Creighton Volleyball Notes This Week -- Kansas Invitational Aug. 29 9:30 am #23 Creighton vs. Lipscomb Lawrence, Kan. (Horejsi Family Athletics Center) Aug. 29 5:30 pm #23 Creighton vs. Utah Valley Lawrence, Kan. (Horejsi Family Athletics Center) Aug. 30 2:00 pm #23 Creighton at #22 Kansas Lawrence, Kan. (Horejsi Family Athletics Center)
This Weekend No. 23 Creighton Volleyball opens the 2014 season on the road this weekend, as it heads to Lawrence, Kan., to play in the Kansas Invitational. Creighton (0-0) opens the regular-season on Friday with a 9:30 am match against Lipscomb (0-0). Later that day, the Bluejays play at 5:30 pm against Utah Valley. On Saturday, Creighton faces tournament host No. 22 Kansas at 2 pm. All three matches will take place at Horejsi Family Athletics Center (1,300 capacity) in Lawrence, Kan.
Radio/Video Broadcast Information Friday’s matches will not be on radio, but Saturday’s match against Kansas will be broadcast via on-line radio and available at http://kuathletics.leanplayer.com. Video of Saturday’s match against will be streamed free on the internet on ESPN3.com, with Lief Lisec and Jill Dorsey-Hall on the call. Neither of Creighton’s matches on Friday will be video webcast.
Live Stats Information All matches at the Kansas Invitational will have free live stats. Visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Stats tab at the top of the page for links the exact links for Creighton’s matches.
Scouting #23 Creighton Creighton returns 12 letterwinners and all six starters (plus its libero) from last year’s team that finished 23-9 overall and tied for second in the BIG EAST Conference with a 12-4 league record. The Bluejays were tabbed No. 23 in this fall’s preseason poll, its best preseason mark in program history. Spearheading the returners are all-conference honorees Kelli Browning (2.45 kps., 1.53 bps., .323%), Leah McNary (3.04 kps.) and Michelle Sicner (10.00 aps., 2.68 dps.). Browning and McNary were both named First-Team All-BIG EAST last fall, with Browning also taking home AVCA All-America Honorable Mention acclaim. Sicner was a Second-Team All-BIG EAST choice as well as AVCA All-America Honorable Mention pick. Also back are senior Katie Neisler (1.66 dps.), juniors Kate Elman (4.17 dps.), Ashley Jansen (1.82 dps.), Melanie Jereb (1.62 kps., 2.41 dps.) and Lizzy Stivers (18 aces), as well as sophomores Jess Bird (2.45 kps., 2.79 dps.), Amanda Foje (0.25 dps.) and Lauren Smith (2.24 kps., 1.16 bps.). A talented class of three true freshmen (Brittany Lawrence, Toni Tupper, Marysa Wilkinson), as well as Georgia transfer Maggie Baumert and redshirt freshman Kenzie Crawford, are also expected to provide immediate contributions. Creighton was picked to win the BIG EAST Conference, while Browning and McNary were named preseason all-league picks. Last year’s Creighton club averaged 13.47 kills, 0.99 aces, 15.76 digs and a nation-leading 3.06 blocks per set while hitting .220 as a team.
Scouting Lipscomb The preseason favorites in the Atlantic Sun Conference, Lipscomb returns 10 of 12 letterwinners from last year’s club that finished 23-8 and runners-up in the A-Sun Tournament. Only Caitlin Dotson, who ranked second nationally with 12.61 assists per set last year, has departed among LU’s starting six from a year ago. MB Jewell Dobson was named 2014 Preseason Conference Player of the Year after being named A-Sun Player of the Year in 2013. Dobson led the conference in hitting percentage (.378), kills per set (4.53) and points per set (5.16) last season to earn All-America Honorable Mention acclaim. Likewise, L Bri McCombs was chosen to be repeat the Atlantic Sun Conference Defensive Player of the Year she won in 2013. She led the A-Sun with 4.62 digs per conference match last year while also owning double-digit digs in 28 different contests. Last but not least, also named to the preseason all-conference team was OH Lauren Ford (3.77 kps.), another All-America Honorable Mention choice in 2013. Lipscomb averaged 15.03 kills (3rd nationally), 1.19 aces, 14.23 digs and 1.67 blocks per set last year while hitting .270 (17th nationally) as a team.
