2013 Year-End Creighton Volleyball Recap Creighton’s 2013 Volleyball season will be remembered for the school’s move to the BIG EAST Conference, leading the nation in blocks, and a return to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Bluejays entered the fall with its loftiest expectations in program history. The Bluejays were ranked (25th) in the preseason AVCA poll for the first time, and also picked to win their conference for the first time when it was tabbed the favorite by BIG EAST coaches. The season started impressively, as the Jays traveled to Bowling Green, Ohio, for the Hampton Inn Invitational. Creighton defeated No. 13 BYU in the opener, the highest-ranked team the program has ever beaten. One day later, CU swept preseason Mid-American Conference favorite Bowling Green. The Bluejays returned home and swept Northern Colorado and South Florida in the Bluejay Invitational, only to suffer its first home loss in over a year to Cal, snapping a 13-match home win streak in the process. CU quickly regrouped with a midweek win over Kansas, the first victory over the Jayhawks in program history, to move to 6-1. Creighton then traveled to Denver, Colo., for the Denver Invitational. The Bluejays swept previously unbeaten Cal State Northridge before a five-set win over the host Pioneers. Playing in a tournament title match for the third straight weekend, the Jays fell in four sets to No. 11 UCLA. CU wrapped up non-conference play with three matches at the Shocker Volleyball Classic, hosted by old Valley rival Wichita State. CU turned heads nationally by extending No. 7 Hawai’i to a fifth set before falling to the national powerhouse. The team would respond with a sweep of South Dakota before earning a 3-2 triumph over Wichita State to close out pre-conference play with a 9-3 record against one of the nation’s most challenging schedules. After a rare week off due to the league’s unbalanced schedule, Creighton’s debut in the BIG EAST started with a thud, falling in four sets to a Butler club picked sixth in the league (but would finish 24-9). The Bluejays would shake off that setback with five consecutive victories, including a 3-0 sweep over Marquette on October 13th. It would turn out to be the only league loss by Marquette all season. A return trip to Marquette just 12 days later snapped the win streak, with the Golden Eagles sweeping CU. The Bluejays took a 15-5 mark into November, but were stunned on the first of the month when it lost a 3-2 home match to the sixth-place Red Storm. Creighton answered with four straight wins before another surprising loss in its final league road test at Seton Hall, only to close out the regular-season with 3-0 sweeps over both Georgetown and Villanova. Playing as the second seed, Creighton hosted the four-team BIG EAST Tournament on Thanksgiving weekend in Omaha. Creighton defeated Xavier for the third time to reach the final, only to fall in four sets to Marquette while attempting to win the school’s first BIG EAST title in any sport. Creighton earned its third NCAA Tournament bid in four years, narrowly missing out on a bid to host, and was sent to Lawrence, Kan., for a balanced four-team field that featured the host Jayhawks, Wichita State and Arkansas. Creighton led its first round match against Arkansas, 2-1, but fell behind 23-19 in the fourth frame. However, a match-ending 7-1 run propelled CU to a 26-24 win and into the second round of the NCAA’s once again. One day later Creighton and Kansas would meet, with each team seeking its first Sweet 16 appearance. The teams split the first two sets and were tied at 22-all in the third set before KU scored the last three points. The Jayhawks also won the fourth set, and the match, to end CU’s season at 23-9. Kelli Browning was named First Team All-BIG EAST and AVCA Honorable-Mention All-American after a stellar season that saw her finish eighth nationally with 1.53 blocks per set. Fellow junior Leah McNary led CU in kills and was a First Team All-BIG EAST selection, while classmate Michelle Sicner was Second Team All-BIG EAST and also Honorable-Mention All-American by the AVCA after handling CU’s setting duties most of the season. Sicner had gained national acclaim during the year when she was named AVCA National Player of the Week on October 15 after posting consecutive triple-doubles in wins over DePaul and Marquette. Creighton’s success was made all the more encouraging by the fact that the Bluejays started two freshmen (Jess Bird and Lauren Smith), and only lose Savannah Smith (0.32 kps., 0.38 bps.) to graduation.
