This Weekend Creighton Volleyball (19-7, 10-4 BIG EAST) closes out its first regular-season of BIG EAST play this weekend with home matches against Georgetown and Villanova. Friday’s contest vs. Georgetown (10-18, 4-11 BIG EAST) will start at 7 pm Central, while Sunday’s match vs. Villanova (12-16, 4-11 BIG EAST) is set for a 1 pm start. Both matches will be held at D.J. Sokol Arena inside the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center (2,500) in Omaha, Neb.
Senior Day Recognition Planned Creighton will honor Savannah Smith prior to 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.
Radio Information Friday’s contest will air on KOIL (1290 AM) in Omaha. Brad Burwell will call the play-by-play, while Erin (Swanson) Russell handles color analyst duties. Friday’s match is available by clicking on the “Listen Live” banner at the top of the page at mighty1290koil.com. Sunday’s match will not be broadcast on radio.
Video Information Both matches will be video webcast, and include audio from Brad Burwell and Erin (Swanson) Russell. To sign up, visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Video tab on the top menu bar. A 4-month subscription costs $34.95, while a monthly subscription costs $10.95 per month. Fans can also purchase a 24-hour pass ($4.99) or a 48-hour pass ($5.99) that begins the moment you sign up.
Live Stats Information Both 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.
Scouting Creighton Creighton is 19-7 on the year and tied for third in the BIG EAST Conference with a 10-4 league mark. The Bluejays own six wins over NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago (No. 13 BYU, Bowling Green, Northern Colorado, Kansas, Wichita State and Marquette) and are ranked 12th in this week’s official NCAA RPI rankings. CU boasts a balanced attack, with six women averaging at least 1.49 kills per set. That group is led by juniors Leah McNary (3.09 kps.) and Kelli Browning (2.39 kps., .321%, 1.49 bps.). Freshmen Lauren Smith (2.11 kps., 1.23 bps., .273%) and Jess Bird (2.39 kps., 2.68 dps.) have made immediate impacts, as well. Junior Michelle Sicner (9.84 aps., 2.49 dps, 1.49 kps.) and Ashley Jansen (1.55 aps., 1.52 dps.) have shared the setting role the past two weekends. Creighton averages 13.45 kills, 1.00 aces, 15.00 digs and 3.10 blocks per set while hitting .220 as a team.
Scouting Georgetown Georgetown has lost five straight and brings a 10-18 mark into Friday, including a 4-11 mark in BIG EAST action. Friday’s match will be GU’s final contest of the year, as it has been eliminated from conference tournament contention. Lauren Saar (3.11 kps., 3.27 dps.) is the team’s top attacker, with Dani White (2.80 kps., 0.98 bps., .277%) and Alex Johnson (2.50 kps., 2.61 dps.) also producing strong seasons. Caitlin Brauneis (10.00 aps.) quarterbacks the Hoya offense, while MacKenzie Simpson (3.72 dps.) leads the defense. Georgetown averages 11.81 kills, 1.17 aces, 15.88 digs and 1.78 blocks per set on .157 hitting as a team.
Scouting Villanova Villanova is 12-16 on the season and 4-11 in conference play and arrives in the midst of a six-match losing streak. Sunday’s match will be VU’s final contest of the year, as it has been eliminated from conference tournament contention. Lauren Carpenter paces the Wildcats with 3.53 kills per set, with Claire Crutchfield (2.83 kps.) and Gabby Pethokoukis (2.58 kps., .356%) not far behind. The daughter of legendary Nebraska coach Terry Pettit, Emma Pettit (10.39 aps.) runs the Villanova offense. Mariah Henley (5.09 dps.) leads the defense. As a team, Villanova averages 12.66 kills, 1.42 aces, 15.35 digs and 1.71 blocks per set on .208 hitting.
The Coaches Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 206-126 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. Arlisa Williams (Wisconsin, 1993). owns an 87-142 mark in her eight seasons, which also doubles as her career mark. She arrived at Georgetown after four seasons as an assistant at Florida and two seasons at American. She is assisted by Sarah Cullen and Otavio Souza. Josh Steinbach (Penn State, 2002) is 110-96 in his seventh season at Villanova, making him the longest-tenured coach in program history. Before heading to Villanova, he had been an assistant at Wright State, Cincinnati, Penn State and San Diego Mesa CC. He is assisted by Amy Pauly and Andrew Kroger.
Series History vs. Georgetown Creighton defeated Georgetown in four sets (18-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-21) in Washington, DC, on Nov. 9 in the first meeting between the programs. Ashley Jansen had her first career double-double with 39 assists and 10 digs, while Lauren Smith had a CU-freshman record with 12 blocks. Georgetown was led by 47 assists and 10 digs from Caitlin Brauneis, while Alex Johnson had 12 kills and 17 digs for the Hoyas. Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 1-0 all-time against Georgetown and coach Arlisa Williams.