Scouting Utah Valley Utah Valley returns four starters and 10 letterwinners from last year’s team that finished 18-15 and tied for third place in the Western Athletic Conference. Offensively, UVU’s top returnees are Kalani Norris (2.78 kps.) and Lauren Bakker (2.25 kps., 1.31 bps. under her maiden name Lauren Stringham). Bakker has been named Preseason WAC Player of the Year, while Norris and McKenna Tait (4.23 dps., 0.45 saps.) took home preseason all-league accolades. Last year the Wolverines averaged 12.28 kills, 1.23 aces, 13.59 digs and 2.38 blocks per set while hitting .209 as a team.
Scouting #22 Kansas Ranked No. 22 nationally in the AVCA’s preseason poll, Kansas returns seven letterwinners and two starters from last year’s team that finished 25-8 and clinched its first Sweet 16 bid with a victory over Creighton last December. The Jayhawks lost two-time All-American Caroline Jarmoc (3.94 kps., .320%), Big 12 Setter of the Year Erin McNorton (12.14 aps.), and all-time digs leader Brianne Riley (4.44 dps.) among seven departing seniors, but the nation’s No. 15 recruiting class should help the Jayhawks rebuild quickly. Tayler Soucie (2.05 kps., 1.19 bps.), Papillion native Chelsea Albers (2.90 kps., 2.50 dps., .278%) and Omaha native Sara McClinton (3.13 kps.) were all named Preseason All-Big 12. Leading the ballyhooed recruiting class is Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Ainise Havili, a setter on the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team. Last year’s Kansas team averaged 14.41 kills, 0.95 aces, 15.61 digs and 2.54 blocks per set while hitting .254 as a team.
The Coaches Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 210-128 record entering her 12th season with the Bluejays. 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, as well as the MVC Coach of the Year, in 2012 following another run to the second round of the NCAA’s and a school-record 29 victories. The winningest coach in school history, Booth has led Creighton to its only three NCAA Tournament bids in the program’s modern history. She’s also led the Jays into the top-25 each of the last three years, another program first. 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 associate head coach Tom Mendoza, assistant coach Angie Oxley Behrens and volunteer assistant Kyle South. Brandon Rosenthal (Pepperdine) enters his 12th season as head coach at Lipscomb, where he owns a 198-143 record that doubles as his career mark. He has led the Lady Bisons to four NCAA Tournaments, and six straight A-Sun Tournament title matches. Rosenthal is assisted by Ann Armes and Billy Ebel. Sam Atoa (BYU-Hawaii) enters his 16th season at Utah Valley with a 331-159 record, including a 193-128 mark in 11 Division I seasons. Atoa is assisted by Daniel Jones and Scott Lee. Kansas is coached by Ray Bechard (Fort Hays State), who is 273-217 in his 17th year at the school, and 990-277 in 30 years overall as a head coach. Last season he led the Jayhawks to the Sweet 16 for the first time. He’s assisted by Laura Kuhn and Todd Chamberlain.
Series History vs. Lipscomb Creighton is 0-2 all-time against Lipscomb, losing by 3-1 margins in 2009 (in Lawrence, Kan.) and in 2010 (in Omaha, Neb.). The eight sets the teams have played have featured a staggering 63 ties and 31 lead changes. In the 2009 match-up, Creighton lost despite producing a single-match program record with 38 block assists. In 2010, Creighton squandered two chances in the third set to take a 2-1 lead and would fall despite 19 kills by Alicia Runge and 25 digs by Allie Oelke. Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 0-2 against Lipscomb and Brandon Rosenthal.
Series History vs. Utah Valley Creighton and Utah Valley have never met.
Series History vs. #22 Kansas Kansas has won six of seven matches against Creighton since CU reinstituted volleyball in 1994, claiming victories in 2002 (3-0 in Omaha), 2003 (3-0 in Lawrence), 2009 (3-1 in Lawrence), 2010 (3-1 in Omaha), 2012 (3-2 in Lawrence) and 2013 (3-1 in Lawrence in the NCAA’s). Creighton’s lone win in that stretch came last September 10th, however, beating the Jayhawks in four sets in Omaha, behind 15 kills on .400 hitting from Kelli Browning. Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 1-5 against Kansas and Ray Bechard.
Last Year Summary Last year’s Creighton team finished 23-9 and tied for second place in the BIG EAST with a 12-4 league mark. The Bluejays reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years with a first-round victory over Arkansas. Kelli Browning and Leah McNary were named first team all-conference, while Browning and Michelle Sicner were tabbed as AVCA All-American Honorable Mention selections.