Radio Broadcast Information Creighton had 13 matches broadcast on radio this season that aired on KOIL (1180 AM), and KKAR (1290 AM). The audio was also streamed free of charge on those station’s websites. Brad Burwell handled play-by-play, while the analysis role was handled at various times by Erin Swanson, Rachel Houseman and Glen Sisk.
Video Webcast Information All of Creighton’s home matches, as well as several road contests, were video webcast in 2013. Cost for a subscription was $10.95 for one month or $34.95 for a four-month package.
Live Stats Information All Creighton matches had free live stats in 2013 at www.gocreighton.com. Live stats from Creighton’s home matches were also available on mobile devices by clicking on www.gocreightonstats.com.
Television Information Creighton did not appear on television in 2013, though both NCAA Tournament matches appeared on-line for free on ESPN3.
The Coaches Creighton was coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 210-128 record after 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 was helped by assistant coaches Tom Mendoza and Angie Oxley Behrens and volunteer assistant Amanda (Gates) Sjuts.
NCAA Tournament History Creighton made its third NCAA Tournament appearance in history this fall. The Bluejays went 1-1 in Minneapolis in both 2010 and 2012, before going 1-1 in 2013 in Lawrence, Kan. 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. In 2013, Creighton defeated Arkansas (22-25, 25-14, 25-22, 26-24) before falling at No. 23 ranked and No. 14 national seed Kansas (25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21) in the second round. All told, Creighton is 3-3 in program history in NCAA play, with each match coming under Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s direction.
Second Round Creighton is one of 19 teams to win a first round match each of the past two years. That list, alphabetically, includes BYU, Creighton, Florida, Florida State, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, 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) were in the 2013 Tournament. At Least 1 NCAA Tourney Win, Every Trip App. School This Year? 33 Stanford Beat Hampton 30 Texas Beat Texas State 24 Florida Beat Jacksonville 3 Creighton Beat Arkansas 2 St. John’s DNQ 1 Auburn DNQ 1 TCU DNQ 1 Virginia Tech DNQ
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.
vs. NCAA Tournament Opponents Creighton played 11 matches against teams that made the 2013 NCAA Tournament, going 6-5 against those teams. Opponent CU Result Arkansas W 3-1 California L 0-3 Marquette W 3-0 L 0-3 L 1-3 Cal State Northridge W 3-0 BYU W 3-1 Hawai’i L 2-3 Kansas W 3-1 L 1-3 Wichita State W 3-2
Facts About The Lawrence Bracket It’s not just a cliche to say that anyone could have come out of the four-team bracket of evenly-matched teams in Lawrence. The quartet of Arkansas, Creighton, Kansas and Wichita State was nation’s only four-team sub-regional that contained four teams with an RPI of 36 or better. The Lawrence sub-regional was also the nation’s only quartet of teams without a team in the top-20 of the AVCA poll entering the postseason.
Honor Roll Creighton had four women honored with postseason awards by the BIG EAST or AVCA. Kelli Browning was named First Team All-BIG EAST, a First Team All-East Region choice by the AVCA and an Honorable-Mention All-America pick by the AVCA. Leah McNary was named First Team All-BIG EAST and honorable-mention AVCA All-East Region. Michelle Sicner was a Second Team All-BIG EAST choice but an AVCA All-East Region First Team choice and recognized as an AVCA All-America honorable-mention player. Lauren Smith was also an honorable-mention pick on the AVCA’s All-East Region team.
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 34-108 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 was 23-2 when leading in sets played at any point of a match.
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 3-52 all-time against ranked schools (3-36 under Kirsten Bernthal Booth), and 0-18 vs. top-10 clubs. That includes an 0-27 road record, 1-18 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 11/30/13 #24 Marquette L 1-3 12/07/13 at #23 Kansas L 1-3
Records Fall Creighton set a couple records in 2013. The team’s 13-match home win streak was snapped by California on September 7th. The team tied a program record for blocks in a five-set match with eight at Denver on Sept. 13th. On the career chart, Kelli Browning took over school records for attack percentage (.333) and blocks per set (1.43).
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 vs. Arkansas on Dec. 6. 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 3.00 kills and 1.80 blocks per set on .439 hitting in NCAA action.
