put It In Neutral
Creighton has won 10 of its last 12 matches against teams on neutral floors, including wins vs. No. 13 BYU in the 2013 season-opener, a win over Marquette in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, and a victory over Wichita State in the 2012 MVC Tournament final.
Been There, Done That
Seven of Creighton’s last 10 wins against the Shockers have been five-set victories. Both Wichita State and Creighton are 3-2 in five-set contests this fall.
Creighton is 8-1 in its last eight five-set matches against Wichita State, and has won a five-set match against the Shockers in each of the last four seasons.
Last year Creighton overcame an 0-2 deficit to win at Wichita State, the program’s first win (against any foe) after trailing 0-2 since 2007.
It’s also worth noting that Creighton has survived a Wichita State match point and rallied to win three times in 11 years under Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
In Creighton’s first 28 matches of the season, only Kate Elman (five times) had reached 20 digs in a match.
On Nov. 29th vs. Xavier, Creighton had different three players with at least 20 digs, as Elman (24), Jess Bird (22) and Michelle Sicner (21) reached that milestone.
Bird’s 22 digs were four more than her previous best, while Sicner’s 21 were a career high, as well.
Sicner, who added 44 assists, became the first Bluejay player with at least 20 digs and 20 assists in the same match since Sicner herself did it on Sept. 30, 2011. Prior to that, the last player to do it had been Korie Lebeda in 2006.
Sicner is just the fourth player in Creighton history with multiple matches of 20+ digs and 20+ assists in a match, joining Melissa Weisensee, Kailey Reyes and Brittany Coleman.
Creighton’s 96 digs on vs. Xavier were a season-high, and were tied for the most in history for any match at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Give Me Five
Creighton featured a balanced attack vs. Xavier last Friday, as five women had 10 or more kills, and five women had 10 or more digs, as well.
Prior to Nov. 29th, Creighton had not had any matches that saw five players with either 10 digs or 10 kills all season long.
It was the first time that Creighton had five women with 10+ kills since doing so on Nov. 16, 2012 at Wichita State.
It was also the first time that Creighton had five women with 10+ digs since doing so on Nov. 10, 2012.
Creighton had not had five players with 10 or more kills AND 10 or more digs in the same match since a Oct. 15, 2005 win at Southern Illinois.
Creighton is 22-4 at home the past two seasons, with two of those setbacks coming during the Bluejay Invitational, and another loss coming in the BIG EAST Tournament. Creighton is also now 40-5 in its last 45 home matches against unranked competition.
All-time, Creighton is 51-18 (.739) at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Against conference foes, Creighton is 18-2 the past two years at D.J. Sokol Arena, and 40-7 all-time against conference foes (including the 2009 MVC Tournament and 2013 BIG EAST Tournaments).
Set 1 Result = Match Result
Creighton is 176-20 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when it wins set one. In that same time span, CU is just 33-107 under Booth when it drops the first set.
Creighton has also won 34 home straight contests when winning the first set.
Creighton went 24-1 last 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.
This year’s team is 22-2 when leading in sets played at any point of a match.
Kate Elman owns double-digit digs in each of her last 21 matches, a streak that started on Sept. 20th.
With 24 digs vs. Xavier last Friday, Elman became the first player in Creighton history with multiple double-digit dig streaks of 20 or longer in her career.
The school record streak is 43, set by Janeen Piller nearly a decade ago.
Consecutive Matches, 10 or More Digs
43 Janeen Piller, Oct. 10, 2003-Nov. 26, 2004
32 Kate Elman, Aug. 24 - Nov. 30, 2012
27 Bianca Rivera, Aug. 24-Nov. 9, 2007
23 Julianne Mandolfo, Sept. 9-Nov. 24, 2011
21 Kate Elman, Sept. 20, 2013 - Present
19 Bianca Rivera, Sept. 20-Nov. 28, 2008
A Bunch Of Winners
Creighton has experienced a great deal of success in recent seasons, and the current squad has enjoyed victories at historic levels.
Creighton’s 51 victories in the past two seasons are five more than other two-year span in program history, previoiusly done from 2011-12.
Creighton’s 68 victories in the past three seasons are the most in any three-year span in program history, one more than the 2010-12 total of 67.
Creighton’s 89 victories in the past four seasons are eight more than other four-year span in program history, which was done from 2009-12.
Michelle Sicner had near-identical numbers while posting a pair of triple-doubles in home wins over Marquette and DePaul earlier this season.
Sicner had 39 assists, 12 digs and 12 kills on Oct. 11 in four sets vs. DePaul, then followed that up with 33 assists, 15 digs and 12 kills on Oct. 13 in a 3-0 sweep of Marquette. In both matches, Sicner had identical hitting lines of 12 kills and one error in 19 swings for a .579 hitting percentage.
