Volleyball Ready To Host BIG EAST Tournament
BIG EAST Tournament
Nov. 29 4 pm #4 Butler vs. #1 Marquette Omaha, Neb. (D.J. Sokol Arena)
Nov. 29 6:30 pm #3 Xavier at #2 Creighton (1180 AM) Omaha, Neb. (D.J. Sokol Arena)
Nov. 30 5 pm Championship Match (1180 AM if CU wins) Omaha, Neb. (D.J. Sokol Arena)
Creighton’s first chance to host a BIG EAST Tournament in any sport takes place this weekend when three of the Midwest’s top volleyball programs come to Omaha with a title in mind.
The BIG EAST Tournament begins Friday with a pair of semifinal matches. Top-seeded and No. 24 Marquette (23-5, 15-1 BIG EAST) will entertain fourth-seeded Butler (24-7, 11-5 BIG EAST) in the 4 pm semifinal before second-seeded Creighton (21-7, 12-4 BIG EAST) hosts third-seeded Xavier (21-10, 12-4 BIG EAST) in the 6:30 pm semifinal.
Saturday’s tournament final is set for 5 pm, with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line.
The tournament will be held at D.J. Sokol Arena inside the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center (2,500) in Omaha, Neb.
Any Creighton matches played this weekend will air on KZOT (1180 AM). Brad Burwell will call the play-by-play, while Erin (Swanson) Russell handles color analyst duties.
The match(es) are available by clicking on the “Listen Live” banner on the right side of the page at http://1180zone2.com/.
All three BIG EAST Tournament matches will be video webcast free of charge, and include audio from Brad Burwell and Erin (Swanson) Russell.
Live Stats Information
All three BIG EAST Tournament 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.
Selection Show Party Planned
The 64-team bracket for the NCAA Tournament takes place this Sunday (Dec. 1), in a show scheduled to air on ESPNU at 8:30 pm Central.
The Creighton team and coaches will watch the pairings be announced from The Old Mattress Factory Bar & Grill (501 North 13th Street in Omaha) on Sunday night.
The public and media is invited to attend.
Creighton finished the regular-season with a 21-7 mark and wrapped up its first BIG EAST campaign with a 12-4 league mark to tie for second.
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 and in the national conversation to host NCAA Tournament matches next weekend.
Setter Michelle Sicner (9.94 aps., 1.44 kps., 0.98 bps.) was named AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 15th and has five hitters to choose from that average at least 1.73 kills per set.
Leading the offense in kills is junior Leah McNary (3.06 kps.), just ahead of surging freshman Jess Bird (2.46 kps., 2.71 dps.). Kelli Browning (2.39 kps., 1.52 bps., .314%) and Lauren Smith (2.20 kps., 1.20 bps.) give Creighton one of the nation’s best tandems in the middle.
The defense is paced by sophomore libero Kate Elman (4.04 kps.), who also ranks second on the team with 20 aces.
Creighton averages 13.50 kills, 1.05 aces, 15.33 digs and 3.10 blocks per set while hitting .219 as a team.
Xavier is 21-10 on the season and tied for second place in the BIG EAST with a 12-4 league mark. The Musketeers beat the bottom six teams in the league standings twice each, but were 0-2 against both Creighton and Marquette.
Freshman OH Abbey Bessler (3.77 kps.), senior MB Alex Smith (2.59 kps., .415%) and senior OH Sarah Brown (2.06 kps., 3.97 dps.) lead the offense, which is directed by Alex’s sister, junior S Aubree Smith (10.87 aps.).
Sophomore DS/L Lauren Metzger (3.83 dps.) is second on the team in digs, while junior MB Alex Blair (1.32 bps.) is the team’s top blocker.
As a squad, Xavier averages 14.28 kills, 1.30 aces, 17.93 digs and 2.34 blocks per set on .233 hitting.
Scouting No. 24 Marquette
Marquette has won 18 of its last 19 matches to improve to 23-5 on the fall, but the lone setback in that stretch was a 3-0 loss at Creighton on Oct. 13. That setback in Omaha remains Marquette’s only loss in 11 true road matches this fall for the regular-season BIG EAST champs, which moved into the AVCA poll this week at No. 24.
MU’s four non-conference losses came to teams ranked in the top-13 nationally at the time of the match (No. 13 BYU, No. 3 USC, No. 3 Penn State and No. 4 Florida).
