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Courtesy: Laura Jacobsen

Volleyball Seeks Sweet 16 Berth In Saturday Match at #23 Kansas

2013 NCAA Tournament - 2nd Round
Dec. 7    6:30 pm    Creighton at #23 Kansas    Lawrence, Kan. (Allen Fieldhouse)

Next Match
Creighton Volleyball (23-8) seeks its first Sweet 16 bid in program history when it takes on No. 14 Kansas (24-7) on Saturday evening at Allen Fieldhouse (16,300) in Lawrence, Kan. First serve is set for 6:30 pm.
    At stake is a berth to the Los Angeles Regional.

Radio Information
Today’s match will not air on radio in Omaha.

Video Webcast Information
Saturday’s match will have free video via Video webcasts can be found at, with links to Creighton matches available at

Live Stats Information
Saturday’s NCAA Tournament matche will have free live stats.Visit and click on the Live Stats tab on the top of the page for the exact link to the match.

Scouting Creighton
Creighton enters Saturday with a 23-8 record after finishing second in the BIG EAST in both regular-season and conference tournament play.
    The Bluejays started the fall 9-3 against one of the nation’s most challenging non-conference schedules, and own five wins against teams that have been ranked this season (BYU, Marquette, Kansas, Cal State Northridge and Wichita State). Creighton’s success and schedule combined have the Bluejays ranked 16th in this week’s official NCAA RPI rankings.
    Creighton had a pair of juniors earn First Team All-BIG EAST acclaim this fall, MB Kelli Browning (2.46 kps., 1.52 bps., .327%) and OH Leah McNary (3.06 kps.).
    Earning a second-team all-conference nod was S Michelle Sicner (10.02 aps., 1.46 kps., 0.96 bps.), who was named AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 15th and has five hitters to choose from that average at least 1.65 kills per set.
    A pair of freshmen play a huge role, as OH Jess Bird (2.46 kps., 2.80 dps.) and MB Lauren  Smith (2.21 kps., 1.17 bps.) have started all but one match this season and continue to improve.
    The defense is paced by sophomore libero Kate Elman (4.13 kps.), who owns the team lead with 24 aces.
    Creighton averages 13.51 kills, 1.00 aces, 15.71 digs and 3.06 blocks per set while hitting .221 as a team.

Scouting No. 23 Kansas
Kansas is 24-7 on the season and went 12-4 in Big 12 play to earn the No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks defeated Wichita State in four sets last night.
    All-American Caroline Jarmoc (4.01 kps., 1.18 bps.) leads the Jayhawks with 366 kills and 139 blocks, while also hitting a stout .323. Omaha native Sara McClinton averages a team-high 3.36 kills per set, while Papillion native Chelsea Albers is third on the team with 2.88 kills per set and 0.96 blocks per set. All three women were named First Team All-Big 12.
    Freshman Tayler Soucie had 12 blocks earlier this year against Creighton and leads the team with 1.22 blocks per set.
    Brianne Riley (4.46 dps.) leads the team in digs, while Big 12 Setter of the Year Erin McNorton (12.18 aps.) directs the offense and ranks fourth nationally in assists per set.
    As a team, Kansas averages 14.47 kills, 15.50 digs, 2.58 blocks and 0.97 aces per set on .260 hitting.

The Coaches
Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 210-127 record in her 11th season with the Bluejays. She became the program’s all-time winningest coach on Aug. 25, 2007 with a 3-0 win over Stephen F. Austin, joined the 100-win club with an Oct. 31, 2008 win at Drake and the 200-win club with a Oct. 18 win vs. Xavier.
    She was named the 2010 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.
    Kansas is coached by Ray Bechard, who is 272-216 in his 16th year at the school, and 989-276 in 29 years overall as a head coach. He’s assisted by Laura Kuhn, Todd Chamberlain and Wendel Camargo.