Sicner had her third triple-double of the fall on Nov. 1 when she had 44 assists, 10 kills and 10 blocks vs. St. John’s.
Sicner is the second player in Creighton history to post consecutive triple-doubles, as Megan Bober did it three times. Her four triple-doubles in a season are third-most in school history, and her five career triple-doubles are also second-most in Bluejay annals.
Matches With a Triple-Double, Season
T-D Name Year
9 Megan Bober 2011
6 Megan Bober 2012
4 Michelle Sicner 2013
1 Melissa Weisensee 1994
1 JoDe Cieloha 1995
1 JoDe Cieloha 1996
1 Melissa Weisensee 1997
1 Kailey Reyes 1998
1 Kailey Reyes 1999
1 Kailey Reyes 2000
1 Kailey Reyes 2001
1 Michelle Sicner 2011
Matches With a Triple-Double, Career
T-D Name Years
15 Megan Bober 2009-12
5 Michelle Sicner 2011-Pres.
4 Kailey Reyes 1998-2001
2 Melissa Weisensee 1994-97
2 JoDe Cieloha 1994-97
Jays vs. Ranked Teams
Creighton’s win over No. 13 BYU on Aug. 30 marked the team’s third win over a ranked foe in the last five seasons. The Jays defeated No. 25 Wichita State in 2009 and No. 16 Iowa State in 2010. The victory over BYU was the highest-ranked team that Creighton has ever beaten.
Creighton is 3-51 all-time against ranked schools (3-35 under Kirsten Bernthal Booth), and 0-18 vs. top-10 clubs. That includes an 0-26 road record, 1-18 at home and 2-7 at neutral sites.
Creighton vs. Ranked Teams All-Time
Date Opponent Result
09/01/98 at #5 Nebraska L 0-3
09/04/98 vs. #19 Texas A&M (@Pacific) L 0-3
09/05/98 at #11 Pacific L 0-3
09/14/99 at #24 Kansas State L 0-3
10/16/99 #19 Northern Iowa L 0-3
09/08/00 at #6 Hawai’i L 0-3
10/03/00 at #1 Nebraska L 0-3
09/08/01 at #24 Santa Clara L 1-3
09/09/01 vs. #13 UC Santa Barbara (at Santa Clara) L 0-3
09/25/01 at #1 Nebraska L 0-3
10/13/01 #16 Northern Iowa L 0-3
11/09/01 at #18 Northern Iowa L 0-3
09/06/02 vs. #13 Pacific (at Columbia, S.C.) L 0-3
09/21/02 at #7 Northern Iowa L 1-3
09/29/02 at #5 Nebraska L 0-3
10/18/02 #10 Northern Iowa L 0-3
10/04/03 at #10 Northern Iowa L 1-3
11/01/03 #12 Northern Iowa L 1-3
10/10/04 vs. #5 Nebraska (North Platte, Neb.) L 0-3
09/06/05 at #24 Kansas State L 0-3
09/10/05 vs. #3 Stanford (Boulder, Colo.) L 0-3
10/11/05 at #1 Nebraska L 0-3
10/29/05 at #25 Wichita State L 1-3
09/24/06 #1 Nebraska L 1-3
08/31/07 at #1 Nebraska L 0-3
09/02/07 #18 Cal Poly L 0-3
09/15/07 at #13 Minnesota L 1-3
11/10/07 at #24 Wichita State L 0-3
08/29/08 #16 Minnesota L 0-3
08/30/08 #21 LSU L 2-3
09/27/08 #14 Wichita State L 1-3
10/05/08 #2 Nebraska L 0-3
10/24/08 at #12 Wichita State L 0-3
08/29/09 #10 Illinois L 0-3
09/01/09 at #6 Nebraska L 0-3
10/02/09 #25 Wichita State W 3-1
11/10/09 #20 Saint Louis L 0-3
11/20/09 at #21 Northern Iowa L 1-3
11/27/09 #20 Northern Iowa L 0-3
09/01/10 #7 Nebraska L 0-3
09/24/10 #16 Northern Iowa L 1-3
10/23/10 at #14 Northern Iowa L 0-3
11/27/10 at #11 Northern Iowa L 1-3
12/03/10 vs. #16 Iowa State (Minneapolis) W 3-2
12/04/10 at #12 Minnesota L 0-3
09/08/11 at #11 Nebraska L 0-3
10/15/11 #12 Northern Iowa L 0-3
11/11/11 at #12 Northern Iowa L 1-3
09/01/12 #21 Kansas State L 0-3
12/01/12 at #11 Minnesota L 1-3
08/30/13 vs. #13 BYU (Bowling Green, Ohio) W 3-1
09/14/13 vs. #11 UCLA (Denver, Colo) L 1-3
09/20/13 vs. #7 Hawai’i (Wichita, Kan.) L 2-3
11/30/13 #24 Marquette L 1-3
Creighton enters this week second in the nation with 3.02 blocks per set. Fellow BIG EAST rival Butler isn’t far behind, sitting fifth with 2.99 blocks per set.