Dig This! Kate Elman owned double-digit digs in each of her last 23 matches of 2013, a streak that started on Sept. 20th. That’s tied for the fourth-longest streak in program history. With 24 digs vs. Xavier in the BIG EAST Tournament, 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 23 Kate Elman, Sept. 20, 2013 - Present 19 Bianca Rivera, Sept. 20-Nov. 28, 2008
Browning For The Block Kelli Browning owned 185 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 121 19 166 185 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
Put It In Neutral Creighton has won 11 of its last 13 matches against teams on neutral floors, including wins vs. No. 13 BYU in the 2013 season-opener, a victory over Wichita State in the 2012 MVC Tournament final, and wins over Marquette in the 2012 NCAA Tournament and Arkansas in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
You Dig? In Creighton’s first 28 matches of the season, only Kate Elman (five times) had reached 20 digs in a match. On Nov. 29th vs. Xavier, Creighton had three different players with at least 20 digs, as Elman (24), Jess Bird (22) and Michelle Sicner (21) reached that milestone. Bird’s 22 digs were four more than her previous best, while Sicner’s 21 were a career high, as well. Sicner, who added 44 assists, became the first Bluejay player with at least 20 digs and 20 assists in the same match since Sicner herself did it on Sept. 30, 2011. Prior to that, the last player to do it had been Korie Lebeda in 2006. Sicner is just the fourth player in Creighton history with multiple matches of 20+ digs and 20+ assists in a match, joining Melissa Weisensee, Kailey Reyes and Brittany Coleman. Creighton’s 96 digs on vs. Xavier were a season-high, and were tied for the most in history for any match at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Home Success Creighton is 22-4 at home the past two seasons, with two of those setbacks coming during the Bluejay Invitational, and another loss coming in the BIG EAST Tournament. Creighton is also now 40-5 in its last 45 home matches against unranked competition. All-time, Creighton is 51-18 (.739) at D.J. Sokol Arena. Against conference foes, Creighton is 18-2 the past two years at D.J. Sokol Arena, and 40-7 all-time against conference foes (including the 2009 MVC Tournament and 2013 BIG EAST Tournaments).
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. Creighton’s 52 victories in the past two seasons are six more than other two-year span in program history, previously done from 2011-12. Creighton’s 69 victories in the past three seasons are the most in any three-year span in program history, two more than the 2010-12 total of 67. Creighton’s 90 victories in the past four seasons are nine more than other four-year span in program history, which was done from 2009-12.
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. Sicner’s four triple-doubles in a season were third-most in school history, and her five career triple-doubles are also second-most in Bluejay annals. Matches With a Triple-Double, Season T-D Name Year 9 Megan Bober 2011 6 Megan Bober 2012 4 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 5 Michelle Sicner 2011-Pres. 4 Kailey Reyes 1998-2001 2 Melissa Weisensee 1994-97 2 JoDe Cieloha 1994-97
Block Stars Creighton led the nation with 3.06 blocks per set. Last season Creighton finished fourth with 3.06 blocks per set, and in 2009 CU was third with 3.08 blocks per set. Rank Team Blocks/Set 1. Creighton 3.06 2. Penn State 3.05 3. Texas 3.05 4. Stanford 3.00 5. Dayton 3.00
Elman Reaches 1,000 Digs Sophomore libero Kate Elman became the 12th Bluejay player to reach 1,000 digs when she reached the milestone at Seton Hall on Nov. 16th. Elman reached the milestone in her 59th career match, third-quickest in Bluejay history. She joined Julianne Mandolfo as the second sophomore in school history to reach that mark. Below is a list of how long it took each Bluejay to reach the 1,000 career dig club. 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 Kate Elman 59 11/16/13 at Seton Hall 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
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 closed her junior season averaging 1.53 blocks per set, eighth-best nationally, amongst the NCAA stat leaders. Browning owns 422 career blocks, tied for fourth-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). Browning also reached 400 career blocks quicker than any player in school history, doing so on Nov. 29 vs. Xavier in her 83rd carer contest. The old mark was 88 by Houts. Creighton’s Quickest Players To 400 Total Blocks Name MP Date Opponent Kelli Browning 83 11/29/13 Xavier Jessica Houts 88 10/31/08 at Drake Ashley Williams 96 10/08/04 Drake JoDe Cieloha 100 10/31/97 Missouri State Laurel Sanford 105 11/12/11 at Bradley Megan Bober 123 11/16/12 at Wichita State
303 and Counting Creighton Volleyball owns 303 wins since restarting its program prior to the 1994 season, reaching the 300 win mark in a Nov. 22 sweep of Georgetown. 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 11/04/11 300-278 Georgetown 11/22/13
Summarizing Savannah Smith Creighton honored Savannah Smith prior to its Nov. 24 match as part of Senior Day festivities. Though just a junior eligibility-wise, Smith is enrolled in her fourth year academically and plans to graduate in the spring. Smith has been a part of NCAA Tournament teams in 2010, 2012 and 2013, but was injured in 2011 when the Bluejays did not qualify for the postseason.