Series History vs. Kansas
Kansas has won five of six matches against Creighton since CU reinstituted volleyball in 1994, claiming victories in 2002 (3-0 in Omaha), 2003 (3-0 in Lawrence), 2009 (3-1 in Lawrence), 2010 (3-1 in Omaha) and 2012 (3-2 in Lawrence). Creighton snapped that streak on September 10th, however, beating the Jayhawks in four sets in Omaha, behind 15 kills on .400 hitting from Kelli Browning.
    Last season in Lawrence, Kansas won the first two sets and Creighton won the next two sets before KU won the fifth frame, 15-13. Kelli Browning had 15 kills and 11 blocks in the contest for CU, while Caroline Jarmoc had 22 kills and Brianne Riley 33 digs for the Jayhawks.
    Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 1-4 against Kansas and Ray Bechard.

With A Win on Saturday...
-Creighton would improve to 4-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, and reach its first Sweet 16 bid.
-Creighton would improve to 2-5 all-time against Kansas with its second straight win over the Jayhawks.
-Creighton would improve to 24-8 on the fall with its ninth victory in the past 11 contests.
-Creighton’s 24 wins would be second-most in school history, trailing only the 29 victories by last year’s club.

NCAA Tournament History
Creighton is making its third NCAA Tournament appearance in history this weekend. The Bluejays went 1-1 in its maiden voyage in 2010 and again 1-1 in 2012. All those matches were played in Minneapolis, Minn.
    In 2010, Creighton topped No. 16 Iowa State (27-25, 16-25, 25-23, 19-25, 15-11) in the first round before falling to No. 12 Minnesota (25-19, 30-28, 25-20) in the second round the following evening.
    In 2012, Creighton swept Marquette (25-22, 25-23, 28-26) before falling to No. 11 Minnesota (25-20, 17-25, 25-23, 25-17) in the second round the following evening.
    All told, Creighton is 3-2 in program history in NCAA play, with each match coming under Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s direction.

vs. Common Opponents
Creighton and Kansas own three common opponents this season, Bowling Green, Arkansas and Denver.
    Creighton went 3-0 against those teams, while Kansas was 3-1.
Opponent    CU Result    KU Result
Bowling Green    W 3-0    W 3-2
Denver    W 3-2    W 3-1
Arkansas    W 3-1    W 3-2
        L 2-3

Creighton had a couple of season-highs in last night’s win over Arkansas.
-Ashley Jansen’s 16 digs were one more than her previous high in 2013.
-Kelli Browning tied a season-high with 15 kills and had season-highs with 11 blocks and .522 hitting.
-Jess Bird tied a season-high with five blocks.

What Can Browning Do For You
Kelli Browning continued her career-long trend of stepping up in the postseason, posting 15 kills and 11 blocks on .522 hitting last night.
    Last season Browning hit .528 in two NCAA Tourney matches, collecting 21 kills and nine blocks in seven sets.
    For her career, Browning now averages 3.27 kills and 1.82 blocks per set on .525 hitting.

Second Round Stopping Points
Creighton is appearing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years, but still seeking its first Sweet 16 bid.
    The Bluejays were swept in three close sets at Minnesota in 2010.
    Last season, Creighton and Minnesota were tied at one set each when CU could not maintain a 17-10 third set lead in an eventual four set loss.

Second Straight Second Round
Creighton and Kansas are among 17 teams (not including Kentucky and Michigan State, who are weather delayed in Lexington) to win a first round match each of the past two years.
    That list, alphabetically, includes BYU, Creighton, Florida, Florida State, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, USC and Washington.

One of Eight
Only eight programs in history have won at least one match in every NCAA Tournament appearance it has ever made, a group that includes Auburn, Creighton, Florida, Stanford, St. John’s, Texas, TCU and Virginia Tech.
    Of those eight schools, only half (Creighton, Florida, Stanford, Texas) are in the 2013 Tournament.
At Least 1 NCAA Tourney Win, Every Trip
    App.    School    This Year?
    33    Stanford    Hampton
    30    Texas    Texas State
    24    Florida    Jacksonville
    3    Creighton    vs. Arkansas
    2    St. John’s    DNQ
     1    Auburn    DNQ
    1    TCU    DNQ
    1    Virginia Tech    DNQ

Upsets Possible?
Since the NCAA went to sideout scoring in 2001, the No. 14 national seed has advanced to the Sweet 16 in just seven of 12 seasons, and only once in the past four tournaments.
    Among the “upsets” in recent years are Ohio State over Tennessee in 2011, Ohio State over Dayton in 2010, Kentucky over Oregon in 2009, Michigan over Colorado State in 2007 and Miami (Fla.) over Wisconsin in 2002.
    This year Kansas is the national No. 14 seed.
    Already this year, No. 5 national seed Florida lost a second-round home match to Florida State.