Last season Creighton finished fourth with 3.06 blocks per set, and in 2009 CU was third with 3.08 blocks per set.
Rank Team Blocks/Set
1. Penn State 3.08
2. Creighton 3.02
3. Stanford 3.02
4. Dayton 3.00
5. Butler 2.98
Browning For The Block
Kelli Browning owns 167 blocks this season, third-most in Creighton history. Last year she set a CU record with 204 rejections, and she can move into second place this season with four more stuffs.
Total Blocks, Season
Name Sets BS BA Tot. Year
1. Kelli Browning 124 15 189 204 2012
2. Ashley Williams 115 27 143 170 2003
3. Kelli Browning 113 18 149 167 2013
4. Jessica Houts 115 12 154 166 2009
5. Jessica Houts 116 23 123 146 2006
Elman Reaches 1,000 Digs
Sophomore libero Kate Elman became the 12th Bluejay player to reach 1,000 digs when she reached the milestone at Seton Hall on Nov. 16th.
Elman reached the milestone in her 59th career match, third-quickest in Bluejay history. She joins Julianne Mandolfo as the second sophomore in school history to reach that mark.
Below is a list of how long it took each Bluejay to reach the 1,000 career dig club.
Creighton’s Quickest Players To 1,000 Digs (Career)
Name MP Date Opponent
Bianca Rivera 53 11/08/08 Illinois State
Julianne Mandolfo 56 10/22/11 Evansville
Kate Elman 59 11/16/13 at Seton Hall
Nayka Benitez 60 11/27/10 at Northern Iowa
Kailey Reyes 77 09/01/01 vs. UTSA
Janeen Piller 80 09/25/04 at Missouri State
Melissa Walsh 85 09/08/01 at #24 Santa Clara
Allie Oelke 95 09/04/10 vs. Iowa
Melissa Weisensee 97 10/04/97 at Missouri State
Sarah Schulze 101 11/13/09 Southern Illinois
Korie Lebeda 108 10/17/08 Evansville
Megan Bober 118 10/27/12 Southern Illinois
Creighton MB Kelli Browning tied for the national lead with 204 blocks last season, and is picking up where she left off. The preseason BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year entered this week with 1.48 blocks per set, 11th-best nationally, amongst the NCAA stat leaders.
Browning owns 404 career blocks, sixth-most in Creighton history. She set the Creighton record for fewest matches to 300 career blocks against South Dakota on Sept. 21st. That came in her 65th career match, three quicker than the previous mark held by Jessica Houts (68).
Browning also reached 400 career blocks quicker than any player in school history, doing so on Nov. 29 vs. Xavier in her 83rd carer contest. The old mark was 88 by Jessica Houts.
Creighton’s Quickest Players To 400 Total Blocks
Name MP Date Opponent
Kelli Browning 83 11/29/13 Xavier
Jessica Houts 88 10/31/08 at Drake
Ashley Williams 96 10/08/04 Drake
JoDe Cieloha 100 10/31/97 Missouri State
Laurel Sanford 105 11/12/11 at Bradley
Megan Bober 123 11/16/12 at Wichita State
302 and Counting
Creighton Volleyball owns 302 wins since restarting its program prior to the 1994 season, reaching the 300 win mark in last Friday’s sweep of Georgetown.
Here’s a look at how long its taken to reach each milestone:
Creighton’s Milestone Wins Since 1994
W-L Opponent Date
1-0 vs. Chattanooga 09/02/94
50-91 Southern Illinois 09/10/99
100-160 at Bradley 10/04/03
150-197 Drake 09/22/06
200-224 Texas Tech 08/28/09
250-263 Wichita State 11/04/11
300-278 Georgetown 11/22/13
Summarizing Savannah Smith
Creighton honored Savannah Smith prior to its Nov. 24 match as part of Senior Day festivities.
Though just a junior eligibility-wise, Smith is enrolled in her fourth year academically and plans to graduate in the spring.
Smith has been a part of NCAA Tournament teams in 2010, 2012 and 2013, but was injured in 2011 when the Bluejays did not qualify for the postseason.
Smith Earns League Honor, Again
Creighton Volleyball’s Lauren Smith was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Nov. 11.
A redshirt freshman from Lincoln, Neb., Smith averaged a whopping 2.86 blocks per set while adding 1.43 kills per set in road wins at Villanova (3-0) and Georgetown (3-1).
She hit .429 and had seven kills and eight blocks on Friday while helping Creighton become the first team all season to sweep Villanova at Nevin Field House.