Season Opening History With its 3-1 win over No. 13 BYU last year, Creighton improved its record to 12-8 in season-opening matches since restarting the program in 1994. Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 8-3 in opening matches and on a five-year winning streak. The five straight wins in season-openers is the best mark in program history. Booth is 9-2 in Creighton’s first match away from home, helping Creighton improve to 12-8 in such contests all-time. Creighton’s five straight wins in season-openers is the longest active streak in the BIG EAST, one more than St. John’s. The Bluejays have won their season-opening tournament each of the past two seasons, beating the likes of Wisconsin and No. 13 BYU in the process.
Some Fab Freshmen Creighton has started six different 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 Jess Bird (2013). Seven of those women (Coleman, Decker, Lebeda, Oelke, Mandolfo, Sicner and Jereb) went on to land a spot on the MVC’s All-Freshman Team, an award that Bird likely would’ve received strong consideration for if the BIG EAST had such a team.
A Nebraska Flavor The state of Nebraska annually is among the national leaders for Division I volleyball players per capita, and CU’s match-up on Saturday will help prove that fact. Kansas has three Nebraska natives, while Creighton has 10 natives from the state. KU’s roster includes Papillion native Chelsea Albers, Omaha’s Sara McClinton and Lincoln’s Maggie Anderson. Albers and McClinton were both named Preseason All-Big 12 this fall after being First Team All-Big 12 choices in 2013. Albers attended Papillion-La Vista High School, McClinton attended Millard North High School, and Anderson went to Lincoln Southwest High School. While at Millard North, McClinton was a teammate of current Creighton setter Michelle Sicner. Sicner was a Second-Team All-BIG EAST choice in 2013. Anderson is a redshirt sophomore at Kansas, two years older than former prep teammate and Creighton’s current true freshman Marysa Wilkinson at Lincoln Southwest High School.
Hometown Flavor Creighton’s 2014 roster boasts 10 players from the state of Nebraska, including all four newcomers. The 10 Nebraska natives is most since the program’s 1994 restart, one more than the 2004 and 2005 clubs that had nine each.
Once In A Lifetime Trip Creighton experienced a once-in-a-lifetime trip in mid-May when it ventured to Nicaragua. The trip included several matches against the Nicaraguan Jr. National Team (all Creighton victories), but much of the trip’s purpose centered on visits to schools, delivering books and other service-oriented programs.
Early, Again Creighton will play one of the first matches nationally in 2014. Several teams play at 9 a.m. Central, with Creighton taking the floor at 9:30 a.m. Among ranked clubs, only No. 8 Purdue will start regular-season play before the Bluejays. In 2011, Creighton was the first MVC team to open the season, playing a 9:30 a.m. match vs. UTSA (a 3-2 CU win) in College Station, Texas. This year’s 9:30 a.m. contest means that the Bluejays will have a five-hour headstart on the rest of the BIG EAST, as no one else plays again until 3 pm on Friday when Butler plays Virginia Tech in Lexington, Ky.
Lipscomb, Again After spending the past three seasons at the University of Georgia, Maggie Baumert will play her first fall matches as a Creighton Bluejay this weekend. Her debut match could come as early as Friday morning’s tilt against Lipscomb. Ironically, it was just last year at Georgia that Baumert’s first match of the season was also against Lipscomb. Georgia swept the Lady Bisons (25-20, 25-22, 25-15) in Athena, Ga., thanks in part to 13 assists and a dig in three sets played by Baumert.
Team USA Trio Three members of the Creighton Volleyball team donned Team USA jerseys this summer. Kelli Browning, Jess Bird and Michelle Sicner each suited up for the US Collegiate National Team in June at the 2014 USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships in Minneapolis. Creighton and Florida State led all schools with three representatives among the 36 women selected.
Regular-Season Tournament History Creighton is 76-73 in the 50 regular-season tournaments it has participated in all-time, including an 16-4 mark in the previous two seasons. Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s teams are 56-40 in 34 regular-season tournaments, including eight titles. Creighton won two regular-season tournaments in 2012, taking the season-opening USF Invitational as well as the Northern Colorado Classic, and also won the Hampton Inn Invitational in 2013. Creighton had won just two of 16 regular-season tournaments prior to Booth’s arrival.
