OMAHA, Neb. -- Events at Nebraska and Texas A&M, as well as two home tournaments for the first time ever, highlight the 2011 Creighton Volleyball schedule, announced today by head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
"After earning our first at-large bid in school history last fall, we know how critical non-conference scheduling is to earn an NCAA bid--not only with our team, but our entire conference,” said Booth. “We again have put together a tough schedule that will no doubt challenge us a great deal, but also provide us with an opportunity to earn an NCAA bid again."
Creighton opens the season in College Station, Texas, at the Texas A&M Invitational on Aug. 26-27. A schedule for that event has not yet been determined.
Creighton will fly home before heading to Manhattan, Kan., for a mid-week match-up with fellow Big 12 member Kansas State on Aug. 30.
The Bluejays will play 14 home matches this fall while hosting multiple regular-season events for the first time in the program’s modern history. Creighton will host Northern Illinois, South Dakota and Marquette in the seventh edition of the Bluejay Invitational, Sept. 2-3, to start its third season at D.J. Sokol Arena inside the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center.
The Jays will make a short trek down I-80 for the Ameritas Players Challenge in Lincoln, Neb., on Sept. 8-10. The Jays take on host Nebraska on Thursday night, followed by a match Friday vs. Saint Mary’s before wrapping up play on Saturday vs. Weber State.
Creighton will host the four-team Creighton Classic on Sept. 16-17. Creighton will start that event by hosting Drake on Sept. 16th in a match that also doubles as the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both squads. On Saturday, Creighton will take on Terry Gamble’s McNeese State team before wrapping up non-conference action with UAB that evening.
The Valley slate features a double-round robin format, with each school playing the other nine opponents twice each (once at home, once on the road). Creighton’s Oct. 14 match vs. Bradley will start at 6:30 pm to help accommodate planned “Bluejay Madness” basketball festivities later that evening. Defending regular-season and tournament champion Northern Iowa comes to Omaha on October 15th, with the Bluejays returning to Cedar Falls on November 11th. Creighton’s Senior Day will be Saturday, Nov. 5th with a 6 pm match against Missouri State.
The State Farm MVC Tournament, which carries an automatic NCAA Tournament bid to the event champion, will be held Nov. 24-26. The site for that event will be announced in the next month.
Fans will get their first chance to check out the 2011 Creighton team on Aug. 20 when the team holds the Blue-White Scrimmage.
The winningest coach in program history, Booth will enter her ninth season with the program this fall. The Bluejays return 11 letterwinners and four of six starters from last season’s team that finished 21-12 and advanced to the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. Top returnees include Laurel Sanford and Megan Bober, as well as a highly-regarded recruiting class.
Ticket packages for Bluejay volleyball will be announced later this summer.