Freshman Autumn Bailey (4.29 kps., 3.00 dps., .280%) is one of the nation’s top freshmen and has consistently led the Golden Eagles in kills.
Joining her on the offensive attack are Lindsey Gosh (2.75 kps., 0.53 saps.), Nele Barber (2.68 kps., .273%) and Meghan Niemann (2.64 kps., .340%).
Directing MU’s offense is Preseason Co-BIG EAST Player of the Year Elizabeth Koberstein (12.22 aps., 2.10 dps.), while Julie Jeziorowski (4.66 dps.) serves as a veteran presence at libero.
As a team, Marquette averages 14.89 kills, 1.30 aces, 15.45 digs and 2.04 blocks per set on .287 hitting.
Butler is 24-7 on the season and went 11-5 in BIG EAST play to finish fourth in the conference standings.
Junior OH Belle Obert leads BU with 3.41 kills per set and also owns 1.07 blocks per set on .270 hitting. Middle blockers Maggie Harbison (2.18 kps., .284%, 1.18 bps.) and Erica Stahl (1.90 kps., .313%, 1.39 bps.) join Obert by averaging more than a block per set.
Junior DS Brooke Ruffolo (4.75 dps.) leads the team in digs, while senior setter Morgan Peterson averages 9.97 assists per set.
As a team, Butler averages 13.70 kills, 1.36 aces, 16.35 digs and 2.99 blocks per set on .263 hitting.
Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 208-126 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.
Marquette is coached by Bond Shymansky (Iowa, 1995), who is 115-44 in his fifth year with the Golden Eagles. Shymansky was previously head coach at Georgia Tech too, which gives him a career mark of 287-108 in 12 years overall. He is assisted by Jason Allen, Jackie Simpson and Evan Muys.
Mike Johnson (Washington, 2003) is in his fourth year at Xavier, where he owns a 83-42 record and won 20 or more matches each of his first four seasons. His career record stands at 105-51 in five years when you include one year as head coach at Austin Peay. He is assisted by Kirsta Cobb, Dave Franklin and Ilvanna Hernandez.
Sharon Clark (Sacramento State, 1989) is 234-187 in her 14th year at Butler, which moves her career mark to 336-296 in 21 seasons overall when you factor in one year at Humboldt State (1993) and six seasons at UC Davis (1994-99). The winningest volleyball coach in program history, she is assisted by Lenika Vazquez and Dottie Porch.
Series History vs. Xavier
Creighton is 2-0 all-time against Xavier, with both matches taking place last month.
Creighton won in four sets on Oct. 5 in Cincinnati to notch the program’s first BIG EAST win in history.
More recently, Creighton won a five-set thriller in Omaha against the Musketeers.
Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 2-0 vs. Xavier and head coach Mike Johnson.
Series History vs. Marquette
Creighton is 4-2 all-time against Marquette, including a season split this season. Creighton swept the Golden Eagles on Oct. 13 (25-21, 25-21, 25-19), only to be swept at Marquette 12 days later (25-22, 25-18, 25-13).
Each of the last five meetings have been sweeps, and teams to win the first set are 6-0 all-time in the history of the series.
Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 4-2 against Marquette and Bond Shymansky, including a 2012 NCAA Tournament victory in Minneapolis.
Series History vs. Butler
Butler ruined Creighton’s BIG EAST opener on Oct. 4 in Indianapolis, handing the Bluejays a four-set loss. The Bluejays returned the favor on Oct. 20, winning in four sets in Omaha.
Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 1-1 vs. Butler and head coach Sharon Clark.
Last Weekend Summary
Creighton swept both Georgetown and Villanova last weekend to lock up the second seed in the BIG EAST Tournament. Lauren Smith led Creighton with 22 kills on .500 last week, while Kelli Browning owned a team-best 12 blocks. Kate Elman collected a team-best 29 digs in the wins.
Recapping 2013 Meetings vs. Xavier
Creighton won both meetings with Xavier in 2013, taking a 3-1 decision in Cincinnati Oct. 5 before winning a 3-2 contest in Omaha on Oct. 18.
In the first match-up, Lauren Smith had a career-high 15 kills and led CU with eight blocks. Michelle Sicner had 48 assists and 18 digs, and Kate Elman added 20 digs. Xavier was paced by a near triple-double from Aubree Smith (46 assists, 9 kills, 9 digs) and 20 kills and 15 digs by Abbey Bessler.