Five For Fighting In 2011 Creighton survived two match points to beat UTSA, 16-14, in the fifth set of its season-opener. That improved Creighton to 2-0 all-time in season-openers to go the distance, having also topped Montana in 2004.
Offense vs. Defense Creighton led the nation with 3.06 blocks per set last season, highlighted by Kelli Browning’s 1.47 blocks per set that was eighth-most in the country. When Browning and company take the floor on Friday morning, they’ll face one of the nation’s elite offenses. Lipscomb was third in the country last year with 15.03 kills per set, while also ranking 17th in hitting percentage (.270). Saturday’s opponent, Kansas, wasn’t far behind. The Jayhawks were 15th nationally with 14.41 kills per set and 31st with a .254 hitting percentage in 2013.
Big Time Schedule Creighton’s non-conference slate contains six teams to get votes for the preseason top-25, including five ranked teams. In addition, seven of the teams are picked either first or second place in their conference. Name Nat’l Rank Preseason Conf. Rank Lipscomb - 1st in Atlantic Sun Utah Valley - 3rd in Western Athletic Kansas 22 2nd in Big 12 Northern Iowa - 2nd in Missouri Valley USC 5 2nd in Pacific-12 Kentucky 19 2nd in Southeastern Pepperdine - 4th in WCC Bowling Green - 3rd in Mid-American East Wichita State - 1st in Missouri Valley Nebraska 7 2nd in Big 10 Illinois 11 4th in Big 10 South Dakota - 4th in Summit Colorado RV 7th in Pacific-12
The Votes Add Up Creighton has eight matches scheduled against teams that received votes in the preseason AVCA Top 25 poll, including five teams in the top-25. Creighton plays matches against teams that were preseason ranked No. 5 (USC), No. 7 (Nebraska), No. 11 (Illinois), No. 19 (Kentucky) and No. 22 (Kansas). Creighton also hosts Colorado, which received enough points to finish 33rd in the voting, and has a home-and-home league series with No. 29 Marquette. Besides Creighton, the only other school to play five different non-conference teams that are in the preseason top-25 is Stanford. Creighton is 3-52 all-time against top-25 foes, including an 0-27 mark in true road matches.
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. The Bluejays are starting the year in the preseason Top 25 for the second straight fall. Last year’s team was 25th to start the season, while this fall the club is ranked 23rd.
Milestone Watch Leah McNary is 23 kills shy of moving into 10th place in school history, as she enters her senior season with 918 career kills. Kate Elman is one dig shy of moving into eighth place in CU history in digs, and eight shy of a tie for seventh place in the same category. She opens her junior season with 1,122 career digs. Kelli Browning is tied for 10th in CU history with 40 solo blocks. She’s two shy of a tie for eighth place, three shy of seventh place and four shy of sixth place. Browning also enters her senior year tied for fourth in CU history with 422 total blocks. She’s 15 away from third place and 25 shy of second place.
Set 1 Result = Match Result Creighton is 176-20 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when it wins set one. In that same time span, CU is just 34-108 under Booth when it drops the first set. Creighton has also won 34 home straight contests when winning the first set. Since the start of the 2012 season, Creighton is 47-3 when winning the opening set of a match. In that time, Creighton is 52-3 when leading in sets played at any point of a match.
Survival of the Fittest Creighton has won six matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth after surviving an opponent’s match point. Three of those wins have come against Wichita State. On the other hand, Creighton is 210-2 under Booth when it reaches a match point opportunity, falling only when it wasted two match points on Sept. 4, 2010 to Iowa in an eventual 20-18 fifth set loss, and two other match points on Nov. 1, 2013 in a 17-15 fifth set loss to St. John’s. Surviving Match Points, Under Booth Date Opponent MP(s) Faced Final Set 5 08/30/03 vs. McNeese State 13-14, 15-16 18-16 10/10/03 Wichita State 13-14 16-14 10/13/06 at Wichita State 12-14, 13-14, 14-15 17-15 09/11/07 at Drake 13-14, 14-15 17-15 08/26/11 vs. UTSA 12-14, 13-14 16-14 11/16/12 at Wichita State 13-14 16-14
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
Taking The Fifth Creighton is 36-19 in five-set matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, including a 3-2 mark last year and a 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. Creighton has won five straight true road matches to go five sets, including wins in 2012 over league rivals Northern Iowa, Wichita State and Missouri State, and wins last year at Denver and at Wichita State. It’s also worth noting that Creighton is 6-1 all-time in five-set home matches at D.J. Sokol Arena. Below is a list of Creighton’s record in five-set matches on a yearly basis: Year Set 5 W-L Total W-L 1994 0-2 5-20 1995 0-2 11-19 1996 2-6 9-19 1997 3-5 15-13 1998 2-3 7-18 1999 3-3 13-15 2000 3-3 16-12 2001 1-1 14-13 2002 1-3 3-23 2003 5-1 12-18 2004 4-0 18-11 2005 3-1 16-14 2006 4-2 21-10 2007 2-0 21-10 2008 2-3 18-9 2009 1-4 14-17 2010 3-3 21-12 2011 5-2 17-14 2012 4-1 29-4 2013 3-2 23-9 Total 51-47 303-280
Second Round Creighton is one of 19 teams to win a first round match in the NCAA Tournament each of the past two years. That list, alphabetically, includes BYU, Creighton, Florida, Florida State, Hawai’i, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, USC and Washington.
