SPRINGFIELD, Mo - The No. 21 Creighton volleyball team
continued its magical run in 2012 as the Jays claimed their first MVC
Tournament Title with a 3-0 win over Wichita State on Saturday, Nov. 24.
Creighton defeated Wichita State (25-18,
25-20 and 25-23) to move to 28-3 on the season with its 16th straight win. Following the loss the
Shockers fell to 22-9 overall.
The victory gives the Jays their first
automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. It is the second time in Creighton
history that the Bluejays have earned a trip to the NCAAs, following an
at-large berth in 2010. Creighton also extended its school-record for
wins to 28 and its school-record win streak to 16 in a row.
Tied 5-5 early in the opening set, Creighton
grabbed control with a 4-0 run. A Wichita State service error got the
Jays rolling, then sophomore Michelle Sicner and Heather Thorson posted
Creighton's first block of the match two make it 7-5. Sophomore Kelli
Browning followed with back-to-back kills in the middle to extend the lead to
9-5. Wichita State closed within a point at 17-16 drawing a timeout from
Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth. The Jays responded with
three straight points on consecutive kills by freshman Melanie Jereb and a
block by Jereb and Browning to go back out in front by four at 20-16.
Creighton did not relinquish the lead the rest of the way as the Jays collected
seven blocks in the set, holding the Shockers to a .054 hitting percentage.
"During the timeout, I reminded the team that we got ahead by being the aggressor," said Booth.
Wichita State came out strong to open the
second set, claiming a 4-1 lead, but the Bluejays regrouped to score five of
the next seven points and knot the set at 6-6. Tied 11-11 moments later,
Creighton sprinted into the media timeout with four straight points. This
time it was sophomore Leah McNary that got things started for the Jays with her
sixth kill of the match. Jereb and Thorson teamed for Creighton's ninth
block of the match to push it to 13-11. The cumulative effect of the
Jays' block set in over the next two points as the Shockers made attacking
errors trying to avoid the block. After the Shockers pulled even at
19-19, Creighton asserted its dominance once more. Creighton reclaimed
the lead on a Shocker error, then senior Megan Bober delivered the Jays' first
ace of the match to push it to 21-19. Following a service error by Bober,
the Jays forced back-to-back attack error and closed the frame on an ace by
sophomore Katie Neisler and a kill by Thorson.
With their backs to the wall, Wichita State
charged out to a 7-2 lead to begin the third set to force a timeout by
Booth.The Jays calmly began to chip
away at the deficit behind a kill by McNary and an attack error by the
Shockers. Unfortunately the Shockers were able to maintain separation of at
least three points and finally extended their lead to as much as seven at
19-12.Down 21-15 just a few moments later, McNary
ignited a 10-2 run that would result in a Bluejay celebration.The run began with eight straight Creighton
points, lifting the Jays to their first lead of the set 23-22. McNary, Jereb,
Browning and Sicner each contributed kills to go with two Bluejay blocks and two
Shocker hitting errors during the run.After Wichita State’s Ashlyn Driskill tied the set at 23-23, Jereb
posted her 10th kill of the match to give Creighton a match point at
24-23.Fittingly senior Brooke Boggs, a Missouri native, ended the match in dramatic fashion with her first ace of the night.
McNary led the Jays with 11 kills and a
stellar .416 hitting percentage on the night (11K, 1E, 30A).Jereb was right behind her with 10
kills.Wichita State got nine kills from
Following the match, Bober was named the MVC
Tournament MVP.She finished the match
with 26 assists, 10 digs and eight kills to record her 22nd
double-double. McNary and Jereb joined Bober as Creighton representative on the
Creighton will now wait to see where the NCAA
committee places the Bluejays.Creighton
will be hosting a viewing party at 3 p.m. at The Old Mattress Factory, with the public and media invited to attend.
2012 MVC All-Tournament Team Olivia Brand, Missouri State Krista DeGeest, UNI Chelsey Feekin, Wichita State Elizabeth Field, Wichita State Brooklyn Hlafka, Illinois State Melanie Jereb, Creighton Leah McNary, Creighton Taylor Pippen, Southern Illinois
MVP – Megan Bober, Creighton
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