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Kate Elman (left) and Jess Bird (right) head to Marquette and DePaul this week.
Courtesy: Steven Branscombe

Volleyball Visits Marquette and DePaul in Final October Matches

Creighton Volleyball Notes
This Weekend
Oct. 25    6 pm    Creighton at Marquette    Milwaukee, Wis. (Al McGuire Center)
Oct. 26    2:30 pm    Creighton at DePaul    Chicago, Ill. (McGrath-Phillips Arena)

This Weekend
Creighton Volleyball hits the road when it travels to a couple of Midwestern cities to close out play in October.
    On Friday, league-leading Creighton (14-4, 5-1 BIG EAST) visits second-place Marquette (12-5, 4-1 BIG EAST) in a game with major implications for the conference regular-season title. That contest will start at 6 pm from the Al McGuire Center (4,000) on the MU campus in Milwaukee, Wis.
    Creighton then heads south down I-94 to visit DePaul (15-4, 1-4 BIG EAST) for a 2:30 pm matinee match on Saturday. That contest will take place at McGrath-Phillips Arena (3,000) in Chicago, Ill.

Radio Information
Neither match will be on radio this weekend.

Video Information
Both matches this weekend will be video webcast. Marquette offers their webcast for free, while DePaul’s webcast requires a subscription to their “BlueTube” video.
    Links to both will be listed on the volleyball schedule page at

Live Stats Information
Both matches this weekend will have free live stats. Visit 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

Scouting Creighton
Creighton is 14-4 on the year and first in the BIG EAST Conference with a 5-1 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 fifth in this week’s RPI rankings.
    CU boasts a balanced attack, with six women averaging at least 1.50 kills per set. That group is led by juniors Leah McNary (3.13 kps.) and reigning BIG EAST Player of the Week Kelli Browning (2.33 kps., .330%, 1.41 bps.). Freshmen Lauren Smith (2.26 kps., 1.10 bps., .313%) and Jess Bird (2.09 kps., 2.51 dps.) have made immediate impacts, as well.
    Setter Michelle Sicner (10.23 aps., 2.87 dps, 1.51 kps.) directs CU’s offense and is working on a school-record streak of eight straight double-doubles.
    Creighton averages 13.32 kills, 1.09 aces, 14.91 digs and 2.91 blocks per set while hitting .222 as a team.

Scouting Marquette
Marquette has won seven of its last eight matches to improve to 12-5 on the fall, but the lone setback in that stretch was a 3-0 loss at Creighton on Oct. 13. The Golden Eagles are one-half game behind CU in the league standings with a 4-1 mark in conference play.
    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 (3.97 kps., 2.92 dps., .276%) has made an immediate impact, earning the BIG EAST Freshman of the Week nod four of the first eight weeks. She’s earned 10 or more kills in every match but two, including a career-low six kills at Creighton on Oct. 13.
    Joining Bailey on the attack have been Meghan Niemann (2.47 kps., .328%, .90 bps.) and preseason all-BIG EAST pick Lindsey Gosh (2.68 kps., .314%, .61 saps.).
    Directing MU’s attack is Preseason Co-BIG EAST Player of the Year Elizabeth Koberstein (11.58 aps., 1.97 dps.), while Julie Jeziorowski (4.16 dps.) serves as a veteran presence at libero.
    As a team, Marquette averages 13.89 kills, 1.27 aces, 14.26 digs and 2.10 blocks per set on .278 hitting.

Scouting DePaul
DePaul opened the season with 13 straight non-conference wins, but is off to a 1-4 start in BIG EAST action and sits at 15-4 overall.
    The Blue Demons went 10-18 last year, and its 15 wins to date are already its most in any season since 2001.
    Preseason All-BIG EAST pick Vesela Zapryanova leads the Blue Demons with 3.51 kills per set while hitting .238 and adding 2.68 digs per set.
    Other top offensive weapons include Abbie Fleener (3.09 kps., .306%), Natalie Rizzo (2.43 kps., .372%, 0.96 bps.) and Callie Huebener (2.14 kps.).
    Colleen Smith (10.75 aps., 2.05 dps.) directs the offense, while libero Allyson Rooks (3.79 dps.) leads the defense in digs.
    As a team, DePaul averages 14.85 digs and 2.16 blocks per set while also ranking among the top-two in the BIG EAST in kills per set (13.99), aces per set (1.63), assists per set (13.26), wins (15), winning percentage (.789) and hitting percentage (.272).

