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Melanie Jereb
Courtesy: Steven Branscombe

Volleyball Heads to Lexington For Commonwealth Classic

This Weekend -- Commonwealth Classic

Sept. 5    4:00 pm    Creighton vs. Northern Iowa    Lexington, Ky. (Memorial Coliseum)
Sept. 6    10:00 am    Creighton vs. #6 USC    Lexington, Ky. (Memorial Coliseum)
Sept. 6    6:30 pm    Creighton at #16 Kentucky    Lexington, Ky. (Memorial Coliseum)

This Weekend
Creighton Volleyball (2-1) continues its challenging non-conference schedule with matches against three of the nation’s best teams in the past decade when play begins in the Commonwealth Classic.
    The weekend starts on Friday at 4 pm with a match against longtime Missouri Valley Conference rival Northern Iowa (2-1).
    On Saturday, Creighton will face two ranked teams on the same day for the first time in program history.
    The day starts at 10 am with a match against No. 6 USC (3-0). That evening at 6:30 pm, Creighton faces No. 16 Kentucky (3-0).
    All matches during the Commonwealth Classic will take place in Memorial Coliseum (8,500) in Lexington, Ky.

Radio/Video Broadcast Information
Friday’s match vs. Northern Iowa will be broadcast by Northern Iowa radio. A subscription to listen to it can be purchased at UNIPanthers.com, though it’s worth noting that JaysVideo subscribers (on GoCreighton.com) will get that audio at no additional charge as part of their subscription. There is no video for the Creighton-UNI match.
    Saturday morning’s match vs. USC will not have live radio or video.
    Video of Saturday night’s match at Kentucky will be broadcast on SEC Network+, a station connected with the SEC that debuted last month, and is an internet-only link. A link to the free video can be accessed on GoCreighton.com on the volleyball team’s schedule page. Mandy Robbe will announce.

Live Stats Information
All matches at the Commonwealth Classic will have free live stats. Visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Stats tab at the top of the page for links the exact links for Creighton’s matches.

Scouting Creighton
Ranked 23rd in the preseason AVCA poll, Creighton dropped to 29th in this week’s edition after a 2-1 opening weekend in Lawrence, Kan.
    CU opened with a 3-1 win over Atlantic Sun favorite Lipscomb and 3-0 victory over Utah Valley before falling 3-1 to then-No. 22 Kansas.
    Leading Creighton last weekend were All-Tournament Team selections Leah McNary (3.55 kps., .250%) and Kate Elman (5.73 dps.).
    Maggie Baumert (5.82 aps.) and Michelle Sicner (5.64 aps., 1.00 bps.) split setting duties during the weekend.
    Creighton returns 12 letterwinners and all six starters (plus its libero) from last year’s team that finished 23-9 overall and tied for second in the BIG EAST Conference with a 12-4 league record.
    The Bluejays have been picked to win the BIG EAST Conference, with McNary and Kelli Browning (3.00 kps., 1.18 bps., .387%)  named preseason all-league picks.
    Creighton averaged 14.91 kills, 16.91 digs, 2.73 blocks and 0.91 aces per set last weekend while hitting .245 as a team.

Scouting Northern Iowa
Picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference, UNI is off to a 2-1 start after one week of play.
    The Panthers opened the year with a 3-1 loss to Alabama before responding to beat host Saint Louis (3-2) and Southeast Missouri State (3-1).
    Leigh Pudwill (3.85 kps., .392%) and Kinsey Caldwell (9.92 aps., 2.23 dps., .388%) both landed All-Tourney nods last weekend.
    As a team, UNI averages 13.62 kills, 1.38 aces, 17.23 digs and 2.08 blocks per set while also hitting .209 as a team.
    The Panthers have three starters and 10 letterwinners back from last year’s team that finished 23-8 and shared the MVC regular-season title.

