LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The No. 23 Creighton Volleyball team improved to 2-0 on the young season with a 3-0 victory over Utah Valley at the Kansas Invitational in Lawrence, Kan., on Friday.
Scores of the match were 25-23, 25-14, 25-20.
Creighton is now 2-0 for the third straight season, while Utah Valley dropped to 0-2 after losing its second straight match to a ranked foe to open 2014.
Creighton was pushed to the limit in the first set, a 25-23 victory that required a comeback after trailing 21-20 late. CU scored three straight points to go up 23-21, only to see the Wolverines answer with two to tie the score. CU earned a set point when Leah McNary put down a kill over the Wolverine block, then closed out the set on an attack error by Macky Treanor.
McNary had six kills in 10 swings to pace CU's offense, which also got three kills early from Katie Neisler. The Jays hit .156 in the set and had 21 digs. Utah Valley's defense had 22 digs, including 12 by libero McKenna Tait.
After no stuffs in the first set, Creighton's vaunted blocking brigade showed up early and often in the second frame. CU fell behind 2-0, then reeled off six blocks as part of a 9-2 run. The Jays never looked back. The lead hit double-digits at 17-7 and got as large as 24-10 before closing with a 25-14 triumph. Melanie Jereb's back-row kill ended the set, one of five kills in the frame for the junior.
The third set saw Creighton overcome a 13-12 deficit with five straight points, including three straight kills by McNary. CU would not trail again. Marysa Wilkinson came on strong in the third set with three kills in a four-point span as CU's lead stretched to 21-16 late.
McNary led all players with 12 kills, while Kelli Browning added nine kills. Setters Maggie Baumert and Michelle Sicner split time, each finishing with 16 assists, while Lauren Smith had four blocks. Creighton finished with 46 kills, two aces, 53 digs and seven blocks on .259 hitting.
Utah Valley was paced by seven kills from Treanor, while Tait tallied a match-best 21 digs. The Wolverines, picked to finish third in the WAC, had 23 kills, four aces, 38 digs and eight blocks on .040 hitting oveall. UVU played without the services of senior setter Jen Hardman and preseason WAC Player of the Year Lauren Bakker.
Creighton closes out play at the Kansas Invitational on Saturday at 2 pm with a match against host Kansas, the nation's No. 22 ranked team. Saturday's match will be streamed free of charge on ESPN3.com.
NOTES:Katie Neisler's start at outside hitter was her first since her first career match on Aug. 26, 2011 ... Freshmen Kenzie Crawford, Toni Tupper and Marysa Wilkinson all made their Creighton debuts in the match ... Kate Elman had her 25th straight match with 10 or more digs, the fourth-longest streak in program history ... Creighton improved to 18-4 in regular-season tournaments since 2012 with its two wins today ... Leah McNary moved into 10th in school history in kills,and now owns 946 in her career.
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