Series History vs. Villanova Creighton is 1-0 all-time vs. Villanova, sweeping the Wildcats (25-21, 25-21, 25-21) on the road on Nov. 8th. Leah McNary led CU with 12 kills, while Lauren Smith had a match-best eight blocks. Villanova was led by 31 assists from Emma Pettit, while Mariah Henley had a match-best 20 digs. Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 1-0 all-time against Villanova and coach Josh Steinbach.
Last Weekend Summary Creighton split a pair of four-set road matches last weekend, winning at St. John’s before falling at Seton Hall. Jess Bird led Creighton with 26 kills on the weekend, while Kate Elman paced the defense with 43 digs and surpassed the 1,000 dig mark for her career.
Block Stars Aided by at least 12 blocks in each of the last six matches, Creighton enters this weekend ranked second nationally with 3.10 blocks per set. The figure trails only Penn State (3.13). Here’s the top-five: Rank Team Blocks/Set 1. Penn State 3.13 2. Creighton 3.08 3. Dayton 3.10 4. Stanford 3.05 5. BYU 2.98
Seeking 300 Creighton Volleyball owns 299 wins since restarting its program prior to the 1994 season. With a victory this weekend, the team will reach 300. 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 11/04/11 299-278 so far...
Summarizing Savannah Smith Creighton will honor Savannah Smith prior to 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 enters this weekend having played in 65 career matches, including 16 starts. She owns 72 kills, 70 blocks and 23 digs in 107 sets played.
RPI Warriors Creighton ranks 12th nationally in the official RPI released by the NCAA on Monday. The 11 schools ahead of the Bluejays are Texas, Penn State, Washington, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, USC, Stanford, Kentucky, Hawai’i and Kansas. Other notable teams behind Creighton include Marquette (13), Minnesota (14) and unbeaten Colorado State (18).
Does Top-12 RPI Lead To Hosting? Armed with a No. 12 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 four teams with a Selection Sunday RPI of 12 were selected to host. -EVERY team with a top-12 RPI on Selection Sunday has hosted in the past two years. The last top-12 RPI team on Selection Sunday to not host was geographically-challenged Hawai’i (No. 11 in 2010). -In the last five NCAA Tournaments, 53 of the 60 teams with a Selection Sunday RPI in the top 12 have been selected to host.
Elman Reaches 1,000 Digs Sophomore libero Kate Elman became the 12th Bluejay player to reach 1,000 digs last weekend 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
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 entered this week with 1.49 blocks per set, ninth-best nationally, amongst the NCAA stat leaders. Browning owns 385 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 385 blocks in 80 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
A Bunch Of Winners Creighton has experienced a great deal of success in recent seasons, and the current squad has enjoyed victories at historical levels. Creighton’s 48 victories in the past two seasons are two more than other two-year span in program history, previoiusly done from 2011-12. Creighton’s 65 victories in the past three seasons are two shy of the mark for the best three-year span in program history, trailing only the 2010-12 total of 67. Creighton’s 86 victories in the past four seasons are five more than other four-year span in program history, which was also done from 2009-12.
An Eye Towards The BIG EAST Tournament The four teams for the BIG EAST Tournament have been determined (Marquette, Xavier, Butler, Creighton), but the seedings have not been. Below is a list of who can still get each seed: 1) Marquette or Xavier 2) Marquette, Xavier, Butler, Creighton 3) Xavier, Butler, Creighton 4) Xavier, Butler, Creighton
In the event of a tie, below are the tie breaking procedures for seeding in the BIG EAST Tournament. Notably, Creighton would win any two- or three-way tie with Xavier and/or Butler. Two way ties • Head to head match record. • Head to head set record. • Head to head point total. • Match record vs. highest finishing conference opponent. • Match record vs 2nd highest finishing conference opponent (and so forth).
Ties of three teams or more • As soon as one team breaks the tie, the tie-breaking procedure starts over. • Tied teams are viewed as a mini-conference. • Best match record within the mini-conference. • Best set record within the mini-conference. • Best point percentage (total points scored divided by total points played) within the mini-conference. • Match record vs. highest finishing conference opponent. • Match record vs. 2nd highest finishing conference opponent (and so forth).
Smith Earns League Honor, Again Creighton Volleyball’s Lauren Smith was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on Monday, 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) last weekend. 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. This is 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 five double-doubles in her last seven outings, and eight overall on the season. In the last seven matches Bird has averaged 12.14 kills and 11.86 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 eight 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.
Sweet 16, 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 19-7 mark this fall heading into this weekend. This is the seventh time Booth has led Creighton to 18 or more victories in a year. Creighton won a school-record 29 matches in 2012, and 21 contests in 2006, 2007 and 2010 as it looks to gain its fifth 20-win season in the program’s modern history (since 1994).
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. 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. Jansen started last weekend with 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.