On Saturday, Smith had 12 blocks and three kills in a victory at Georgetown. The 12 blocks were most in school history by a freshman for any match, and third-most in CU history for any player in a four-set match.
It was the second time this fall that Smith has been named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week, joining her honor from Sept. 16.
Bird’s Flying High
Freshman Jess Bird owns eight double-doubles in her last 11 outings, and 11 overall on the season. In the last 11 matches Bird has averaged 11.55 kills and 12.72 digs per match.
Earlier this month, Bird became the first Bluejay freshman with three straight double-doubles since Allie Oelke did on Sept. 11-15, 2007.
Bird’s 11 double-doubles mark the third straight season CU has had a freshman with at least seven double-dips, joining current teammates Melanie Jereb (7 in 2012) and Michelle Sicner (7 in 2011), and are the most by any Bluejay freshman since Allie Oelke had 14 in 2007.
21+ Wins, Again
When Kirsten Bernthal Booth arrived at Creighton, the school-record for wins in a season was 16 done by the 2000 club.
Now in her 11th season at Creighton, Booth has led Creighton to 16 wins or more nine times, including a 22-8 mark this fall heading into the NCAA Tournament. This is the fifth time Booth has led Creighton to 20 or more victories in a year.
Creighton won a school-record 29 matches in 2012, 22 wins this season, and 21 contests in 2006, 2007 and 2010.
One Of The Best
Creighton’s been on quite a run since the start of last season to rank among the nation’s best clubs. Combine a 29-4 campaign in 2012 with this year’s 22-8 start and Creighton is 51-12.
The 51-12 mark gives the Jays an .810 win percentage in that span, tied for 19th-best nationally.
Creighton’s 51 wins in the same span rank tied for 15th nationally.
Best Win Percentages, Since 2012 (thru 12/1/13)
Name W L Pct.
Penn State 61 5 .924
Texas 52 6 .897
Central Arkansas 59 8 .881
Hawai’i 51 7 .879
Florida 54 8 .871
Western Kentucky 60 10 .857
Stanford 54 9 .857
Washington 51 9 .850
Colorado State 49 9 .845
North Carolina 53 10 .841
USC 56 11 .836
BYU 50 10 .833
Louisville 53 11 .828
Florida State 52 11 .825
San Diego 45 10 .818
American 53 12 .815
Georgia Southern 53 12 .815
Missouri 53 12 .815
Marquette 52 12 .813
Creighton 51 12 .810
Charleston 52 13 .800
Most Wins, Since 2012 (thru 12/1/13)
Name W L Pct.
Penn State 61 5 .924
Western Kentucky 60 10 .857
Central Arkansas 59 8 .881
USC 56 11 .836
Florida 54 8 .871
Stanford 54 9 .857
Minnesota 54 14 .794
North Carolina 53 10 .841
Louisville 53 11 .828
American 53 12 .815
Georgia Southern 53 12 .815
Missouri 53 12 .815
Morehead State 53 14 .791
Texas 52 6 .897
Florida State 52 11 .825
Marquette 52 12 .813
Charleston 52 13 .800
Wichita State 52 16 .765
Hawai’i 51 7 .879
Washington 51 9 .850
Creighton 51 12 .810
VCU 51 14 .785
BYU 50 10 .833
Tulsa 50 17 .746
Ready, Set, Go
Ashley Jansen’s first four career starts at setter paid big dividends, as the sophomore directed Creighton to three wins in four road contests from Nov. 8-16.
Jansen had 29 assists, five digs and three kills in a 3-0 win at Villanova on Nov. 9 before having 39 assists, 10 digs, three blocks and three kills in a 3-1 victory at Georgetown the following day. The Georgetown contest marked her first career double-double, and the fifth Bluejay with a double-dip this season.
Splitting time with Michelle Sicner on Nov. 15-16, Jansen then had 16 assists, five digs and three aces in a 3-1 win at St. John’s before she had 16 assists, seven digs and a career-high four kills in a 3-1 setback against Seton Hall.
Smith Has Block Party
Lauren Smith had 12 blocks in the Nov. 9th 3-1 win at Georgetown, most in Creighton history by a freshman. She had already shared the previous freshman record of nine with Megan Bober.
Smith’s 1.16 blocks per set so far this season lead all BIG EAST freshmen, and are the 16th-best nationwide among her classmates.
All Four One
Creighton hit .372 in its four-set win over DePaul on the afternoon of Oct. 26, the third-best mark in program history for a four-set contest.
The only matches the Jays have done better were .418 vs. Evansville on Nov. 2, 1996 and a .380 mark at Southern Illinois on Oct. 6, 2001.
Michelle Sicner owned a double-double in eight straight matches from Sept. 21 - Oct. 20, tying a school record set in 2000 by Melissa Walsh. She came up just short of having the record to herself, as she finished with 25 assists and nine digs at Marquette on Oct. 25.
