OMAHA, Neb. - The Creighton women's volleyball team fell, 3-1, to #24 Marquette in the BIG EAST Tournament Championship Final on Saturday, Nov. 30.
Set scores for the match were: 25-18, 25-27, 25-21 & 25-16.
The loss ended Creighton's regular season at 22-8, while Marquette wrapped its regular season with a 25-5 mark.
Marquette jumped out on the Bluejays early, claiming a 6-1 opening moments. Creighton, however, was able to chip away at the deficit to pull even at 14-14 on back-to-back kills from junior Leah McNary. A service error ended the Bluejay run and Marquette pounced with five of the next six points to regain control 19-15, then take the opening set 25-18. Marquette outhit Creighton .279 to .178 in the opening set as the Bluejays committed five attack errors and three service errors.
Creighton found themselves down early once again in the second set, 7-3. The Bluejays mounted their comeback much earlier. Down 11-8 the Jays forced back-to-back Marquette errors, then capped the run on a Lauren Smith kill to knot the set at 11-11. The two teams battled back and forth through the next 14 points, bringing it to an 18-18 tie. Creighton finally broke through to take the lead at 19-18 on a block from Smith and McNary. The lead, however, was short lived as Marquette claimed the next point and appeared to regain control by bursting out to a 23-21 lead. This time Marquette opened the door with a service error and consecutive attack errors. Up 26-25, the Bluejays put the set away as freshman Jess Bird delivered a diving dig to set up McNary for the final kill.
The third set followed a similar script as Marquette bounced out to a 10-5 lead, only to see Creighton battle back to within a point at 17-16. The Golden Eagles held off the Bluejays in the closing moments, scoring the final two points on kills from Autumn Bailey and Nele Barber. Both teams returned to the floor a bit sluggish in the third set, combining to make 15 attacking, service and blocking errors.
The final set proved to be the most one-sided of the night as Marquette hit .310 (16 K, 3 E, 42 A) to take the BIG EAST title, 25-16. The two squads battled back and forth through the early going. Tied at 7-7 Marquette took control behind a 7-1 run.
Bailey and Barber led the way for the Golden Eagles with a combined 33 kills (17 for Bailey and 16 by Barber).
Meanwhile, Bird and Smith led the Bluejays with 11 kills.
Following the match the seven-person All-Tournament team was announced. Creighton's Kelli Browning and Smith were joined by Butler's Belle Obert, Xavier's Lauren Metzger as well as Marquette's Elizabeth Koberstein, Barber and Meghan Nieman.
Both the Bluejays and the Golden Eagles will now anxiously await the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday, Dec. 1. The selection show will be aired on ESPNU at 8:30 pm (CT).
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