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Courtesy: Steven Branscombe

Volleyball Heads East For Final Road Trip in League Play

Creighton Volleyball Notes
This Weekend
Nov. 15    4 pm CST    Creighton at St. John’s    Queens, N.Y. (Taffner Field House)
Nov. 16    3 pm CST    Creighton at Seton Hall    South Orange, N.J. (Walsh Gymnasium)

This Weekend
Creighton Volleyball plays its final conference road matches of the season this weekend when it returns to the East Coast for the second time in as many weeks.
    On Friday, Creighton (18-6, 9-3 BIG EAST) visits St. John’s (15-13, 4-8 BIG EAST) in a rare 4 pm Central start at Taffner Field House (5,602) in Queens, N.Y.
    On Saturday, Creighton visits South Orange, N.J., to take on Seton Hall (13-14, 4-8 BIG EAST). That contest takes place at 3 pm Central at Walsh Gymnasium (2,600).

Radio Information
Previously scheduled live video event of St. John's vs. Creighton volleyball has been cancelled and replaced with a live audio-only broadcast. The broadcast also requires an all-access account.
   The Seton Hall match will not have audio.

Video Information
Saturday's match will premium video webcasts available for purchase. The Seton Hall video is available at http://www.shupirates.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 18-6 on the year and tied for second in the BIG EAST Conference with a 9-3 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 10th in this week’s RPI rankings.
    CU boasts a balanced attack, with six women averaging at least 1.48 kills per set. That group is led by juniors Leah McNary (3.13 kps.) and Kelli Browning (2.36 kps., .327%, 1.47 bps.). Freshmen Lauren Smith (2.16 kps., 1.22 bps., .285%) and Jess Bird (2.32 kps., 2.66 dps.) have made immediate impacts, as well.
    Junior Michelle Sicner (10.16 aps., 2.69 dps, 1.48 kps.) set the offense for the first 22 contests before Ashley Jansen (1.25 aps., 1.52 dps.) took over the role in two road victories last weekend.
    Creighton averages 13.44 kills, 1.01 aces, 14.86 digs and 3.08 blocks per set while hitting .225 as a team.

Scouting St. John’s
St. John’s enters this weekend with a 15-13 record, including a 4-8 mark in league play. The Red Storm began the season 11-4 but have gone just 4-9 since, a stretch highlighted by a five-set win at Creighton.
    SJU is paced by two of the top attackers in the league in Karin Palgutova (4.45 kps., 2.35 dps., .274%) and Aleksandra Wachowicz (3.65 kps., .251%).
    Setter Deniz Mutlugil (10.50 aps., 1.74 dps.) quarterbacks the offense, while libero Shawna-Lei Santos (4.79 dps.) paces the defense.
    As a team, St. John’s averages 12.90 kills, 1.26 aces, 13.39 digs and 2.47 blocks per set on .242 hitting.
    The Red Storm boast a team with players from eight countries and seven states.

Scouting Seton Hall
Seton Hall is 13-14 on the season, including a 4-8 mark in BIG EAST play. The Pirates has played an astounding 10 five-set matches thus far, going 6-4 in the final frame.
    Seven women average at least 1.60 kills per set or more, a group paced by Stacey Manthorpe (2.55 kps., 2.82 dps.) and Amanda Hansen (2.38 kps., 1.02 bps., .257%).
    Shelbey Manthorpe (8.60 aps, 1.79 kps., 3.16 dps.) is among the BIG EAST’s most versatile players, while Alyssa Warren (5.08 dps.) tops the league in digs per set.
    As a team, Seton Hall averages 11.91 kills, 0.58 aces, 16.76 digs and 2.51 blocks per set while hitting .182 overall.

The Coaches
Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 205-125 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.
    The longest-tenured famale coach in school history, Joanne Persico (Syracuse, 1987) owns a 386-253 record in her 20th year at St. John’s. She has led the Red Storm to eight 20-win seasons, three BIG EAST regular-season titles, two NCAA Tournaments and a Sweet 16 berth in 2007. She is assisted by Mario Treibit, Maxim Auguste and Renwick Cefra.
    Allison Yaeger (Wright State, 2003) owns a 30-24 mark in her second year at Seton Hall. In her first year as head coach she led the Pirates to 18 wins the program’s most since 2003. She is assisted by Allie Matters.