Consecutive Matches, Double-Double
8 Melissa Walsh, Oct. 24-Nov. 17, 2000
8 Michelle Sicner, Sept. 21-Oct. 20, 2013
7 Korie Lebeda, Nov. 4-24, 2006
7 Kailey Reyes, Oct. 23-Nov. 18, 1999
7 Megan Bober, Oct. 26-Nov. 16, 2012
Browning Earns Top Nod
Kelli Browning was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on Oct. 21 after helping Creighton to wins over Xavier and Butler, moving the Bluejays into first place in the BIG EAST standings for the first time. Browning led Creighton by averaging team-bests of 3.22 kills, 1.11 blocks and hit .420 on the weekend.
Browning helped Creighton to a come-from-behind 3-2 win vs. Xavier on Friday night with 14 kills and five blocks on .458 hitting. After CU lost the first set, Browning had five kills in as many swings during the second set. She would later add two kills and two blocks in the fifth set win, including a stuff to give CU a 12-11 lead it would never surrender.
She concluded her weekend with a match-best 15 kills, tying a season-high, and adding a team-best five blocks in a 3-1 win over Butler in which she hit .385.
Browning was also flawless in 14 service attempts after entering the week with just six serves all fall.
A pair of Creighton Volleyball players were honored by the BIG EAST Conference on Oct. 14 after a 2-0 weekend that included victories over DePaul and Marquette.
Michelle Sicner was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week, while Jess Bird was named BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week. It was Sicner’s second BIG EAST honor of the season, joining the recognition she received Sept. 2. It was the first BIG EAST plaudit of Bird’s young career.
Sicner had triple-doubles in both matches to help Creighton to wins over DePaul (3-1) and Marquette (3-0) in the first two BIG EAST home matches in program history, hitting .579 while averaging 10.29 assists, 3.86 digs, 3.43 kills and 0.57 blocks per set. For the week, Sicner led Creighton in assists (72), kills (24), digs (27) and hitting percentage (.579) in seven sets of work.
Bird helped Creighton to a pair of home wins while averaging 2.86 kills, 2.29 digs and 1.00 blocks per set. Bird opened her week with 12 kills, seven digs, five blocks, four assists and two aces in a 3-1 win vs. DePaul in which she hit .333, then had eight kills, nine digs, two blocks and an assist in a 3-0 sweep of league-leading Marquette on Sunday.
A Dramatic 200th
Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth enters this weekend with a 209-127 record in her 11th year with the Bluejay program, after picking up her 200th win with a 3-2 triumph over Xavier on Oct. 18.
Booth became the program’s winningest coach in program history in 2007, and picked up her 100th victory on Oct. 31, 2008 vs. Drake.
She has beaten 66 different schools to amass the 209 wins at CU, and can add Arkansas to that list on Friday.
Booth’s Milestone Wins
W-L Opponent Date
1-1 vs. Auburn 8/30/03
50-43 Jacksonville State 9/1/06
100-71 at Drake 10/31/08
150-108 Drake 9/16/11
200-123 Xavier 10/18/13
Just Plain Sick
In addition to earning top honors from the BIG EAST Conference, Michelle Sicner was also named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 15th.
Sicner is the first player in program history to earn the honor from the AVCA.
Michelle Sicner became the second setter in Creighton history with 10 or more blocks in a match when she had 10 rejections against St. John’s on Nov. 1.
Megan Bober’s 11 blocks vs. Tulsa on Sept. 8, 2012, are the most by a Bluejay player with 10 or more assists in the same contest.
Creighton’s crowd of 2,109 on Oct. 13 vs. Marquette was the eighth-largest in program history, and fifth-largest ever at D.J. Sokol Arena.
In addition, the attendance was the largest home crowd for any BIG EAST Volleyball home match this season.
Below is a list of CU’s 10 largest home crowds ever, with matches at D.J. Sokol Arena in bold.
Largest Home Crowds
Att. Opponent Date CU Result
13,081 #18 Cal Poly 09/02/07 L 0-3
12,112 #1 Nebraska 09/24/06 L 1-3
8,037 #2 Nebraska 10/05/08 L 0-3
2,514 #7 Nebraska 08/31/10 L 0-3
2,325 Northern Iowa 10/05/12 W 3-1
2,285 Texas Tech 08/28/09 W 3-0
2,135 Bradley 10/14/11 W 3-1
2,109 Marquette 10/13/13 W 3-0
1,832 Xavier 10/18/13 W 3-2
1,557 Northern Iowa 11/21/08 W 3-0
After playing just five Sunday home matches in Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s first 10 years at Creighton, the Bluejays had four home tilts on a Sunday this season.
