This Weekend Nov. 8 5 pm CST Creighton at Villanova Villanova, Pa. (Jake Nevin Field House) Nov. 9 6 pm CST Creighton at Georgetown Washington, D.C. (McDonough Arena)
This Weekend Creighton Volleyball (16-6, 7-3 BIG EAST) makes its first venture to the East Coast for league play this weekend for a pair of teams fighting for a spot in the league tournament. On Friday, Creighton visits Villanova (12-11, 4-6 BIG EAST) for a 5 pm Central contest at Jake Nevin Field House (1,500) in Villanova, Pa. On Saturday, Creighton visits Georgetown (10-13, 4-6 BIG EAST) for a 6 pm Central contest at McDonough Arena (2,500).
Radio Information Neither match will be on radio this weekend.
Video Information Both road matches this weekend will have premium video webcasts available for purchase. The Villanova video is available at http://www.villanova.com/allaccess, while the Georgetown video is available at http://www.guhoyas.com/allaccess.
Live Stats Information Both matches this weekend will have free live stats. Visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Stats tab on the top of the page for the exact link. Fans can also access live stats on their mobile phone by clicking on www.gocreightonstats.com.
Scouting Creighton Creighton is 16-6 on the year and tied for second in the BIG EAST Conference with a 7-3 league mark. The Bluejays own six wins over NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago (No. 13 BYU, Bowling Green, Northern Colorado, Kansas, Wichita State and Marquette) and are ranked ninth in this week’s RPI rankings. CU boasts a balanced attack, with six women averaging at least 1.50 kills per set. That group is led by juniors Leah McNary (3.11 kps.) and Kelli Browning (2.38 kps., .339%, 1.49 bps.). Freshmen Lauren Smith (2.23 kps., 1.08 bps., .303%) and Jess Bird (2.26 kps., 2.58 dps.) have made immediate impacts, as well. Setter Michelle Sicner (10.27 aps., 2.73 dps, 1.50 kps.) directs the offense and recently tied a CU record with eight straight double-doubles. Creighton averages 13.43 kills, 1.05 aces, 14.80 digs and 2.96 blocks per set while hitting .227 as a team.
Scouting Villanova Villanova is 12-11 on the season and 4-6 in conference play. The Wildcats own a strong 7-2 mark at home, and will be playing at home for the first time since Oct. 19 this weekend. Lauren Carpenter paces the Wildcats with 3.66 kills per set, with Claire Crutchfield (2.82 kps.) and Gabby Pethokoukis (2.72 kps., .372%) not far behind. The daughter of legendary Nebraska coach Terry Pettit, Emma Pettit (10.79 aps.) runs the Villanova offense. Mariah Henley (5.02 dps.) leads the defense. As a team, Villanova averages 13.02 kills, 1.50 aces, 15.40 digs and 1.81 blocks per set on .224 hitting.
Scouting Georgetown Georgetown brings a 10-13 mark into the weekend and is also 4-6 in BIG EAST action. The Hoyas are 2-4 at home, including last Saturday’s five-set victory over Villanova. Lauren Saar (3.30 kps., 3.34 dps.) is the team’s top attacker, with Dani White (2.74 kps., 1.07 bps., .276%) and Alex Johnson (2.48 kps., 2.56 dps.) also producing strong seasons. Caitlin Brauneis (9.88 aps.) quarterbacks the Hoya offense, while MacKenzie Simpson (3.56 dps.) leads the defense. Georgetown averages 11.81 kills, 1.14 aces, 15.78 digs and 1.85 blocks per set on .164 hitting as a team.
The Coaches Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 203-125 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. Josh Steinbach (Penn State, 2002) is 110-91 in his seventh season at Villanova, making him the longest-tenured coach in program history. Before heading to Villanova, he had been an assistant at Wright State, Cincinnati, Penn State and San Diego Mesa CC. He is assisted by Amy Pauly and Andrew Kroger. Arlisa Williams (Wisconsin, 1993). owns an 87-137 mark in her eight seasons, which also doubles as her career mark. She arrived at Georgetown after four seasons as an assistant at Florida and two seasons at American. She is assisted by Sarah Cullen and Otavio Souza.
Series History vs. Villanova Creighton has never met Villanova.
Series History vs. Georgetown Creighton has never met Georgetown.
Last Weekend Summary Creighton split home matches with St. John’s (L 3-2) and Seton Hall (W 3-0). Freshman Jess Bird had double-doubles in both contests and led CU with 25 kills for the weekend, while Kelli Browning had 19 blocks to head a Bluejay block that averaged 3.81 blocks per set.