Series History vs. St. John’s
St. John’s won the only previous meeting between the schools on Nov. 1st, a 3-2 (25-19, 25-22, 17-25, 19-25, 17-15) win over Creighton in Omaha.
    Karin Palgutova led the Red Storm with 19 kills, while Yaidy Santiago had 15 kills and 12 digs. Creighton was paced by a triple-double from Michelle Sicner (44 assists, 10 kills, 10 blocks) and 12 kills and 10 blocks from Kelli Browning.

Series History vs. Seton Hall
Creighton won the first all-time meeting with Seton Hall 25-18, 25-20, 25-18 in Omaha on Nov. 3rd. Leah McNary led CU with 14 kills while Molly Grammer topped the Pirates with nine kills.

Last Weekend Summary
Creighton won road matches at Villanova (3-0) and Georgetown (3-1) to maintain a share of second place in the BIG EAST standings. Leah McNary led the Bluejays with 24 kills on the weekend, while freshman Lauren Smith turned in 20 blocks in just seven sets of work. Ashley Jansen’s first two starts at setter were a success, as the sophomore averaged 9.71 assists per set as she quarterbacked the team to a pair of road wins.

Smith Earns League Honor, Again
Creighton Volleyball’s Lauren Smith was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Monday, 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) last weekend.
    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.
    This is the second time this fall that Smith has been named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week, joining her honor from Sept. 16.

Block Stars
Aided by at least 12 blocks in each of the last four matches, Creighton enters this weekend ranked second nationally with 3.08 blocks per set. The figure trails only Penn State (3.10). Here’s the top-five:
Rank    Team    Blocks/Set
    1.    Penn State    3.10
    2.    Creighton    3.08
    3.    Dayton    3.06
    4.    Stanford    2.99
    5.    BYU    2.96

Bird’s Flying High
Freshman Jess Bird owns four double-doubles in her last five outings, and seven overall on the season. In the last seven matches Bird has averaged 11.71 kills and 12.42 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 seven 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).

Chasing 1,000 Digs
Sophomore libero Kate Elman is quickly closing in on 1,000 career digs. She owns 969 career digs through 57 career matches and is likely to become the 12th Bluejay player to reach 1,000 digs in the near future.
    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

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 heading into Friday’s rematch with St. John’s.
    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.

Ready, Set, Go
Ashley Jansen’s first two career starts at setter paid big dividends, as the sophomore directed Creighton to a pair of road wins.
    Jansen had 29 assists, five digs and three kills in a 3-0 win at Villanova last Friday before having 39 assists, 10 digs, three blocks and three kills in a 3-1 victory at Georgetown. Saturday’s contest marked her first career double-double, and the fifth Bluejay with a double-dip this season.

A Bunch Of Winners
Creighton has experienced a great deal of success in recent seasons, and the current squad has enjoyed victories at historical levels.
    Creighton’s 47 victories in the past two seasons are one more than other two-year span in program history, previoiusly done from 2011-12.
    Creighton’s 64 victories in the past three seasons are three shy of the mark for the best three-year span in program history, trailing only the 2010-12 total of 67.
    Creighton’s 85 victories in the past four seasons are four more than other four-year span in program history, which was also done from 2009-12.

Seeking 300
Creighton Volleyball owns 298 wins since restarting its program prior to the 1994 season. With a pair of victories this weekend, the team will reach 300. 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
298-277 so far...

Tourney Field Is Set
Creighton will host the BIG EAST Volleyball Tournament on Nov. 29-30, and the participants have now been determined. The four-team field will consist of Butler, Creighton, Marquette and Xavier.
    Friday’s semifinals will start at 4 pm and 6:30 pm, and Saturday’s final will be at 5 pm. Creighton will play in the second semifinal regardless of its eventual seed.