In the seocnd meeting, Kelli Browning and Leah McNary both had 14 kills while Elman again generated 20 digs in a five-set Bluejay win. Bessler had 21 kills and 23 digs, while Aubree Smith had 46 assists, nine digs and six kills.
Conference Tournament History
Creighton owned an 8-13 all-time record at the MVC Tournament, which includes a 7-9 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. CU won one title in that time, with that coming last fall in Springfield, Mo.
Creighton is 1-1 in conference tournament home matches, defeating Drake 3-1 before falling to No. 20 Northern Iowa in the 2009 tournament held at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Creighton was 0-1 all-time as a No. 2 seed in the MVC Tournament, losing to Northern Iowa in 2008 in Wichita, Kan.
With A Win on Friday...
-Creighton would improve to 22-7 on the fall with its third straight win.
-Creighton’s 22 wins would be second-most in school history, trailing only the 29 victories by last year’s club.
-Creighton would improve to 9-13 all-time in conference tournament play, including a 3-6 mark in the semifinal round and a 1-0 mark in the BIG EAST Tournament.
-Creighton would reach the title match of the Conference Tournament for the third time in four seasons. Creighton also made it in 2010 and 2012 as a member of the MVC.
-Creighton would improve to 11-2 at home this season.
Looking For History
The BIG EAST Tournament will be the 13th tournament that Creighton has hosted since its 1994 reinstatement. Stunningly, Creighton is still seeking its first tournament title on its home floor.
Creighton was unable to win the First Serve Festival in 1996 and 1997, the 2009 MVC Tournament, nor any of the nine Bluejay Invitationals (2005-13) to date.
Recent History Of Top Seeds In The Tourney
Being the top seed hasn’t always been a guarantee of winning the BIG EAST Tournament.
Since 2005, the BIG EAST Tournament has been won by the top seed just once, with that coming last season when Louisville swept the regular-season and tournament titles.
The No. 2 seed won the BIG EAST Tournament in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011. The No. 3 seed won in 2008, and the No. 4 seed won in 2009.
Here’s a look at how the top seed performed at the previous eight league tournaments:
Year Top Seed Tourney Finish
2012 Louisville 1st (3-0)
2011 Louisville Semi’s (1-1)
2010 Cincinnati Finals (2-1)
2009 Notre Dame Semi’s (1-1)
2008 St. John’s Semi’s (1-1)
2007 Louisville Finals (2-1)
2006 St. John’s Semi’s (1-1)
2005 Notre Dame Finals (2-1)
Creighton ranks 16th nationally in the official RPI released by the NCAA on Monday. The only schools ahead of the Bluejays are Texas, Penn State, Washington, Florida, Missouri, USC, Stanford, Nebraska, Kentucky, Marquette, Hawai’i, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and San Diego.
Other notable teams behind Creighton include Illinois, unbeaten Colorado State and Iowa State.
Does A Top-16 RPI Lead To Hosting?
Armed with a No. 16 RPI this week, you would think Creighton has to be considered among the 16 teams that will be selected to host NCAA Tournament matches this fall. Consider the following..
-Each of the last three teams with a Selection Sunday RPI of 16 earned a national seed, and two of those teams were selected to host.
-All but four of the 32 teams with a top-16 RPI on Selection Sunday have hosted in the past two years.
-In the last five NCAA Tournaments, 64 of the 80 teams with a Selection Sunday RPI in the top 16 have been selected to host.
Aided by at least 12 blocks in seven of the last eight matches, Creighton enters this week leading the nation with 3.10 blocks per set. Fellow BIG EAST rival Butler isn’t far behind, sitting fifth with 2.99 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 3.10
2. Penn State 3.07
3. Stanford 3.04
4. Dayton 3.04
5. Butler 2.99
Creighton is 21-3 at home the past two seasons, with two of those setbacks coming during the Bluejay Invitational. Creighton is also now 39-5 in its last 44 home matches against unranked competition.
All-time, Creighton is 50-17 (.746) at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Against conference foes, Creighton is 17-1 the past two years at D.J. Sokol Arena, and 39-6 all-time against conference foes (including the 2009 MVC Tournament).
Set 1 Result = Match Result
Creighton is 175-20 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when it wins set one. In that same time span, CU is just 33-106 under Booth when it drops the first set.