Strong League
Only two leagues sent multiple teams to the NCAA Tournament and finished unbeaten in the opening round, the BIG EAST and the West Coast Conference.
    Creighton (beat Arkansas) and Marquette (beat Louisville) helped the BIG EAST to a 2-0 mark, while BYU (beat Arizona State) and San Diego (beat UCSB) helped the WCC go unbeaten.

Winner Heads Where?
The winner of Saturday’s match will advance to play in the Los Angeles Regional next weekend, hosted by USC.
    The first match would be next Friday (Dec. 13) against the winner of the Seattle subregional that features Washington against LSU tonight. One contest would be at 7 pm Central, and the second contest at 9 pm Central and air on ESPN3.
    Saturday’s (Dec. 14) Regional final is set for 10:30 pm Central and will air on ESPNU.

Facts About The Lawrence Bracket
It’s not just a cliche to say that anyone can come out of the four-team bracket of evenly-matched teams in Lawrence.
    The quartet of Arkansas, Creighton, Kansas and Wichita State is nation’s only four-team sub-regional that contains four teams with an RPI of 36 or better.
    The Lawrence sub-regional is also the nation’s only quartet of teams without a team in the top-20 of this week’s AVCA poll.

A Nebraska Flavor
The state of Nebraska annually is among the national leaders for volleyball players per capita, and this weekend’s tournament will help prove that fact.
    Kansas has three Nebraska natives, while Creighton has six natives from the state, including four regular starters.
    KU’s roster includes Papillion native Chelsea Albers, Omaha’s Sara McClinton and Lincoln’s Maggie Anderson. Albers and McClinton were both named First Team All-Big 12.
    Albers attended Papillion-La Vista High School, McClinton attended Millard North High School, and Anderson went to Lincoln Southwest High School.
    While at Millard North, McClinton was a teammate of current Creighton setter Michelle Sicner. Sicner was a Second-Team All-BIG EAST choice.

Set 1 Result = Match Result
Creighton is 176-20 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when it wins set one. In that same time span, CU is just 34-107 under Booth when it drops the first set.
    Creighton has also won 34 home straight contests when winning the first set.
    Creighton went 24-1 last season when winning the opening set of a match. The season-ending loss to Minnesota was the first time all season that it lost after leading a match after any completed set.
    This year’s team is 23-2 when leading in sets played at any point of a match.
    Yesterday’s comeback improved Creighton to 7-6 this year when dropping the first set.