Smith Has Block Party
Lauren Smith had 12 blocks in Saturday’s 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 1.22 blocks per set so far this season lead all BIG EAST freshmen, and are the 11th-best nationwide among her classmates.

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 an 18-6 mark this fall heading into this weekend. This is the seventh time Booth has led Creighton to 18 or more victories in a year.

RPI Warriors
Creighton ranks 10th nationally in the official RPI released by the NCAA on Monday. The nine schools ahead of the Bluejays are Texas, Penn State, Washington, Florida, USC, Missouri, Stanford, Nebraska and Kentucky.
    Other notable teams behind Creighton include Marquette (11), Hawai’i (12), Minnesota (15) and unbeaten Colorado State (19).

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.

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 18-6 start and Creighton is 47-10.
    The 47-10 mark gives the Jays a .825 win percentage in that span, 12th-best nationally.
    Creighton’s 47 wins in the same span rank tied for 17th nationally.
Best Win Percentages, Since 2012 (thru 11/10/13)
Name    W    L    Pct.
Penn State    55    5    .917
Texas    47    6    .887
Florida    49    7    .875
Hawai’i    47    7    .870
Central Arkansas    53    8    .869
Western Kentucky    57    9    .864
Southern California    52    9    .852
Washington    46    8    .852
BYU    48    9    .842
Stanford    48    9    .842
North Carolina    48    9    .842
Creighton    47    10    .825
Louisville    48    11    .814

Most Wins, Since 2012 (thru 11/10/13)
Name    W    L    Pct.
Western Kentucky    57    9    .864
Penn State    55    5    .917
Central Arkansas    53    8    .869
Southern California    52    9    .852
Florida    49    7    .875
VCU    49    12    .803
Minnesota    49    13    .790
BYU    48    9    .842
Stanford    48    9    .842
North Carolina    48    9    .842
Louisville    48    11    .814
American    48    12    .800
Missouri    48    12    .800
Georgia Southern    48    12    .800
College of Charleston    48    13    .787
Tulsa    48    15    .762
Creighton    47    10    .825
Texas    47    6    .887
Hawai’i    47    7    .870
Morehead State    47    13    .783
Wichita State    47    16    .746

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.

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 205-125 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 65 different schools to amass the 205 wins at CU. Booth can add to her list with a win on Friday vs. St. John’s.
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

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.

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.

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 200-94 (.680). The teams are also 109-51 (.681) 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 and Nov. 11, 2013 polls 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 24 matches.
Stat    2013    2012    2011    2010
W-L Thru 24    18-6    21-3    14-10    15-9
Final W-L    ? ? ?    29-4    17-14    21-12
Postseason    ? ? ?    NCAA    None    NCAA
Tourney Titles    1    3    0    0
Kills/Set    13.44    13.48    12.88    13.18
Hitting %    .225    .255    .208    .212
Aces/Set    1.01    1.31    1.25    1.32
Digs/Set    14.86    17.50    16.94    18.54
Blocks/Set    3.08    3.11    2.55    2.43


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 2.32 kills and 2.66 digs per set. By comparison, Melanie Jereb averaged 2.35 kills and 2.90 digs per set after her first 24 matches as a freshman last year when she would go on to be named first-team All-MVC.

Speaking of Freshmen
Lauren Smith is averaging 2.16 kills and 1.22 blocks per set after 24 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 24 matches, Houts was averaging 2.75 kills and 1.17 blocks per set.

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 1.47 blocks per set, 13th-best nationally, amongst the NCAA stat leaders.
    Browning owns 371 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).

Freshmen Phenoms
Creighton boasts two freshmen who are averaging at least two kills per set, Jess Bird (2.32) and Lauren Smith (2.16).
    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.

Speaking Of Smith
Lauren Smith is off to a fantastic start to her freshman campaign, with 197 kills and 111 blocks while hitting .285 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.

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 7-2 in four-set matches.

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 190-8 (.960) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 132-2 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 205-2 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    18-6
Total    51-47    298-277

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 18 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 173-19 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when it wins set one. In that same time span, CU is just 32-106 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 18-1 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.
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