Tourney Field Is Set Creighton will host the BIG EAST Volleyball Tournament on Nov. 29-30, and the participants have now been determined. The four-team field will consist of Butler, Creighton, Marquette and Xavier. Friday’s semifinals will start at 4 pm and 6:30 pm, and Saturday’s final will be at 5 pm. Creighton will play in the second semifinal regardless of its eventual seed.
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 1.23 blocks per set so far this season lead all BIG EAST freshmen, and are the 12th-best nationwide among her classmates.
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.
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 19-7 start and Creighton is 48-11. The 48-11 mark gives the Jays a .814 win percentage in that span, 14th-best nationally. Creighton’s 48 wins in the same span rank tied for 19th nationally. Best Win Percentages, Since 2012 (thru 11/10/13) Name W L Pct. Penn State 57 5 .919 Texas 48 6 .889 Central Arkansas 56 8 .875 Hawai’i 47 7 .870 Western Kentucky 60 9 .870 Florida 51 8 .864 Washington 48 8 .857 Colorado State 46 8 .852 BYU 50 9 .847 Stanford 50 9 .847 North Carolina 50 9 .847 Southern California 52 11 .825 Louisville 50 11 .820 Creighton 48 11 .814 Florida State 48 11 .814 Nebraska 47 11 .810 American 51 12 .810
Most Wins, Since 2012 (thru 11/10/13) Name W L Pct. Western Kentucky 60 9 .870 Penn State 57 5 .919 Central Arkansas 56 8 .875 Southern California 52 11 .825 Florida 51 8 .864 American 51 12 .810 BYU 50 9 .847 Stanford 50 9 .847 North Carolina 50 9 .847 Louisville 50 11 .820 Missouri 50 12 .806 Georgia Southern 50 12 .806 College of Charleston 50 13 .794 Morehead State 50 14 .781 Minnesota 50 14 .781 VCU 49 13 .790 Tulsa 49 16 .754 Wichita State 49 16 .754 Texas 48 6 .889 Washington 48 8 .857 Creighton 48 11 .814 Florida State 48 11 .814 Marquette 48 12 .800
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.
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.
A Dramatic 200th Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth enters this weekend with a 206-126 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 206 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
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. 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
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. 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 have four home tilts on Sunday this season. Including the near-capacity crowd of 2,109 on Oct. 13, Creighton is now averaging 4,968 fans in eight 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 48-17 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 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 212-103 (.673). The teams are also 121-60 (.669) 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. 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
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 Compare Let’s take a look at how Creighton’s start in 2013 compares to the last three seasons after 26 matches. Stat 2013 2012 2011 2010 W-L Thru 26 19-7 23-3 16-10 16-10 Final W-L ? ? ? 29-4 17-14 21-12 Postseason ? ? ? NCAA None NCAA Tourney Titles 1 3 0 0 Kills/Set 13.45 13.44 12.92 13.14 Hitting % .220 .256 .209 .209 Aces/Set 1.00 1.29 1.19 1.33 Digs/Set 15.00 17.51 17.20 18.67 Blocks/Set 3.10 3.03 2.47 2.41
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 2.39 kills and 2.68 digs per set. By comparison, Melanie Jereb averaged 2.43 kills and 2.90 digs per set after her first 26 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 2.11 kills and 1.23 blocks per set after 26 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 26 matches, Houts was averaging 2.78 kills and 1.22 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.
Freshmen Phenoms Creighton boasts two freshmen who are averaging at least two kills per set, Jess Bird (2.39) and Lauren Smith (2.11). 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.
Speaking Of Smith Lauren Smith is off to a fantastic start to her freshman campaign, with 209 kills and 122 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.
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.
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.
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.
Home Streak Ends Creighton Volleyball had its school-record home win streak of 13 straight home wins snapped in a Sept. 7 loss to California. CU is 19-3 at home the past two seasons, with two of those setbacks coming during the Bluejay Invitational. Creighton is also now 37-5 in its last 42 home matches against unranked competition. All four of Creighton’s streaks of six straight home wins or longer have been snapped in the Bluejay Invitational. Creighton’s Longest Home Win Streaks Wins Dates Snapped By 13 Sept. 1, 2012 - Sept. 7, 2013 California, 3-0 8 Sept. 25-Nov. 20, 2010 Northern Illinois, 3-0 7 Oct. 17, 2008-Aug. 28, 2009 #10 Illinois, 3-0 6 Oct. 22, 2005-Sept. 2, 2006 Iowa, 3-2
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
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.
2-0 Better Than 0-2 Creighton is 190-8 (.960) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 132-2 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. They own an 88-4 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 206-2 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 19-7 Total 51-47 299-278
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
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%)
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 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 5-4 TOTAL 42-99 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 nine home matches this season. The matches will air on KZOT (1180 AM) and 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. 22 Georgetown (KOIL 1290 AM)
Set 1 Result = Match Result Creighton is 173-20 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 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 19-2 when leading in sets played at any point of a match.
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.
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