The Coaches
Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 201-123 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 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 104-44 in his fifth year with the Golden Eagles. Shymansky was previously head coach at Georgia Tech too, which gives him a career mark of  276-108 in 12 years overall. He is assisted by Jason Allen, Jackie Simpson and Evan Muys.
    Nadia Edwards (Penn State, 2001) owns a 35-70 record in her fourth season as head coach at DePaul, which also doubles as her career record. Before DPU, she was an assistant at both Ohio State and Virginia Tech after a three year pro career. She is assisted by Phuong Luong, Caitlyn Vann and Michael Konrad.

Series History vs. Marquette
Creighton is 4-1 all-time against Marquette, including a 3-0 sweep (25-21, 25-21, 25-19) in Omaha on October 13.
    The Jays beat the Golden Eagles in five sets (30-26, 28-30, 25-30, 30-22, 16-14) in Boulder, Colo., on Sept. 11, 2005 in the first meeting.
    In 2010, Creighton swept MU 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 26-24) at the Marquette/UWM Invitational in Milwaukee thanks to 15 kills on .424 hitting from Alicia Runge and 37 assists, 13 digs and seven kills by Megan Bober.
    In 2011 Marquette swept Creighton (25-18, 25-19, 25-20) at the Bluejay Invitational in Omaha. Creighton was led by nine kills from Laurel Sanford, while Bober had 10 assists, nine digs and eight kills.
    Last season, the teams met in Minneapolis, Minn., in the NCAA Tournament. Creighton swept the Golden Eagles (25-22, 25-23, 28-26) in a match that featured 38 ties and 19 lead changes. Leah McNary led CU with 14 kills, while Melanie Jereb paced the Jays with 15 digs. MU was led by 13 kills each from Holly Mertens and Danielle Carlson.
    Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 4-1 against Marquette and Bond Shymansky.

Series History vs. DePaul
Creighton and DePaul have split two previous meetings.
    DePaul won the first meeting against Creighton, defeating the Bluejays 3-0 (30-25, 30-23, 30-27) to open the 2001 season at the Northern Illinois Best Western Invitational in DeKalb, Ill.
    Creighton then defeated the Blue Demons on Oct. 11 with a 25-27, 25-18, 25-14, 25-16 victory in Omaha.
    Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 1-0 against DePaul and Nadia Edwards.

Last Weekend Summary
Creighton stretched its season-long win streak to five with wins last weekend vs. Xavier (3-2) and Butler (3-1).
    Kelli Browning led the team with 29 kills and 10 blocks last weekend while also hitting a squad-best .420.

Doubling Up
Michelle Sicner owns a double-double in eight straight matches, tying a school record set in 2000 by Melissa Walsh. She can break that mark with a double-double on Friday at Marquette.
Consecutive Matches, Double-Double
    8    Melissa Walsh, Oct. 24-Nov. 17, 2000
    8    Michelle Sicner, Sept. 21, 2013 - Present
    7    Korie Lebeda, Nov. 4-24, 2006
    7    Kailey Reyes, Oct. 23-Nov. 18, 1999
    7    Megan Bober, Oct. 26-Nov. 16, 2012

Brew City Browning
Junior MB Kelli Browning hails from the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, and looks to continue her trend of big matches against Wisconsin teams when she plays at Marquette on Friday night.
    In three matches during the past two seasons against Marquette or Wisconsin, Browning has averaged 3.33 kills and 1.00 blocks per set while hitting a healthy .571 in 10 sets.
    Most importantly, Creighton has won all three matches (two vs. MU, one 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.
    Most recently 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.

Some Kind Of Streak
Creighton has won a season-long five matches in a row. The streak is tied for the sixth-longest in program history, but with two wins this weekend it can move into a tie for third-longest ever.
    Consecutive Wins
    Wins    Dates    Snapped By
    17    Sept. 29-Nov. 30, 2012    at #11 Minnesota, 3-1
    8    Oct. 25-Nov. 22, 2008    vs. Northern Iowa, 3-2
    7    Sept. 4-Sept. 17, 2004    Illinois State, 3-0
    6    Sept. 21-Oct. 6, 2007    Wichita State, 3-0
    6    Sept. 1-15, 2012    at Kansas, 3-2
    5    Sept. 24-Oct. 2, 1999    at Missouri State, 3-0
    5    Nov. 4-19, 2005    at Northern Iowa, 3-0
    5    Aug. 25-Sept. 2, 2006    Iowa, 3-2
    5    Sept. 9-16, 2006    at South Dakota State, 3-1
    5    Oct. 26-Nov. 9, 2007    at #24 Wichita State, 3-1
    5    Sept. 25-Oct. 9, 2010    at Drake, 3-1
    5    Nov. 13-26, 2010    at #11 Northern Iowa, 3-1
    5    Oct. 21-Nov. 4, 2011    Missouri State, 3-1
    5    Oct. 11, 2013-Present    ? ? ?