A Bunch Of Winners Creighton has experienced a great deal of success in recent seasons, and the current squad has enjoyed victories at historic levels. Creighton’s 52 victories in the previous two seasons are six more than other two-year span in program history, previously done from 2011-12. Creighton’s 69 victories in the previous three seasons are the most in any three-year span in program history, two more than the 2010-12 total of 67. Creighton’s 90 victories in the previous four seasons are nine more than other four-year span in program history, which was done from 2009-12.
Blocking Specialists Creighton has consistently proven to be an elite blocking team in recent seasons, leading their conference each of the last three years in the category. The Jays led the nation last year with 3.06 blocks per set, and one year prior were fourth-best nationally while also averaging 3.06 blocks per set. Leading the blocking brigade during this time span has been Kelli Browning. Browning was fifth nationally in 2012 with 1.65 blocks per set, then finished eighth in 2013 with 1.53 stuffs per set.
Production Returning Creighton returns 12-of-13 letterwinners to the court from last season. Below is a breakdown of the production that returns: Stat Returners Departures Points 2100.5 (99.1%) 19.5 (0.9%) Kills 1618 (99.3%) 12 (0.7%) Digs 1892 (99.2%) 15 (0.8%) Aces 120 (100.0%) 0 (0.0%) Matches Started 157 (98.1%) 3 (1.9%) Blocks 362.5 (98.0%) 7.5 (2.0%) Assists 1516 (100.0%) 0 (0.0%)
Marian Pipeline This is the 12th straight season that Creighton Volleyball had at least one product of Omaha Marian High School on the roster, as juniors 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. 2014: Kate Elman, Ashley Jansen 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
BIG EAST Preseason Poll For the second straight season, Creighton has been picked to win the BIG EAST Conference in a preseason poll of league coaches. CU received 77 points in the poll and five of a possible 10 first-place votes. Defending champ Marquette was picked second with 71 points and four first-place votes, while Xavier (66 points) was third and claimed the remaining first-place tally. Rounding out the rest of the poll were Butler, St.John’s, Seton Hall, Villanova, Georgetown, DePaul and Providence. Creighton also had two women named to the 13 member on the BIG EAST’s preseason all-conference team, as both Kelli Browning and Leah McNary were honored for a second straight year. Marquette’s Autumn Bailey was chosen as Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year. Creighton has finished in the spot predicted of them or better in the preseason poll in nine of the past 11 years. Year Preseason Pick Finish Move 1994 11th 9th #2 1995 9th 7th #2 1996 9th 6th #3 1997 8th 3rd #5 1998 6th 8th i2 1999 T-7th 5th #2 2000 4th T-4th - - 2001 2nd 4th i2 2002 7th 9th i2 2003 9th T-5th #4 2004 5th 5th - - 2005 5th 5th - - 2006 4th 4th - - 2007 3rd T-2nd #1 2008 3rd 2nd #1 2009 4th T-4th - - 2010 4th 3rd #1 2011 3rd 4th i1 2012 4th 1st #3 2013 1st T-2nd i1 2014 1st ??? ???
Radio Broadcast Information Brad Burwell and former Bluejay volleyball player Erin (Swanson) Russell will broadcast most 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 starts approximately 5-15 minutes before first serve. The post-match show also lasts about 15 minutes and includes post-match interviews. While the schedule is still being finalized, preliminary plans call for the first eight home matches to be broadcast on KZOT (1180 AM).
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