Volleyball To Face Wichita State in Friday's Semifinal

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Allie Oelke
Courtesy: Eric Francis

#3 Creighton Bluejays (19-10) vs. #2 Wichita State Shockers (21-6)
Nov. 26, 2010 - Cedar Falls, Iowa (McLeod Center)
MVC Tournament Semifinals

-Friday's match can be watched free on-line at www.gocreighton.com, with Greg Halbleib and Linda Dollar on the call. The match will also be broadcast on radio on KOIL (1180 AM), with Brad Burwell and Lauren Bloemke on the call. A link to that audio is also available on www.gocreighton.com.

-With last night's 3-1 win over sixth-seeded Drake, Creighton (19-10) advanced to the MVC Tournament semifinals, where it will take on second-seeded Wichita State (21-6) at 5 pm on Friday. The winner of that match will advance to Saturday's 3:30 pm final, where it takes on the winner of the Northern Iowa/Illinois State semifinal that will be contested at 7 pm on Friday evening.

-Creighton and Wichita State split two previous meetings this season, with each team winning a five-set match on its home floor. Creighton won the Oct. 9 match in Omaha by scores of 25-22, 17-25, 22-25, 25-18, 15-12 behind 15 kills from both Allie Oelke and Alicia Runge. Wichita State won the rematch in Wichita on Nov. 5 by a 25-21, 20-25, 25-17, 21-25, 15-13 margin thanks to 16 kills each by Emily Adney and Camri Zwiesler.

-Wichita State leads the all-time series against Creighton, 20-16. The teams have met just once before in Valley Tournament play, a 3-1 Shocker victory in the 2003 quarterfinals in Springfield, Mo. Creighton has not beaten Wichita State twice in the same season since doing it three straight years from 1999-2001.

- The first set winner of the CU-WSU match has won 13 of the past 14 meetings and 17 of the past 19 match-ups. In a bizarre stat, Wichita State has won 19 straight third sets against the Bluejays.

-Kirsten Bernthal Booth has beaten Wichita State five times in 17 tries. Four of those five Creighton victories were five-set contests.

-Both Creighton and Wichita State have top-40 RPI's and can bolster its NCAA Tournament fate by advancing to the final. Each team to reach the Valley Tournament championship game in the last four years has made to the NCAA Tournament.

-A win on Friday would give Creighton at least 20 wins for the third time in the last five years. Both the 2006 and 2007 Bluejay teams finished the season 21-10.

-Friday's win improved Creighton to 17-6 in matches started by Laurel Sanford. The Jays went 1-4 early in the year with Sanford sidelined by an ankle injury. She also voluntarily surrendered her starting spot on Senior Night so that teammate Lauren Bloemke could start the match at the service line.

-A win on Friday would advance Creighton to its first MVC Tournament final in program history. The Jays enter Friday with an 0-5 all-time mark in the Valley Tournament semifinals, with each loss coming to Northern Iowa.

-Creighton and Wichita State are two of the five schools that rank in the top-50 nationally in both digs per set and blocks per set.  The other three teams that can claim this are Dayton, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and SMU.

-Heather Thorson's 11 kills last night were a career-high, two more than her previous best of nine done three times previously.

-Creighton had four players with 10 or more kills on Thursday (Laurel Sanford, Heather Thorson, Alicia Runge and Karisa Almgren), just the third time all season it has done that. Creighton previously accomplished the feat on both Oct. 8 vs. Missouri State and Nov. 19 vs. Evansville when Sanford, Allie Oelke, Runge and Almgren turned the trick.

-Nayka Benitez moved into Creighton's all-time top-10 in career digs thanks to her 20 digs on Friday. She now owns 939 in her career to rank ninth in school history. Making her feat all the more impressive is the fact that she is in just her second year with the program.

-The 20 digs by Nayka Benitez was the eighth time this fall she's reached that many in a match. Her season-high of 29 also came against Drake (Nov. 13).

-Allie Oelke had 14 digs last night, giving her 81 in six career MVC Tournament matches. That's just one behind Sarah Schulze's school record of 82 in MVC Tournament play. Oelke has had 10 or more digs in every MVC Tournament match of her career.

In addition, Oelke's 225 career attack attempts at the MVC Tournament is also school record.

-Karisa Almgren reached double-figures for the fifth time on the season with 10 kills last night vs. Drake. Creighton is 6-1 when Almgren has nine or more kills this fall.

-Named first-team all-MVC on Thursday morning, Megan Bober proved her worth with a solid all-around showing later that night. She had 48 assists, five digs, five kills and four blocks. The four blocks give her 98 on the season, and continue to lead the team. Last season she became the first player in Bluejay history to record 100 blocks and 100 assists in the same season. She ranks second nationally among setters in blocks per set, trailing only Cal All-American Carli Lloyd.

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