Creighton has also won 33 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 21-2 when leading in sets played at any point of a match.
Browning For The Block
Kelli Browning owns 160 blocks this season, fourth-most in Creighton history. Last year she set a CU record with 204 rejections, and she can move into second place this season with 11 more stuffs.
Total Blocks, Season
Name Sets BS BA Tot. Year
1. Kelli Browning 124 15 189 204 2012
2. Ashley Williams 115 27 143 170 2003
3. Jessica Houts 115 12 154 166 2009
4. Kelli Browning 105 17 143 160 2013
5. Jessica Houts 116 23 123 146 2006
Kate Elman owns double-digit digs in each of her last 19 matches, a streak that started on Sept. 20th.
With 10 or more digs vs. Xavier on Friday, Elman can become 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
19 Bianca Rivera, Sept. 20-Nov. 28, 2008
19 Kate Elman, Sept. 20, 2013 - Present
18 Allie Oelke, Oct. 10, 2009-Aug. 28, 2010
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 joins 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
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 50 victories in the past two seasons are four more than other two-year span in program history, previoiusly done from 2011-12.
Creighton’s 67 victories in the past three seasons are tied for the most in any three-year span in program history, matching the 2010-12 total of 67.
Creighton’s 88 victories in the past four seasons are seven more than other four-year span in program history, which was done from 2009-12.
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 1.52 blocks per set, eighth-best nationally, amongst the NCAA stat leaders.
Browning owns 397 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).
Browning owns 397 blocks in 82 matches and is in line to become to need fewer matches than any player in school history to reach 400 blocks.
Creighton’s Quickest Players To 400 Total Blocks
Name MP Date Opponent
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
301 and Counting
Creighton Volleyball owns 301 wins since restarting its program prior to the 1994 season, reaching the 300 win mark in last Friday’s 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 last Sunday’s 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 and 2012, 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 owns six double-doubles in her last nine outings, and nine overall on the season. In the last nine matches Bird has averaged 11.78 kills and 11.44 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 nine double-doubles mark 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 are the most by any Bluejay freshman since Allie Oelke had 14 in 2007.
Avoiding Season Sweeps
Creighton has lost just 15 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 13-0 when facing such a team.
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.
Both potential teams that Creighton could face in the BIG EAST Tournament final (Butler & Marquette), have beaten the Jays this fall.
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 21-7 mark this fall heading into the BIG EAST Tournament. This is the fifth time Booth has led Creighton to 20 or more victories in a year.
Creighton won a school-record 29 matches in 2012, and 21 contests in 2006, 2007 and 2010 before doing so this year as well.
Brew City Browning
Junior MB Kelli Browning hails from the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, and would look to continue her trend of big matches against Wisconsin teams if she has the opportunity to face Marquette on Saturday.
In four matches during the past two seasons against Marquette or Wisconsin, Browning has averaged 3.00 kills and 1.00 blocks per set while hitting a healthy .507 in 13 sets.
Most importantly, Creighton has won three of the four matches (2-1 vs. MU, 1-0 vs. UW).
Inspired By Marquette?
Michelle Sicner has had a tremendous season, and has played her best volleyball when Marquette has been present.
At the season-opening Hampton Inn Invitational that both Creighton and Marquette participated in, Sicner was named Tournament MVP and led her team to the title.
On Oct. 13, Sicner had a triple-double in a 3-0 win vs. Marquette en route to BIG EAST Player of the Week and Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week accolades. In the most recent meeting on Oct. 25th in Milwaukee, Sicner had 25 assists, nine digs and four kills vs. the Golden Eagles.
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.
Key to Creighton’s 3-0 sweep of Marquette on Oct. 13 was holding freshman sensation Autumn Bailey to career-lows in kills (6) and hitting percentage (-.042). Bailey ranks second nationally among freshmen (26th overall) with 4.29 kills per set.
Another key to the win vs. Marquette was in serve receive, where Creighton held the Golden Eagles without a service ace in 63 attempts. Preseason All-BIG EAST performer Lindsey Gosh ranks seventh nationally with 0.53 aces per set while Bailey ranks 78th with 0.35 aces per set. The Golden Eagles won the point on just one of Gosh’s eight serving attempts and just two of Bailey’s nine attempts.