Browning Earns Top Nod
Kelli Browning was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on Monday after helping Creighton to wins over Xavier and Butler last weekend, 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.

High School Reunion
DePaul S Colleen Smith was a high school teammate of Creighton OH Melanie Jereb at Cary-Grove High School in Cary, Ill. The two were also teammates with the Sky High club volleyball program, with Smith one year older.
    Their high school team also had players that continued their volleyball careers at Ohio (Kelly Lamberti), Illinois State (Ashley Rosch) and Tennessee-Martin (Allison Whimpey).

Creighton/Marquette Connections
There aren’t a whole lot of connections between Creighton and Marquette, but there are a few.
    Current Marquette coach Bond Shymansky hired current Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth to be an assistant coach in 1998 at Iowa City High School. Shymansky, however, would leave to become an assistant at Iowa State before the season started.
    Marquette’s associate athletic director for compliance, Danielle Josetti, oversees volleyball among her other duties. When Creighton visited Minneapolis in 2010, Josetti was the NCAA representative for the site. Josetti was a standout softball player at Creighton (as Danielle Fitzgerald) from 1995-97 and remains in the top-10 in school history in stolen bases and sacrifice hits.
    Both Creighton and Marquette are also two of the 28 Jesuit schools nationally.
    Current Creighton President Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., is a Creighton graduate, but he has served as an assistant professor, associate executive vice president and vice president for University Advancement at Marquette University at one time or another. He remains on the Marquette University Board of Trustees.

We Meet Again
Friday night will be the fourth time in as many locations within the last year that Creighton and Marquette will see each other.
    In addition to last November’s NCAA Tournament match in Minneapolis, Minn., the teams were also both at the season-opening Hampton Inn Invitational hosted by Bowling Green in August. Due to CU and MU being in the same league, the squads did not face each other then but were allowed to scout each other.
    Creighton won the Hampton Inn Invitational with wins over No. 13 BYU (3-1) and hosting Bowling Green (3-0), while the Golden Eagles fell to BYU (2-3) and topped Bowling Green (3-1).
    The teams also met on Oct. 13 in Omaha, a 3-0 Creighton sweep.

Defensive Keys
Key to Creighton’s 3-0 sweep of Marquette two weekends ago was holding freshman sensation Autumn Bailey to career-lows in kills (6) and hitting percentage (-.042). Bailey ranks fifth nationally among freshmen with 3.97 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 Lindsey Gosh ranks fifth nationally with 0.61 aces per set while Bailey ranks 150th with 0.32 aces per set. The Golden Eagles won the point on just one of Gosh’s eight serving attempts and two of Bailey’s nine attempts.

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 201-123 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 62 different schools to amass the 201 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 the last time she faced Marquette and DePaul.
    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 is the second player in Creighton history to post consecutive triple-doubles, as Megan Bober did it three times.
Matches With a Triple-Double, Season
    T-D    Name    Year
    9    Megan Bober    2011
    6    Megan Bober    2012
    2    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
    3    Michelle Sicner    2011-Pres.
    2    Melissa Weisensee    1994-97
    2    JoDe Cieloha    1994-97

Blue October
Creighton has enjoyed tremendous success in October in recent seasons. The Jays have won 16 of the last 17 times it has taken the floor in the 10th month of the year, dating to a Oct. 15, 2011 setback at No. 12 Northern Iowa.
    Creighton has also won 18 of its last 19 home matches in October since Oct. 22, 2009.

Avoiding Sweeps
Creighton has lost just 12 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 12-0.
    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.

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 5,502 fans in seven 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 47-16 all-time at the five-year old facility, surpassing the 44-26 mark attained at the Omaha Civic Auditorium from 2003-08.

RPI Warriors
Creighton ranks fifth nationally in the official RPI released by the NCAA on Monday. The four schools ahead of the Bluejays Texas, Penn State, Florida and Southern California.
    Other notable teams behind Creighton include Washington (6), Stanford (8), Hawai’i (9), Kansas (10), Nebraska (13) and Marquette (16).