Scouting #6 USC
The nation’s No. 6-ranked team, USC is 3-0 after opening the season with wins over Rider (3-0), Arkansas-Little Rock (3-1) and Pacific (3-2) last weekend.
    Picked to finish second in the always-challenging Pacific-12 Conference, the Women of Troy are returning 11 letterwinners and four starters back from last year’s team that finished 29-6 and reached its fourth straight Elite Eight.
    Lauryn Gillis (2.75 kps., 3.08 dps.) and  Second Team All-American Samantha Bricio (2.58 kps., 1.17 saps.) led USC last weekend in kills, with Emily Young (3.33 kps., .474%) and Brittany Abercrombie (3.00 kps., .292%) not far behind in fewer sets played.
    Alice Pizzasegola and Hayley Crone both averaged 5.50 assists per set.
    Another key player to watch for is sophomore Ebony Nwanebu, a First Team All-American as a freshman who did not play last weekend. She averaged 3.47 kills per set while hitting .358 last year and spent the summer with the U.S. National Team.
    As a team, USC averaged 13.58 kills, 2.17 aces, 14.42 digs and 2.25 blocks per set while hitting .278 overall.
    
Scouting #16 Kentucky
Kentucky started the season 3-0, picking up wins over Wichita State (3-0), Butler (3-0) and Virginia Tech (3-1) to begin the 2014 season and climb to No. 16 in the national polls.
    The Wildcats were picked to finish second in the SEC after welcoming back four starters and nine letterwinners from a 22-9 team.
    Junior Morgan Bergren (10.10 aps., 2.30 dps., 1.70 kps., .571%) was named Tournament MVP and is the lone Preseason All-SEC pick for the Wildcats.
    Anni Thomasson (3.50 kps., 3.70 dps.) tops the team in kills, while Jackie Napper (4.50 dps.) owns the club lead in digs.
    As a team, UK averages 14.10 kills, 1.60 aces, 16.80 digs and 2.10 blocks per set on .245 hitting.

The Coaches
Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 212-129 record in her 12th season with the Bluejays.
    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, as well as the MVC Coach of the Year, in 2012 following another run to the second round of the NCAA’s and a school-record 29 victories.
    The winningest coach in school history, Booth has led Creighton to its only three NCAA Tournament bids in the program’s modern history. She’s also led the Jays into the top-25 each of the last three years, another program first.
    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 associate head coach Tom Mendoza, assistant coach Angie Oxley Behrens and volunteer assistant Kyle South.
    UNI is coached by Bobbi Petersen (Northern Iowa, 1990), who owns a 372-97 record in her 15th year with the Panthers. Petersen was named 2002 AVCA National Coach of the Year and also earned MVC Coach of the Year honors in 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. Generally regarded as one of the best players in MVC history, Petersen ranks eighth nationally among active coaches in winning percentage. Petersen is assisted by Kalani Mahi and Kim Davis.
    Mick Haley (Ball State, 1965) is in his 14th year at USC, where he owns a 346-76 record and has led the Trojans to six Final Four appearances and national titles in 2002 and 2003. He owns a 868-213 mark overall in 31 years as a college coach. Haley is assisted by Tim Nollan and Cookie Stevens.
    Craig Skinner owns a 205-85 record in his 10th season at Kentucky, which also doubles as his career mark. Before taking UK to nine straight NCAA Tournaments, Skinner was an assistant for five seasons at Nebraska. He is assisted by Lindsey Gray-Walton and Anders Nelson.

Series History vs. Northern Iowa
Northern Iowa owns a 40-5 record all-time against Creighton, including a 4-0 mark at neutral sites, but the Bluejays have won the last two meetings.
    All four of those neutral site meetings took place at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament when the teams were league rivals, as they met at Illinois State twice and once each at Missouri State and Wichita State.
    Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 5-21 vs. Northern Iowa and 5-21 vs.  Bobbi Petersen. Petersen is 28-5 overall against Creighton.
    Three of CU’s five wins against the Panthers have come in five sets, with each such victory being played in Cedar Falls.
 
Series History vs. #6 USC
Creighton and USC have never met.

Series History vs. #16 Kentucky
Creighton and Kentucky have never met.

Last Weekend Summary
Creighton went 2-1 at the Kansas Invitational in Lawrence, Kan., last weekend. The Bluejays defeated Lipscomb (3-1) and Utah Valley (3-0) on Friday before falling to No. 22 Kansas on Saturday.
    Kate Elman and Leah McNary were named to the All-Tournament Team for the Bluejays.

Last Year Summary
Last year’s Creighton team finished 23-9 and tied for second place in the BIG EAST with a 12-4 league mark.
    The Bluejays reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years with a first-round victory over Arkansas.
    Kelli Browning and Leah McNary were named first team all-conference, while Browning and Michelle Sicner were tabbed as AVCA All-American Honorable Mention selections.