Bird’s Flying High Freshman Jess Bird owns three straight double-doubles and six overall on the season. In the last five matches Bird has averaged 11.2 kills and 12.4 digs per match. Bird is the first Bluejay freshman with three straight double-doubles since Allie Oelke did on Sept. 11-15, 2007. With a double-double on Friday, Bird can become the first freshman with four in a row since 1998. Kailey Reyes had a stretch of five straight from Oct. 3-17, 1998, while Melissa Walsh had four in a row from Oct. 3-16, 1998, as well. Bird’s six double-doubles mark the third straight season CU has had a freshman reach that mark, joining current teammates Melanie Jereb (7 in 2012) and Michelle Sicner (7 in 2011).
Beta Blocker 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.
Chasing 1,000 Digs Sophomore libero Kate Elman is quickly closing in on 1,000 career digs. She owns 934 career digs through 55 career matches and is likely to become the 12th Bluejay player to reach 1,000 digs. Below is a list of how long it took each Bluejay to reach the 1,000 career dig club. Elman’s career-high for one match is 35 digs. 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 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
Rare Trip East Creighton hasn’t made many trips to the East Coast since restarting the program in 1994. In fact, this weekend’s trip will be just the third in program history, joining last year’s trip to Tampa and the 2002 trip near the coast to Columbia, S.C. This weekend’s trip will be CU’s first all-time to one of the original 13 Colonies, however.
Sweet 16, 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 16-6 mark this fall heading into this weekend.
RPI Warriors Creighton ranks ninth nationally in the official RPI released by the NCAA on Monday. The eight schools ahead of the Bluejays are Texas, Penn State, Florida, Washington, USC, Missouri, Stanford and Nebraska. Other notable teams behind Creighton include Minnesota (10), Marquette (11), Hawai’i (16) and unbeaten Colorado State (20).
Sweep, Then Swept On Oct. 25 Creighton was swept for the first time in league play in more than two years when Marquette defeated CU by a 3-0 score. It was the first 3-0 loss for the Jays in a conference match since a 3-0 loss to Oct. 15, 2011 vs. Northern Iowa. Additionally, it marked just the second time since CU reinstated volleyball in 1994 that the Bluejays swept and were swept by the same team. The only other time that happened came in 1997 against Indiana State, where CU lost in Terre Haute 3-0 on Oct. 25 but swept the Sycamores 3-0 on Nov. 20 at the MVC Tournament in Normal, Ill.
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 at Southern Illinois on Oct. 6, 2001.
Doubling Up 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.
Weekly Honors 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.
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.
A Dramatic 200th Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth enters this weekend with a 203-125 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 63 different schools to amass the 203 wins at CU. Booth has never faced Villanova or Georgetown. 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
Triple-Double Trouble 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 three triple-doubles in a season are third-most in school history, and her four career triple-doubles are tied for second-most in Bluejay annals. Matches With a Triple-Double, Season T-D Name Year 9 Megan Bober 2011 6 Megan Bober 2012 3 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 4 Kailey Reyes 1998-2001 4 Michelle Sicner 2011-Pres. 2 Melissa Weisensee 1994-97 2 JoDe Cieloha 1994-97
Avoiding Season Sweeps Creighton has lost just 14 times since Oct. 16, 2011, and none of those teams have beaten CU twice in that span. In fact, when facing a team that has beaten the Jays since then, Creighton is a perfect 12-0. The last time CU lost twice to the same team in the same season came in 2011, when Texas A&M, Missouri State and UNI all did it.
Crowded House 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
Sunday Funday After playing just five Sunday home matches in Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s first 10 years at Creighton, the Bluejays have four home tilts on Sunday this season. Including the near-capacity crowd of 2,109 on Oct. 13, Creighton is now averaging 4,968 fans in eight 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 48-17 all-time at the five-year old facility, surpassing the 44-26 mark attained at the Omaha Civic Auditorium from 2003-08.