Smith Earns League Honor, Again Creighton Volleyball’s Lauren Smith was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on 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). 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. It was the second time this fall that Smith has been named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week, joining her honor from Sept. 16.
Bird’s Flying High Freshman Jess Bird owned eight double-doubles in her last 13 outings, and 11 overall on the season. In the last 13 matches Bird has averaged 12.08 kills and 12.00 digs per match, including eight double-doubles. Earlier in November, Bird became the first Bluejay freshman with three straight double-doubles since Allie Oelke did on Sept. 11-15, 2007. Bird’s 11 double-doubles marked the third straight season CU has had a freshman with at least seven double-dips, joining current teammates Melanie Jereb (7 in 2012) and Michelle Sicner (7 in 2011), and were the most by any Bluejay freshman since Allie Oelke had 14 in 2007.
21+ Wins, Again When Kirsten Bernthal Booth arrived at Creighton, the school-record for wins in a season was 16 done by the 2000 club. Now in her 11th season at Creighton, Booth has led Creighton to 16 wins or more nine times, including a 23-9 mark this fall. This is the fifth time Booth has led Creighton to 21 or more victories in a year. Creighton won a school-record 29 matches in 2012, 23 wins this season, and 21 contests in 2006, 2007 and 2010.
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 23-9 mark and Creighton is 52-13. The 52-13 mark gives the Jays an .800 win percentage in that span, tied for 20th-best nationally. Creighton’s 52 wins in the same span rank tied for 18th nationally. Best Win Percentages, 2012-13 Name W L Pct. Penn State 67 5 .931 Texas 56 7 .889 Central Arkansas 59 9 .868 Hawaii 52 8 .867 Florida 55 9 .859 Western Kentucky 60 10 .857 Stanford 57 10 .851 Washington 55 10 .846 Southern California 59 12 .831 Colorado State 49 10 .831 North Carolina 53 11 .828 BYU 52 11 .825 Florida State 54 12 .818 Louisville 53 12 .815 San Diego 47 11 .810 American 55 13 .809 Missouri 54 13 .806 Georgia Southern 53 13 .803 Marquette 53 13 .803 Creighton 52 13 .800 Minnesota 56 15 .789 Charleston 52 14 .788 Nebraska 52 14 .788 VCU 51 14 .785 Morehead State 53 15 .779 Yale 38 11 .776 Kansas 51 15 .773 Wichita State 52 17 .754 LIU Brooklyn 48 16 .750 Ohio 48 16 .750
Most Wins, 2012-13 Name W L Pct. Penn State 67 5 .931 Western Kentucky 60 10 .857 Central Arkansas 59 9 .868 Southern California 59 12 .831 Stanford 57 10 .851 Texas 56 7 .889 Minnesota 56 15 .789 Florida 55 9 .859 Washington 55 10 .846 American 55 13 .809 Florida State 54 12 .818 Missouri 54 13 .806 North Carolina 53 11 .828 Louisville 53 12 .815 Georgia Southern 53 13 .803 Marquette 53 13 .803 Morehead State 53 15 .779 Hawaii 52 8 .867 BYU 52 11 .825 Creighton 52 13 .800 Charleston 52 14 .788 Nebraska 52 14 .788 Wichita State 52 17 .754
Ready, Set, Go Ashley Jansen’s first four career starts at setter paid big dividends, as the sophomore directed Creighton to three wins in four road contests from Nov. 8-16. Jansen had 29 assists, five digs and three kills in a 3-0 win at Villanova on Nov. 9 before having 39 assists, 10 digs, three blocks and three kills in a 3-1 victory at Georgetown the following day. The Georgetown contest marked her first career double-double, and the fifth Bluejay with a double-dip this season. Splitting time with Michelle Sicner on Nov. 15-16, Jansen then had 16 assists, five digs and three aces in a 3-1 win at St. John’s before she had 16 assists, seven digs and a career-high four kills in a 3-1 setback against Seton Hall.