Second Round
Creighton is one of 19 teams to win a first round match in the NCAA Tournament each of the past two years. Three of those teams will be at the Commonwealth Classic this weekend.
    That list, alphabetically, includes BYU, Creighton, Florida, Florida State, Hawai’i, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, USC and Washington.

Let’s Make This An Annual Event
The field for this weekend’s Commonwealth Classic will become quite familiar with each other in the coming years, as this is the first year of a four-year tournament between the teams that will move to Cedar Falls, Los Angeles and Omaha in the coming years.
    The event features a nice mix not only geographically, but also of some traditional and upcoming powers in the college game.
    USC has made 23 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and been to the Regional Final (or beyond) in 10 of 13 completed seasons under Mick Haley. The Trojans claim six national titles in program history, and 20 or more wins in 11 of 13 seasons under Haley.
    Northern Iowa has won 20 or more games in 13-of-14 seasons under Bobbi Petersen, during which time the Panthers have advanced to 10 NCAA Tournaments.
    Kentucky has made nine straight NCAA Tournaments, a streak that coincides with the arrival of coach Craig Skinner. The Wildcats own 20 or more wins in six of the last seven seasons and three Sweet 16 berths in that span.
    Creighton has ascended onto the national stage in recent seasons. Since inheriting a 3-23 team in 2003, Kirsten Bernthal Booth has helped the Bluejays reach the NCAA Tournament in three of the last four seasons, winning a match each time. All five seasons of 20-plus wins in the program’s modern history have come since 2006.

Busy Month
Creighton will play 13 matches in the month of September, all during a 24-day stretch between Sept. 5-28.
    The 13 matches are the most in any month for Bluejay Volleyball since 13 matches in September of 2006. CU went 10-3 in that month, its most victories ever for any month.
    If you’re curious, the only month in history that CU played more than 13 times came in September of 1995, when it went 7-9.

The Votes Add Up
Creighton has eight matches scheduled against teams that received votes in the preseason AVCA Top 25 poll, including five teams in the top-25.
    Creighton plays matches against teams that were preseason ranked No. 5 (USC), No. 7 (Nebraska), No. 11 (Illinois), No. 19 (Kentucky) and No. 22 (Kansas).
    Creighton also hosts Colorado, which received enough points to finish 33rd in the voting, and has a home-and-home league series with No. 29 Marquette.
    Besides Creighton, the only other school to play five different non-conference teams that are in the preseason top-25 is Stanford.
    Creighton is 3-53 all-time against top-25 foes, including an 0-28 mark in true road matches.
    When it takes on No. 6 USC and No. 16 Kentucky on Saturday, it’ll mark the first time ever that Creighton faces two ranked teams on the same day. It’s also just the fifth time CU will play in a regular-season tournament with two ranked teams, joining the Pacific/Nike Invitational (1998), Santa Clara Invitational (2001), Holiday Inn Downtown Classic (2007) and the Bluejay Invitational (2008).

My Old Kentucky Home
While the rest of her teammates are making their first trip to Lexington, junior setter Maggie Baumert is no stranger to the SEC school.
    Baumert spent the past three seasons at the University of Georgia, and the Bulldogs made trips to Lexington in both 2011 and 2012.
    In the lone meeting between Georgia and Kentucky last season, Baumert had 23 assists and 11 digs as Georgia upset then-No. 15 Kentucky in five sets in Athens, Ga.

The Dirty Dozen
Creighton has never defeated any of the current members of the Pacific-12 Conference, going 0-7. The Bluejays are 0-1 against Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and Washington State.
    Saturday’s contest against USC will be the first match-up with the Women of Troy.

Against The SEC?
Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 7-4 all-time against the current membership of the Southeastern Conference, but has never faced Kentucky.
    Booth is 1-1 vs. Arkansas, 1-0 vs. Auburn, 0-1 vs. LSU, 1-0 vs. Mississippi State, 1-0 vs. Missouri, 1-0 vs. Ole Miss, 1-0 vs. Tennessee, 1-2 vs. Texas A&M.
    CU’s last win over an SEC foe came in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, a 3-1 victory over Arkansas.