Including the near-capacity crowd of 2,109 on Oct. 13, Creighton is now averaging 4,528 fans in nine home matches played on a Sunday under Booth. That list includes five of the top nine home crowds in program history.
Another 45 Record
Creighton’s win vs. Marquette on Oct. 13 was the program’s 45th at D.J. Sokol Arena, its most in any facility in history.
CU is now 51-18 all-time at the five-year old facility, surpassing the 44-26 mark attained at the Omaha Civic Auditorium from 2003-08.
Creighton Volleyball finished its non-conference season with a 9-3 record against some of the nation’s best teams. Six of the opponents have been ranked in the top-25 this season.
Not counting their result vs. Creighton, the 12 squads were a combined 230-121 (.655). The teams are also 134-72 (.650) in league play this year.
Jays Fall Out Of AVCA Voting Range
After a 10-week run in the AVCA poll dating to Nov. 5, 2012, Creighton fell out of the AVCA Top 25 poll released on Oct. 7th.
Creighton received votes in the AVCA poll just once in its first 18 years, but had a streak of 21 straight polls with votes from Sept. 10, 2012 until Oct. 28, 2013 before falling out of the Nov. 4, 2013 poll completely. The Jays returned among those “also receiving votes” on Nov. 25th, earning 11 votes to rank 30th, and nabbed nine votes on Dec. 2nd to rank 31st.
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
12/18/12 172 24th
08/12/13 133 25th
09/02/13 423 19th
09/09/13 180 24th
09/16/13 164 23rd
09/23/13 211 23rd
09/30/13 216 22nd
10/07/13 32 T-33rd
10/14/13 60 30th
10/21/13 63 26th
10/28/13 20 T-31st
11/25/13 11 30th
12/02/13 9 31st
Taking The Fifth
One major reason for Creighton’s success in recent seasons has been its play on the road in the fifth set.
Creighton has won five straight road matches to go five sets, including wins last year over Northern Iowa, Wichita State and Missouri State, and wins this year at Denver and Wichita State.
It’s also worth noting that Creighton is 6-1 all-time in five-set home matches at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Strength In Numbers
Creighton finished non-conference play with five victories over teams that reached the 2012 NCAA Tournament. On a national level, Hawai’i and Wisconsin were the only schools more such victories (both six), while Penn State and VCU joined Creighton as the only other schools to claim five such wins.
Let’s take a look at how Creighton’s stats in 2013 compare to the last three seasons.
Stat 2013 2012 2011 2010
W-L 22-8 29-4 17-14 21-12
Postseason NCAA NCAA None NCAA
Tourney Titles 1 3 0 0
Kills/Set 13.53 13.39 12.75 13.52
Hitting % .220 .247 .203 .214
Aces/Set 1.02 1.24 1.13 1.27
Digs/Set 15.73 17.32 17.23 18.94
Blocks/Set 3.02 3.06 2.54 2.36
Have You Heard?
Freshman OH Jess Bird made an immediate impact in her first tournament. Bird had a match-high 14 kills and added 12 digs in Creighton’s 3-1 win over No. 13 BYU on August 30th.
Bird’s 14 kills were the most ever for a player making their Creighton debut, one more than the 13 by JoDe Cieloha in 1994.
Bird’s double-double made her the fourth player in CU history to debut with a double-double, but first with a kill-dig double-dip since Cieloha also did it in 1994. The last CU player with a double-double debut had been setter Korie Lebeda (39 assists, 10 digs) in 2005.
Bird added 10 kills in her second career match, joining Cieloha as the second player in CU history with double-digit kills to start a career. 5ieloha did it in eight straight matches to begin her career.
Bird enters the NCAA Tournament averaging 2.47 kills and 2.85 digs per set. By comparison, Melanie Jereb averaged 2.47 kills and 2.74 digs per set as a freshman last year when she would go on to be named first-team All-MVC.
Speaking of Freshmen
Lauren Smith is averaging 2.25 kills and 1.16 blocks per set. Only one player in CU history has finished her freshmen year surpassing both those marks, Jessica Houts.
Houts averaged 2.84 kills and 1.27 blocks per set as a freshman in 2005.
Sicner Reaches 1,000 Assists
Michelle Sicner became the sixth player in Creighton Volleyball’s modern (since 1994) history to reach 1,000 career assists on Oct. 4 at Butler.
Sicner achieved the milestone in her 72nd career match, and her 267th set overall.
Sicner is the first junior in program history to reach the 1,000-assist career mark. Each of the first five players reached that mark as freshmen or sophomores.
Creighton boasts two freshmen who are averaging at least two kills per set, Jess Bird (2.47) and Lauren Smith (2.25).