Smith Has Block Party Lauren Smith had 12 blocks in the Nov. 9th 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 1.16 blocks per set this season led all BIG EAST freshmen, and were the 15th-best nationwide among her classmates.
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.
A Dramatic 200th Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth finished the season with a 210-128 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 67 different schools to amass the 210 wins at CU. 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
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.
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. Creighton’s average home attendance of 1,250 fans per match ranked 33rd nationally. 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 had four home tilts on a Sunday this season. Including the near-capacity crowd of 2,109 on Oct. 13, Creighton is now averaging 4,528 fans in nine 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 51-18 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 preseason with a 9-3 record against some of the nation’s best teams. Six of those opponents were ranked in the top-25 this season. Not counting their result vs. Creighton, the 12 squads were a combined 237-127 (.651). The teams are also 134-72 (.650) in league play this year.
Jays Fall Out Of AVCA Voting Range After a 10-week run in the AVCA poll dating to Nov. 5, 2012, Creighton fell out of the AVCA Top 25 poll released on Oct. 7th. Creighton received votes in the AVCA poll just once in its first 18 years, but had a streak of 21 straight polls with votes from Sept. 10, 2012 until Oct. 28, 2013 before falling out of the Nov. 4, 2013 poll completely. The Jays returned among those “also receiving votes” on Nov. 25th, earning 11 votes to rank 30th, and nabbed nine votes on Dec. 2nd to rank 31st. Creighton earned four votes in the year-end poll to after the 2013 NCAA Tournament, good for 31st place. 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 11/25/13 11 30th 12/02/13 9 31st 12/23/13 4 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 five-set home matches at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Strength In Numbers Creighton finished preseason 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 with more such victories (both six), while Penn State and VCU joined Creighton as the only other schools to claim five such wins.
Let’s Compare Let’s take a look at how Creighton’s stats in 2013 compare to the last three seasons. Stat 2013 2012 2011 2010 W-L 23-9 29-4 17-14 21-12 Postseason NCAA NCAA None NCAA Tourney Titles 1 3 0 0 Kills/Set 13.47 13.39 12.75 13.52 Hitting % .220 .247 .203 .214 Aces/Set 0.99 1.24 1.13 1.27 Digs/Set 15.76 17.32 17.23 18.94 Blocks/Set 3.06 3.06 2.54 2.36
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. Cieloha did it in eight straight matches to begin her career. Bird averaged 2.45 kills and 2.79 digs per set. By comparison, Melanie Jereb averaged 2.47 kills and 2.74 digs per set as a freshman last year when she would go on to be named first-team All-MVC.
Speaking of Freshmen Lauren Smith averaged 2.24 kills and 1.16 blocks per set. 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.
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.
Freshmen Phenoms Creighton boasted two freshmen who averaged at least two kills per set, Jess Bird (2.45) and Lauren Smith (2.24). There had 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.
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.
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 first 11 women (Coleman, Decker, Lebeda, Oelke, Mandolfo, Sicner and Jereb) went on to land a spot on the MVC’s All-Freshman Team. The BIG EAST does not award and All-Freshman Team.
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
Speaking Of Smith Lauren Smith had a fantastic freshman campaign, with 271 kills and 140 blocks while hitting .276. 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.
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 was 10-5 in four-set matches.
2-0 Better Than 0-2 Creighton is 192-8 (.960) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 134-2 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 7-175 (.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 210-2 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 23-9 Total 51-47 303-280
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%)
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
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 23 wins include seven triumphs over squads that were in the 2012 NCAA Tournament (BYU, Bowling Green, Northern Colorado, Kansas, Wichita State, Marquette and Arkansas). 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 6-6 TOTAL 43-101 TOTAL Under Booth 40-66
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.
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.
VB: Villanova at Creighton (11/21/14)
Creighton Volleyball clinched the 2015 BIG EAST Conference Regular Season Title...