Tough With A Lead
Creighton is 54-3 since September 1, 2011 when winning set one, including four straight wins.
    Creighton has won 34 straight home matches when winning set one dating to an Aug. 28, 2010 loss to Lipscomb.
    Creighton has won 63 straight matches when leading 2-0 (dating to Sept. 12, 2009) and has also won 50 consecutive matches when leading 2-1 in a match (dating to Oct. 16, 2009).
    All-time under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, Creighton is 136-2 when leading a match 2-0 and is also 91-7 when leading a match 2-1 after three sets.


Familiar Rivals Get Reacquainted
Friday’s match-up with Northern Iowa will be the 46th against Creighton since the program’s restart in 1994, the most of any opponent.
    The only other teams that Creighton has played more than 40 times are Wichita State (43) and Illinois State (43).
    UNI is the only opponent to defeat Creighton more than 30 times, something the Panthers have done 40 times.

Or Not So Familiar
When Creighton left the Missouri Valley Conference last July, two of its biggest rivals were Northern Iowa and Wichita State. The Bluejays will meet UNI on Friday, and Wichita State next Saturday (Sept. 13).
    Creighton’s veteran side features eight women on the roster who have appeared in a match against UNI. By comparison, a young UNI squad does not own a player who has ever appeared in a match against Creighton.

Keep On Digging
Libero Kate Elman keeps on digging her way up the record books. The junior from Omaha has had 10 or more digs in 26 straight matches, fourth-longest in CU history.
    Elman also owns 26 career matches with 20 or more digs, and 64 matches with 10 or more digs to rank in the top-five in school history in both of those categories, as well.
    In Elman’s 68 career matches, she’s never had fewer than eight digs.
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
    26    Kate Elman, Sept. 30, 2013 - Present
    23    Julianne Mandolfo, Sept. 9-Nov. 24, 2011

Matches With 20+ Digs, Career
    20+D    Name    Years
    32    Julianne Mandolfo      2010-11
    27    Bianca Rivera    2007-08
    26    Kate Elman    2012-Pres.
    20    Janeen Piller    2001-04
    19    Nayka Benitez    2009-10

Matches With 10+ Digs, Career
    10+D    Name    Years
    74    Janeen Piller    2001-04
    71    Allie Oelke    2007-10
    65    Melissa Weisensee    1994-97
    64    Kailey Reyes    1998-01
    64    Melissa Walsh    1998-01
    64    Kate Elman    2012-Pres.

Milestone Watch
Leah McNary has 957 career kills, 43 away from becoming the ninth player in school history to reach 1,000. McNary, with 2,656 career attack attempts, is six attempts shy of moving into ninth place in that category as well.
    Kate Elman has 1,185 career digs, good for seventh in CU history. She’s 38 digs shy of sixth place (Melissa Weisensee), 39 shy of fifth place (Julianne Mandolfo), 55 digs shy of fourth place (Melissa Walsh) and 73 digs shy of third place (Kailey Reyes).
    Kelli Browning is tied for 10th in CU history with 40 solo blocks. She’s two shy of a tie for eighth place, three shy of seventh place and four shy of sixth place.
    Browning also owns 395 career block assists, five shy of becoming the second player in CU history to reach 400 in that category.
    Browning enters this weekend fourth in CU history with 435 total blocks. She’s two away from third place and 12 shy of second place.
    Michelle Sicner owns 237 career block assists, 13 shy of 10th place (Sarah Beulke).

Season Opening History
With its 3-1 win over Lipscomb last Friday, Creighton improved its record to 13-8 in season-opening matches since restarting the program in 1994. Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 9-3 in opening matches and on a six-year winning streak. The six straight wins in season-openers is the best mark in program history.
    Booth is 10-2 in Creighton’s first match away from home, helping Creighton improve to 13-8 in such contests all-time.
    Creighton’s six straight wins in season-openers is the longest active streak in the BIG EAST, one more than St. John’s.

Some Fab Freshmen
Creighton has started six different true freshmen in a season opener in the last five 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 Jess Bird (2013). In addition, CU also started redshirt freshman Lauren Smith (2013) and transfer Maggie Baumert (2014) in the season-opener.
    Seven of those women (Coleman, Decker, Lebeda, Oelke, Mandolfo, Sicner and Jereb) went on to land a spot on the MVC’s All-Freshman Team, an award that Bird likely would’ve received strong consideration for if the BIG EAST had such a team.