By contrast, in the second meeting between the schools, Bailey had 13 kills on .303 hitting, as well as an ace. Gosh served 12 times, with MU winning six of those points. Marquette won that match in three sets.
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 21-7 start and Creighton is 50-11.
The 50-11 mark gives the Jays a .820 win percentage in that span, 14th-best nationally.
Creighton’s 50 wins in the same span rank tied for 15th nationally.
Best Win Percentages, Since 2012 (thru 11/24/13)
Name W L Pct.
Penn State 59 5 .922
Texas 50 6 .893
Central Arkansas 58 8 .879
Hawai’i 49 7 .875
Florida 53 8 .869
Colorado State 48 8 .857
Western Kentucky 60 10 .857
North Carolina 52 9 .852
Stanford 52 9 .852
Washington 49 9 .845
BYU 50 10 .833
USC 54 11 .831
Louisville 51 11 .823
Creighton 50 11 .820
Florida State 50 11 .820
San Diego 45 10 .818
American 53 12 .815
Georgia Southern 53 12 .815
Missouri 52 12 .813
Marquette 50 12 .806
Nebraska 48 12 .800
College of Charleston 52 13 .800
Most Wins, Since 2012 (thru 11/24/13)
Name W L Pct.
Western Kentucky 60 10 .857
Penn State 59 5 .922
Central Arkansas 58 8 .879
USC 54 11 .831
Florida 53 8 .869
American 53 12 .815
Georgia Southern 53 12 .815
Morehead State 53 14 .791
North Carolina 52 9 .852
Stanford 52 9 .852
Missouri 52 12 .813
College of Charleston 52 13 .800
Minnesota 52 14 .788
Louisville 51 11 .823
Texas 50 6 .893
BYU 50 10 .833
Creighton 50 11 .820
Florida State 50 11 .820
Marquette 50 12 .806
VCU 50 14 .781
Wichita State 50 16 .758
Tulsa 50 17 .746
Hawai’i 49 7 .875
Washington 49 9 .845
Colorado State 48 8 .857
Nebraska 48 12 .800
Kansas 48 13 .787
Ohio 48 14 .774
LIU Brooklyn 48 15 .762
UNI 48 17 .738
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 1.20 blocks per set so far this season lead all BIG EAST freshmen, and are the 14th-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.
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.
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 enters this weekend with a 208-126 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 66 different schools to amass the 208 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
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
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.
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.
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
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 50-17 all-time at the five-year old facility, surpassing the 44-26 mark attained at the Omaha Civic Auditorium from 2003-08.
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 223-112 (.666). The teams are also 130-66 (.663) 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, 2013 poll completely. The Jays returned among those “also receiving votes” on Nov. 25th, earning 11 votes to rank 30th.
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
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 take a look at how Creighton’s start in 2013 compares to the last three seasons after 28 matches.
Stat 2013 2012 2011 2010
W-L Thru 28 21-7 25-3 16-12 18-10
Final W-L ? ? ? 29-4 17-14 21-12
Postseason ? ? ? NCAA None NCAA
Tourney Titles 1 3 0 0
Kills/Set 13.50 13.41 12.86 13.44
Hitting % .219 .250 .207 .216
Aces/Set 1.05 1.27 1.17 1.32
Digs/Set 15.33 17.75 17.18 18.87
Blocks/Set 3.10 3.01 2.51 2.39
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 2.46 kills and 2.71 digs per set. By comparison, Melanie Jereb averaged 2.44 kills and 2.87 digs per set after her first 28 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 2.20 kills and 1.20 blocks per set after 28 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 28 matches, Houts was averaging 2.81 kills and 1.29 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.
Creighton boasts two freshmen who are averaging at least two kills per set, Jess Bird (2.46) and Lauren Smith (2.20).
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.
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 11 women (Coleman, Decker, Lebeda, Oelke, Mandolfo, Sicner and Jereb) went on to land a spot on the MVC’s All-Freshman Team.
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
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 is off to a fantastic start to her freshman campaign, with 231 kills and 126 blocks while hitting .273 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.
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 8-3 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 208-2 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 21-7
Total 51-47 301-278
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.
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%)
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 19 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
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 10 home matches this season, including the BIG EAST Tournament.
The matches will air on KZOT (1180 AM) or 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. 29 Xavier (KZOT 1180 AM)
Nov. 30 Finals (KZOT 1180 AM)
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.