There have been just three previous seasons where multiple freshmen averaged 2.00 kills per set or more. It’s also happened in 1998 (Melissa Walsh & Erin Swanson), 2004 (Kelly Goc & Carolyn Decker) and 2005 (Amanda Cvejdlik & Jessica Houts).
Those six women listed above combined for eight First-Team all-MVC honors and three additional Second-Team all-MVC accolades in their careers.
Smith’s Record-Setting Week
Redshirt freshman Lauren Smith etched her name in the Creighton record book in two different matches in mid-September. Smith’s nine blocks vs. Kansas on September 10th tied the Creighton record by a freshman in one match, previously done by Megan Bober on Sept. 4, 2009 vs. Lipscomb.
On September 13 against Cal State Northridge, Smith hit .909 with 10 kills in 11 errorless swings. That ranks as the best hitting percentage in Creighton history by any player with a minimum of 10 swings.
For her efforts, Smith was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on September 16.
Creighton has had seven players earn All-Tournament Team honors at least once this season.
Week one saw Michelle Sicner earn MVP honors and join Kelli Browning and Lauren Smith on the All-Tournament Team at the Hampton Inn Invitational, while Melanie Jereb and Leah McNary earned All-Tourney accolades at the Bluejay Invitational. Sicner and McNary were honored at the Denver Invitational, while Jess Bird and Kate Elman picked up recognition at the Shocker Volleyball Classic.
No Ordinary Smith
Redshirt freshman MB Lauren Smith averaged 2.57 kills and 0.71 blocks per set while hitting a league-best .531 at the season-opening Hampton Inn Invitational. As a result, she became the second CU freshman in program history to earn All-Tournament Team honors in her first event as a collegian, joining JoDe Cieloha in 1994.
Smith had nine kills in 14 errorless swings to hit .643 in her debut, a 3-1 win vs. No. 13 BYU. She added four blocks in the win over the highest-ranked team Creighton has ever beaten.
The following morning, Smith once again had nine kills on .444 hitting while adding a block and two digs in a 3-0 sweep at Mid-American Conference favorite Bowling Green.
Smith is the only CU player ever with nine or more kills on .350 or better hitting in each of the first two matches of her career.
Some Fab Freshmen
Including Jess Bird on Aug. 30 vs. BYU, Creighton has started six true freshmen in a season opener in the last four years, and 12 such players since 2000.
Since 2000, the only true freshmen to start CU’s season-opener have been Brittany Coleman (2003), Carolyn Decker (2004), Korie Lebeda (2005), Allie Oelke (2007), Brooke Boggs (2009), Heather Thorson (2009), Julianne Mandolfo (2010), Katie Neisler (2011), Michelle Sicner (2011), Melanie Jereb (2012), Ashley Jansen (2012) and Bird (2013).
Seven of those 11 women (Coleman, Decker, Lebeda, Oelke, Mandolfo, Sicner and Jereb) went on to land a spot on the MVC’s All-Freshman Team. The BIG EAST does not award and All-Freshman Team.
As A Ranked Team
All-time, Creighton is 17-5 when playing as a ranked team in the AVCA poll, including a 16-2 mark versus unranked teams.
Creighton As A Ranked Team All-Time
Date CU Rank Opponent Result
11/09/12 25 Indiana State W 3-0
11/10/12 25 Illinois State W 3-1
11/16/12 23 at Wichita State W 3-2
11/17/12 23 at Missouri State W 3-2
11/23/12 21 vs. Illinois State W 3-1
11/24/12 21 vs. Wichita State W 3-0
11/30/12 21 vs. Marquette W 3-0
12/01/12 21 at #11 Minnesota L 1-3
08/30/13 25 vs. #13 BYU W 3-1
08/31/13 25 at Bowling Green W 3-0
09/06/13 19 Northern Colorado W 3-0
09/07/13 19 South Florida W 3-0
09/07/13 19 California L 0-3
09/10/13 24 Kansas W 3-1
09/13/13 24 vs. Cal St. Northridge W 3-0
09/13/13 24 at Denver W 3-2
09/14/13 24 vs. #11 UCLA L 1-3
09/20/13 23 vs. #7 Hawai’i L 2-3
09/21/13 23 vs. South Dakota W 3-0
09/22/13 23 at Wichita State W 3-2
10/04/13 22 at Butler L 1-3
10/05/13 22 at Xavier W 3-1
Speaking Of Smith
Lauren Smith is off to a fantastic start to her freshman campaign, with 254 kills and 131 blocks while hitting .290 to date.
Her junior teammate Kelli Browning was named an Honorable-Mention All-American as a sophomore and Preseason BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year as a junior, but Browning recorded season totals of 54 kills and 33 blocks on .197 hitting in 2011 as a freshman.
Use The Fours
Creighton went 13-2 last season in four-set matches. According to numbers crunched by Rich Kern of RichKern.com fame, the 13 four-set wins led the country in 2012, one more than Georgia Southern.