Hello World!
Kenzie Crawford, Toni Tupper and Marysa Wilkinson all made their Division I debut last weekend. Below is the current Creighton players and how they performed in their regular-season collegiate debuts (and at Creighton in Baumert’s case).
    Records for a Bluejay debut can be found at the bottom of page three.
Year    Name    SP    K    E    TA    Pct.    A    SA    DIG    TB
2013    Jess Bird•    4    14    5    29    .310    3    2    12    0
2011    Kelli Browning    5    11    3    31    .258    0    0    1    6
2013    Lauren Smith•    4    9    0    14    .643    0    0    0    4
2011    Katie Neisler•    5    5    5    24    .000    1    0    18    1
2012    Melanie Jereb•    4    5    2    28    .107    0    0    14    0
2014    Marysa Wilkinson    2    5    0    7    .714    0    0    1    2
2011    Leah McNary    2    2    2    6    .000    0    0    0    0
2012    Kate Elman    4    1    0    2    .500    4    1    22    0
2012    Ashley Jansen•    4    1    0    3    .333    1    1    10    0
2012    Maggie Baumert#    4    1    0    3    .333    24    0    8    0
2011    Michelle Sicner•    5    0    1    4    -.250    1    0    9    1
2014    Maggie Baumert•    4    0    0    1    .000    28    0    9    0
2014    Toni Tupper    1    0    0    1    .000    0    0    0    0
2014    Kenzie Crawford    2    0    0    0    ---    1    0    7    0
2012    Lizzy Stivers    4    0    0    0    ---    0    0    0    0
2013    Amanda Foje    1    0    0    0    ---    0    0    1    0
#Baumert’s stats are from her debut at Georgia

Hometown Flavor
Creighton’s 2014 roster boasts 10 players from the state of Nebraska, including all four newcomers.
    The 10 Nebraska natives is most since the program’s 1994 restart, one more than the 2004 and 2005 clubs that had nine each.

Once In A Lifetime Trip
Creighton experienced a once-in-a-lifetime trip in mid-May when it ventured to Nicaragua. The trip included several matches against the Nicaraguan Jr. National Team (all Creighton victories), but much of the trip’s purpose centered on visits to schools, delivering books and other service-oriented programs.

Team USA Trio
Three members of the Creighton Volleyball team donned Team USA jerseys this summer. Kelli Browning, Jess Bird and Michelle Sicner each suited up for the US Collegiate National Team in June at the 2014 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships in Minneapolis.
    Creighton and Florida State led all schools with three representatives among the 36 women selected.

Regular-Season Tournament History
Creighton is 78-74 in the 51 regular-season tournaments it has participated in all-time, including an 18-5 mark since the start of 2012. Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s teams are 58-41 in 35 regular-season tournaments, including eight titles.
    Creighton won two regular-season tournaments in 2012, taking the season-opening USF Invitational as well as the Northern Colorado Classic, and also won the Hampton Inn Invitational in 2013.
    Creighton had won just two of 16 regular-season tournaments prior to Booth’s arrival.

Big Time Schedule
Creighton’s non-conference slate contains six teams to get votes for the preseason top-25, including five ranked teams.
    In addition, seven of the teams are picked either first or second place in their conference.
Name    Preseason Rank    Preseason Conf. Rank
Lipscomb    -    1st in Atlantic Sun
Utah Valley    -    3rd in Western Athletic
Kansas    22    2nd in Big 12
Northern Iowa    -    2nd in Missouri Valley
USC    5    2nd in Pacific-12
Kentucky    19    2nd in Southeastern
Pepperdine    -    4th in WCC
Bowling Green    -    3rd in Mid-American East
Wichita State    -    1st in Missouri Valley
Nebraska    7    2nd in Big 10
Illinois    11    4th in Big 10
South Dakota    -    4th in Summit
Colorado    RV    7th in Pacific-12

As A Ranked Team
All-time, Creighton is 19-6 when playing as a ranked team in the AVCA poll, including a 18-2 mark versus unranked teams.
    The Bluejays started the year in the preseason Top 25 for the second straight fall. Last year’s team was 25th to start the season, while this fall the club is ranked 23rd.