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 14-4 start and Creighton is 43-8.
    The 43-8 mark gives the Jays a .843 win percentage in that span, 10th-best nationally.
    Creighton’s 43 wins in the same span rank tied for 13th nationally.
Best Win Percentages, Since 2012 (thru 10/21/13)
Name    W    L    Pct.
Penn State    49    5    .907
Hawai’i    43    5    .896
Texas    42    6    .875
Florida    45    7    .865
BYU    44    7    .863
North Carolina    44    7    .863
Central Arkansas    47    8    .855
Southern Cal    47    8    .855
Western Kentucky    51    9    .850
Creighton    43    8    .843
Stanford    43    8    .843
Washington    40    8    .833

Most Wins, Since 2012 (thru 10/21/13)
Name    W    L    Pct.
Western Kentucky    51    9    .850
Penn State    49    5    .907
Central Arkansas    47    8    .855
Southern Cal    47    8    .855
Florida    45    7    .865
Minnesota    45    11    .804
BYU    44    7    .863
North Carolina    44    7    .863
Georgia Southern    44    10    .815
VCU    44    11    .800
College of Charleston    44    12    .786
Tulsa    44    14    .759
Hawai’i    43    5    .896
Creighton    43    8    .843
Stanford    43    8    .483
Morehead State    43    13    .768
Wichita State    43    14    .754

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 159-67 (.703). The teams are also 68-25 (.731) 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 Fell Out Of Rankings After 10 Polls
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.
    The Jays collected 32 points in the voting and are tied for 33rd in the voting and were listed among those “also receiving votes”. Last week the team climbed to 30th in the poll with 60 points. This week the team is 26th with 63 points.
    Creighton has now received votes in each of the last 20 polls, compared to just one time in 18 years before last season started.
    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

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 6-0 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 18 matches.
Stat    2013    2012    2011    2010
W-L Thru 18    14-4    15-3    10-8    12-6
Final W-L    ? ? ?    29-4    17-14    21-12
Postseason    ? ? ?    NCAA    None    NCAA
Tourney Titles    1    3    0    0
Kills/Set    13.32    13.37    12.75    13.26
Hitting %    .222    .255    .196    .209
Aces/Set    1.09    1.32    1.39    1.17
Digs/Set    14.91    16.60    17.55    18.54
Blocks/Set    2.91    3.12    2.62    2.46

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 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 1.45 blocks per set, eighth-best nationally, amongst the NCAA stat leaders.
    Browning owns 334 career blocks, ninth-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).

Freshmen Phenoms
Creighton boasts two freshmen who are averaging at least two kills per set, Jess Bird (2.09) and Lauren Smith (2.26).
    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.

Speaking of Freshmen
Lauren Smith is averaging 2.26 kills and 1.10 blocks per set after 18 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 18 matches, Houts was averaging 2.64 kills and 1.00 blocks per set.

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 156 kills and 76 blocks while hitting .313 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.

Higher & Higher
Michelle Sicner’s 51 assists on September 10 vs. Kansas were a career-high for the junior, eight more than her previous best.
    Last year, while playing on the right-side, Sicner recorded 60 assists total.

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 fame, the 13 four-set wins led the country in 2012, one more than Georgia Southern.
    This year’s team is 5-2 in four-set matches.

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. Cieloha did it in eight straight matches to begin her career.
    Bird enters this weekend averaging 2.09 kills and 2.51 digs per set. By comparison, Melanie Jereb averaged 2.32 kills and 2.68 digs per set after her first 18 matches as a freshman last year when she would go on to be named first-team All-MVC.

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 19-2 at home the past two seasons, with both setbacks coming during the Bluejay Invitational. Creighton is also now 36-4 in its last 40 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

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

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

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 coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s teams have excelled in home matches against conference teams from Illinois since she took over.
    Since her 2003 hiring, Booth’s squads are 27-4 in those matches, going 10-0 against Southern Illinois, 9-1 vs. Bradley, 7-3 vs. Illinois State and 1-0 vs. DePaul in contests played in Omaha.
    Creighton owns a 23-match home win streak in conference matches against teams from the Land of Lincoln that dates to 2005.

2-0 Better Than 0-2
Creighton is 188-8 (.959) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 130-2 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. They own an 87-4 all-time mark in home matches they lead 2-0 in.
    Conversely, the Jays are 7-173 (.039) all-time when trailing a match 0-2, including an 0-59 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 201-1 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.
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 36-18 in five-set matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, including a 3-1 mark this year and an 12-4 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    3-1    14-4
Total    51-46    294-275

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 14 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    5-3
TOTAL    42-98
TOTAL Under Booth    39-63

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 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. 3    Seton Hall (KZOT 1180 AM)
Nov. 22    Georgetown (KOIL 1290 AM)

Set 1 Result = Match Result
Creighton is 170-19 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when it wins set one. In that same time span, CU is just 31-104 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 14-1 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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