This year’s team is 9-4 in four-set matches.
2-0 Better Than 0-2
Creighton is 192-8 (.960) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 134-2 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. They own an 90-4 all-time mark in home matches they lead 2-0 in.
Conversely, the Jays are 7-175 (.038) all-time when trailing a match 0-2, including an 0-60 mark in those home matches. 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
Survival of the Fittest
Creighton has won six matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth after surviving an opponent’s match point. Three of those wins have come against Wichita State.
On the other hand, Creighton is 209-2 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, and two other match points on Nov. 1, 2013 in a 17-15 fifth set loss to St. John’s.
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
Taking The Fifth
Creighton is 36-19 in five-set matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, including a 3-2 mark this year and an 12-5 home record in five-setters. 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
2013 3-2 22-8
Total 51-47 302-279
Creighton returned 9-of-14 letterwinners to the court from last season. Below is a breakdown of the production that returns:
Stat Returners Departures
Points 1705.5 (77.8%) 487.5 (22.2%)
Kills 1164 (70.1%) 496 (29.9%)
Digs 1468 (68.3%) 680 (31.7%)
Aces 104 (67.5%) 50 (32.5%)
Matches Started 126 (63.6%) 72 (36.4%)
Blocks 237.5 (62.7%) 141.5 (37.3%)
Assists 256 (16.9%) 1260 (83.1%)
This is the 11th straight season that Creighton Volleyball had at least one product of Omaha Marian High School on the roster, as sophomores Kate Elman and Ashley Jansen are in 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.
2013: Kate Elman, Ashley Jansen
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
Just Do It, Again
Eleven of Creighton’s 29 wins last year came against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams in Ball State, Tulsa, Marquette, Northern Colorado, Missouri State, (twice), Northern Iowa (twice) and Wichita State (three times).
This year’s 22 wins include six triumphs over squads that were in the 2012 NCAA Tournament (BYU, Bowling Green, Northern Colorado, Kansas, Wichita State, Marquette).
Year W-L vs. Previous Season NCAA Teams
TOTAL Under Booth 39-65
The Votes Add Up
Creighton had six matches scheduled against teams that received votes in the preseason AVCA Top 25 poll, including five teams in the top-25.
Creighton had matches against teams that were preseason ranked No. 11 (Hawai’i), No. 12 (UCLA), No. 13 (BYU), No. 20 (Kansas) and No. 24 (Wichita State).
Creighton also hosted Cal, which received enough points to finish 37th in the voting.
Among teams in the preseason top-25, Creighton’s five non-conference matches vs. top-25 foes was tied for the national lead with Texas, Hawai’i, Florida State and Western Kentucky.
BIG EAST Preseason Poll
Creighton was picked to win the BIG EAST Conference in a preseason poll of league coaches.
CU received 63 points in the poll and seven of a possible eight first-place votes. Marquette received the remained votes for first place and was second with 57 points, while Xavier was third with 50 points.
Creighton also led the way with three of the 12 members on the BIG EAST’s preseason all-conference team, a trio that included Kelli Browning, Melanie Jereb and Leah McNary.
Browning was named Co-Preseason Player of the Year, an honor she shared with Marquette setter Elizabeth Koberstein.
This is the first time that Creighton Volleyball has ever been picked to win its league, and the school’s first team picked to win the BIG EAST in any sport.
Radio Broadcast Information
Brad Burwell and former Bluejay volleyball player Erin (Swanson) Russell will broadcast at least 10 home matches this season, including the BIG EAST Tournament.
The matches will air on KZOT (1180 AM) or KOIL (1290 AM) and be webcast online at www.gocreighton.com as well. The pre-match show typically 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:
2013 Remaining Broadcast Schedule
Dec. 6 vs. Arkansas (KZOT 1180 AM)
Last Year Summary
Last year’s team finished 29-4 while compiling one of the best seasons from any women’s team in Creighton history. The Bluejays closed their 19-year run in the MVC by winning the program’s first Valley regular-season and Tournament titles.
CU won early-season tournaments at USF and Northern Colorado before clinching the outright league crown with a memorable 3-2 comeback win at rival Wichita State. The Jays would sweep the Shockers eight days later for the Valley Tourney title, and sweep Marquette to open NCAA Tournament play before falling at Minnesota.
Megan Bober was named MVC Player of the Year and Tournament MVP, while Kelli Browning was tabbed MVC Defensive Player of the Year. Both women were named Honorable Mention All-Americans and were joined on the All-MVC First Team by Melanie Jereb.
Kirsten Bernthal Booth was named MVC Coach of the Year and CaptainU National Coach of the Year. Creighton spent four weeks in the AVCA Top 25 for the first time, reaching as high as No. 21 before finishing No. 24.