Set 1 Result = Match Result
Creighton is 177-20 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when it wins set one. In that same time span, CU is just 35-109 under Booth when it drops the first set.
    Creighton has also won 34 home straight contests when winning the first set.
    Since the start of the 2012 season, Creighton is 41-3 when winning the opening set of a match. In that time, Creighton is 54-3 when leading in sets played at any point of a match.

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 212-2 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

2-0 Better Than 0-2
Creighton is 193-8 (.960) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 135-2 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 7-176 (.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

Taking The Fifth
Creighton is 36-19 in five-set matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, including a 3-2 mark last year and a 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.
    Creighton has won five straight true road matches to go five sets, including wins in 2012 over league rivals Northern Iowa, Wichita State and Missouri State, and wins last year at Denver and at Wichita State.
    It’s also worth noting that Creighton is 6-1 all-time in five-set home matches at D.J. Sokol Arena.
    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    23-9
2014    0-0    2-1
Total    51-47    305-281

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. Consider the following numbers entering the 2014 season:
    CU’s 52 victories in the previous two seasons are six more than other two-year span in program history, previously done from 2011-12.
    CU’s 69 wins in the previous three seasons are the most in any three-year span in program history, two more than the 2010-12 total of 67.
    CU’s 90 victories in the previous four seasons are nine more than other four-year span in program history, which was done from 2009-12.

Blocking Specialists
Creighton has consistently proven to be an elite blocking team in recent seasons, leading their conference each of the previous three years in the category.
    The Jays led the nation last year with 3.06 blocks per set, and one year prior were fourth-best nationally while also averaging 3.06 blocks per set.
    Leading the blocking brigade during this time span has been Kelli Browning. Browning was fifth nationally in 2012 with 1.65 blocks per set, then finished eighth in 2013 with 1.53 stuffs per set.

Production Returning
Creighton returns 12-of-13 letterwinners to the court from last season. Below is a breakdown of the production that returns:
Stat    Returners    Departures
Points    2100.5 (99.1%)    19.5 (0.9%)
Kills    1618 (99.3%)    12 (0.7%)
Digs    1892 (99.2%)    15 (0.8%)
Aces    120 (100.0%)    0 (0.0%)
Matches Started    157 (98.1%)    3 (1.9%)
Blocks    362.5 (98.0%)    7.5 (2.0%)
Assists    1516 (100.0%)    0 (0.0%)

Marian Pipeline
This is the 12th straight season that Creighton Volleyball had at least one product of Omaha Marian High School on the roster, as juniors 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.
2014: Kate Elman, Ashley Jansen
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

BIG EAST Preseason Poll
For the second straight season, Creighton has been picked to win the BIG EAST Conference in a preseason poll of league coaches.
    CU received 77 points in the poll and five of a possible 10 first-place votes. Defending champ Marquette was picked second with 71 points and four first-place votes, while Xavier (66 points) was third and claimed the remaining first-place tally. Rounding out the rest of the poll were Butler, St.John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown, DePaul and Providence.
    Creighton also had two women named to the 13 member on the BIG EAST’s preseason all-conference team, as both Kelli Browning and Leah McNary were honored for a second straight year.
    Marquette’s Autumn Bailey was chosen as Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year.
    Creighton has finished in the spot predicted of them or better in the preseason poll in nine of the past 11 years.
Year    Preseason Pick    Finish    Move
1994    11th    9th    #2
1995    9th    7th    #2
1996    9th    6th    #3
1997    8th    3rd    #5
1998    6th    8th    i2
1999    T-7th    5th    #2
2000    4th    T-4th    - -
2001    2nd    4th    i2
2002    7th    9th    i2
2003    9th    T-5th    #4
2004    5th    5th    - -
2005    5th    5th    - -
2006    4th    4th    - -
2007    3rd    T-2nd    #1
2008    3rd    2nd    #1
2009    4th    T-4th    - -
2010    4th    3rd    #1
2011    3rd    4th    i1
2012    4th    1st    #3
2013    1st    T-2nd    i1
2014    1st    ???    ???

Radio Broadcast Information
Brad Burwell and former Bluejay volleyball player Erin (Swanson) Russell will broadcast most 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 starts approximately 5-15 minutes before first serve. The post-match show also lasts about 15 minutes and includes post-match interviews.
    While the schedule is still being finalized, preliminary plans call for the first eight home matches to be broadcast on KZOT (1180 AM).
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