Jays vs. Ranked Teams
Creighton’s win over No. 13 BYU on Aug. 30 marked the team’s third win over a ranked foe in the last five seasons. The Jays defeated No. 25 Wichita State in 2009 and No. 16 Iowa State in 2010. The victory over BYU was the highest-ranked team that Creighton has ever beaten.
    Creighton is 3-51 all-time against ranked schools (3-35 under Kirsten Bernthal Booth), and 0-18 vs. top-10 clubs. That includes an 0-26 road record, 1-18 at home and 2-7 at neutral sites.
    Kansas is ranked 23rd nationally.
Creighton vs. Ranked Teams All-Time
Date    Opponent    Result
09/01/98    at #5 Nebraska    L 0-3
09/04/98    vs. #19 Texas A&M (@Pacific)    L 0-3
09/05/98    at #11 Pacific    L 0-3
09/14/99    at #24 Kansas State    L 0-3
10/16/99    #19 Northern Iowa    L 0-3
09/08/00    at #6 Hawai’i    L 0-3
10/03/00    at #1 Nebraska    L 0-3
09/08/01    at #24 Santa Clara    L 1-3
09/09/01    vs. #13 UC Santa Barbara (at Santa Clara)    L 0-3
09/25/01    at #1 Nebraska    L 0-3
10/13/01    #16 Northern Iowa    L 0-3
11/09/01    at #18 Northern Iowa    L 0-3
09/06/02    vs. #13 Pacific (at Columbia, S.C.)    L 0-3
09/21/02    at #7 Northern Iowa    L 1-3
09/29/02    at #5 Nebraska    L 0-3
10/18/02    #10 Northern Iowa    L 0-3
10/04/03    at #10 Northern Iowa    L 1-3
11/01/03    #12 Northern Iowa    L 1-3
10/10/04    vs. #5 Nebraska (North Platte, Neb.)    L 0-3
09/06/05    at #24 Kansas State    L 0-3
09/10/05    vs. #3 Stanford (Boulder, Colo.)    L 0-3
10/11/05    at #1 Nebraska    L 0-3
10/29/05    at #25 Wichita State    L 1-3
09/24/06    #1 Nebraska    L 1-3
08/31/07    at #1 Nebraska    L 0-3
09/02/07    #18 Cal Poly    L 0-3
09/15/07    at #13 Minnesota    L 1-3
11/10/07    at #24 Wichita State    L 0-3
08/29/08    #16 Minnesota    L 0-3
08/30/08    #21 LSU    L 2-3
09/27/08    #14 Wichita State    L 1-3
10/05/08    #2 Nebraska    L 0-3
10/24/08    at #12 Wichita State    L 0-3
08/29/09    #10 Illinois    L 0-3
09/01/09    at #6 Nebraska    L 0-3
10/02/09    #25 Wichita State    W 3-1
11/10/09    #20 Saint Louis    L 0-3
11/20/09    at #21 Northern Iowa    L 1-3
11/27/09    #20 Northern Iowa    L 0-3
09/01/10    #7 Nebraska    L 0-3
09/24/10    #16 Northern Iowa    L 1-3
10/23/10    at #14 Northern Iowa    L 0-3
11/27/10    at #11 Northern Iowa    L 1-3
12/03/10    vs. #16 Iowa State (Minneapolis)    W 3-2
12/04/10    at #12 Minnesota    L 0-3
09/08/11    at #11 Nebraska    L 0-3
10/15/11    #12 Northern Iowa    L 0-3
11/11/11    at #12 Northern Iowa    L 1-3
09/01/12    #21 Kansas State    L 0-3
12/01/12    at #11 Minnesota    L 1-3
08/30/13    vs. #13 BYU (Bowling Green, Ohio)    W 3-1
09/14/13    vs. #11 UCLA (Denver, Colo)    L 1-3
09/20/13    vs. #7 Hawai’i (Wichita, Kan.)    L 2-3
11/30/13    #24 Marquette    L 1-3

Double-Double Tandem
Both Michelle Sicner and Kelli Browning turned in double-doubles last night.
    Sicner had 45 assists and 10 digs for her team-high 17th double-double of the season, and 24th of her career.
    Browning had 15 kills and 11 blocks for her second double-double of the fall and seventh in her career. Her eight career matches with 10 or more blocks is a school record.

Dig This!
Kate Elman owns double-digit digs in each of her last 22 matches, a streak that started on Sept. 20th.
    With 24 digs vs. Xavier last Friday, Elman became the first player in Creighton history with multiple double-digit dig streaks of 20 or longer in her career.
    The school record streak is 43, set by Janeen Piller nearly a decade ago.
Consecutive Matches, 10 or More Digs
    43    Janeen Piller, Oct. 10, 2003-Nov. 26, 2004
    32    Kate Elman, Aug. 24 - Nov. 30, 2012
    27    Bianca Rivera, Aug. 24-Nov. 9, 2007
    23    Julianne Mandolfo, Sept. 9-Nov. 24, 2011
    22    Kate Elman, Sept. 20, 2013 - Present
    19    Bianca Rivera, Sept. 20-Nov. 28, 2008

Browning For The Block
Kelli Browning owns 178 blocks this season, second-most in Creighton history. Last year she set a CU record with 204 rejections, which tied for the national lead.
Total Blocks, Season
        Name    Sets    BS    BA    Tot.    Year
    1.    Kelli Browning    124    15    189    204    2012
    2.    Kelli Browning    117    18    160    178    2013
    3.    Ashley Williams    115    27    143    170    2003
    4.    Jessica Houts    115    12    154    166    2009
    5.    Jessica Houts    116    23    123    146    2006
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