OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton Volleyball used strong serving and a big block in a 3-0 sweep of South Florida on Saturday in the afternoon session of the Bluejay Invitational. Scores in favor of CU's 13th-straight home win were 25-15, 25-22, 25-14.
Creighton's win sets up a showdown for the Bluejay Invitational title at 7:30 pm tonight when the Bluejays host Cal. Cal (4-0) swept Northern Colorado (2-3) by a 25-14, 25-16, 25-16 score on Saturday morning.
The first set was a game of runs. Creighton fell behind 5-1 and quickly called timeout. A sideout led to a 10-0 serving run from freshman Jess Bird as CU reclaimed a 11-5 lead. The Bulls would answer with a 6-0 flurry to knot the score at 11 all before CU's Melanie Jereb served up a 6-0 run to give CU a comfortable cushion in an eventual 25-15 victory. Jereb, Leah McNary and Lauren Smith each had three kills for CU in the stanza, while Bird had six digs and two kills. USF was led by five kills from Erin Fairs.
Creighton played from behind most of the second set, and trailed 19-16 late after consecutive attack errors. CU tied the score with a McNary kill, Sicner ace and Bird/Smith combo block, only to see USF retake the lead. With the score deadlocked at 22-all, BIG EAST Preseason Co-Player of the Year Kelli Browning went to work. Browning had a solo stuff, a kill and a shared block with Michelle Sicner to close it out. Browning had four kills and five of CU's seven blocks.
Creighton trailed 3-1 early in the final set before Katie Neisler's 6-0 service run. After USF closed to within 12-8, Bird served up two aces in a 4-0 burst to help end the drama. CU had four blocks in the final set, including a solo stop by Savannah Smith on match point.
Jereb, McNary and Lauren Smith paced CU with eight kills each, including a match-best .400 hitting rate from Florida native McNary. Bird led all players with 18 digs, while Browning finished as the blocks leader with six. Creighton had 37 kills, six aces, 51 digs and 12 blocks on .183 hitting overall.
USF (3-3) was paced by 11 kills and 13 digs from Erin Fairs. The Bulls had 28 kills, three aces, 38 digs and six blocks on .027 hitting.
The Bluejay Invitational wraps up later tonight with two evening matches. Northern Colorado meets USF at 5:30 pm, followed by Creighton vs. Cal in the 7:30 pm finale.
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