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 16-6 start and Creighton is 45-10. The 45-10 mark gives the Jays a .818 win percentage in that span, tied for 13th-best nationally. Creighton’s 45 wins in the same span rank tied for 19th nationally. Best Win Percentages, Since 2012 (thru 10/28/13) Name W L Pct. Penn State 53 5 .914 Texas 46 6 .885 Florida 49 7 .875 Central Arkansas 52 8 .867 Hawai’i 45 7 .865 Western Kentucky 55 9 .859 BYU 47 8 .855 Southern California 50 9 .847 Washington 44 8 .846 Colorado State 42 8 .840 Stanford 46 9 .836 North Carolina 46 9 .836 Creighton 45 10 .818 Florida State 45 10 818 VCU 49 11 .817 Georgia Southern 47 11 .810 Louisville 46 11 .807 Minnesota 48 12 .800 San Diego 40 10 .800
Most Wins, Since 2012 (thru 11/4/13) Name W L Pct. Western Kentucky 55 9 .859 Penn State 53 5 .914 Central Arkansas 52 8 .867 Southern California 50 9 .847 Florida 49 7 .875 VCU 49 11 .817 Minnesota 48 12 .800 BYU 47 8 .855 Georgia Southern 47 11 .810 College of Charleston 47 12 .797 Morehead State 47 13 .783 Tulsa 47 14 .770 Texas 46 6 .885 Stanford 46 9 .836 North Carolina 46 9 .836 Louisville 46 11 .807 Missouri 46 12 .793 Hawai’i 45 7 .865 Creighton 45 10 .818 Florida State 45 10 818 American 45 12 .789 Wichita State 45 16 .738
Non-Conference Gauntlet 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 are a combined 183-89 (.673). The teams are also 92-46 (.667) in league play this year.
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.
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. 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
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 home matches at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Let’s Compare Let’s take a look at how Creighton’s start in 2013 compares to the last three seasons after 22 matches. Stat 2013 2012 2011 2010 W-L Thru 22 16-6 19-3 12-10 14-8 Final W-L ? ? ? 29-4 17-14 21-12 Postseason ? ? ? NCAA None NCAA Tourney Titles 1 3 0 0 Kills/Set 13.43 13.44 12.75 13.17 Hitting % .227 .253 .201 .214 Aces/Set 1.05 1.30 1.25 1.32 Digs/Set 14.80 17.38 17.03 18.29 Blocks/Set 2.96 3.10 2.54 2.48
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.
Double-Stuff 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 1.49 blocks per set, eighth-best nationally, amongst the NCAA stat leaders. Browning owns 362 career blocks, seventh-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).
Freshmen Phenoms Creighton boasts two freshmen who are averaging at least two kills per set, Jess Bird (2.26) and Lauren Smith (2.23). 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.
Speaking of Freshmen Lauren Smith is averaging 2.23 kills and 1.08 blocks per set after 22 career matches. 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. After 22 matches, Houts was averaging 2.72 kills and 1.14 blocks per set.
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.
Speaking Of Smith Lauren Smith is off to a fantastic start to her freshman campaign, with 187 kills and 91 blocks while hitting .303 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.
Higher & Higher Michelle Sicner’s 51 assists on September 10 vs. Kansas were a career-high for the junior, eight more than her previous best. She recently surpassed that high with 52 helpers at DePaul on Oct. 26. Last year, while playing on the right-side, Sicner recorded 60 assists total.
Multiple Choice 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.
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 6-2 in four-set matches.
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 this weekend averaging 2.26 kills and 2.58 digs per set. By comparison, Melanie Jereb averaged 2.33 kills and 2.80 digs per set after her first 22 matches as a freshman last year when she would go on to be named first-team All-MVC.
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.
Home Streak Ends Creighton Volleyball had its school-record home win streak of 13 straight home wins snapped in a Sept. 7 loss to California. CU is 19-3 at home the past two seasons, with two of those setbacks coming during the Bluejay Invitational. Creighton is also now 37-5 in its last 42 home matches against unranked competition. All four of Creighton’s streaks of six straight home wins or longer have been snapped in the Bluejay Invitational. Creighton’s Longest Home Win Streaks Wins Dates Snapped By 13 Sept. 1, 2012 - Sept. 7, 2013 California, 3-0 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
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
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 3-50 all-time against ranked schools (3-34 under Kirsten Bernthal Booth), and 0-18 vs. top-10 clubs. That includes an 0-26 road record, 1-17 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
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.
2-0 Better Than 0-2 Creighton is 189-8 (.959) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 131-2 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. They own an 88-4 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 203-2 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 16-6 Total 51-47 296-277
Marian Pipeline 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
Production Returning 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%)
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 14 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 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 2013 5-4 TOTAL 42-99 TOTAL Under Booth 39-64
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 nine home matches this season. The matches will air on KZOT (1180 AM) and 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 Volleyball Remaining Broadcast Schedule Nov. 22 Georgetown (KOIL 1290 AM)
Set 1 Result = Match Result Creighton is 171-19 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when it wins set one. In that same time span, CU is just 31-105 under Booth when it drops 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 16-1 when leading in sets played at any point of a match.
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.
Creighton Volleyball Wins BIG EAST Tournament
Creighton Volleyball vs. Xavier Postgame Press Conference from the 2014 BIG EAST...