Volleyball Moves Into Third Place With Sweep of Evansville

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Natalie Hackbarth had six kills and five digs off the bench.
Courtesy: Scott Bruhn

OMAHA, Neb. -- Heather Thorson had 14 kills on .636 hitting to lead the Creighton Volleyball team to a 3-0 sweep of Evansville on Saturday night at D.J. Sokol Arena in Omaha. Scores of the contest were 25-23, 25-21, 25-22.

Creighton is now 13-10 on the fall and moves into sole possession of third place in the MVC with an 8-3 league mark. The Purple Aces, which stunned Wichita State last Friday, dropped to 12-14 and is 2-9 in MVC action.

Thorson's .636 hitting ranks as the seventh-best single-match hitting efficiency in program history, as she had 14 kills without an error in 22 swings. Karisa Almgren had 12 kills on .385 hitting. Creighton had 48 kills, two aces, 48 digs and 8.0 blocks while hitting .314.

Evansville was paced by 12 kills from Brooke Maher, who notched a double-double with 10 digs. The Purple Aces had 46 kills, two aces, 52 digs and two blocks while hitting .225.

Creighton never trailed in the first set, but it wasn't without drama. The Jays seemed in control with a 22-17 lead after Thorson and Almgren and Thorson stuffed Kaisi Nixon, but the Aces went on a 5-1 run to close within 23-22. The Jays and Purple Aces traded three straight sideouts from there, with CU winning on an Almgren kill.

Creighton trailed early in the second set, only to use a 6-1 run to knot the score at 9-9. The Jays held a narrow 19-18 lead before reserve Natalie Hackbarth served up a four-point run to give CU control, 23-18. Almgren converted CU's third opportunity at set point with a kill to give CU a 2-0 lead heading to the break.

The third set featured 11 ties and five lead changes before a late rally helped CU slingshot to the lead and secure the sweep. Evansville led 21-18 before a rare UE service error helped turn the tide. The Jays would score seven of the final eight points of the match, including the final four on Brittany Moon's serve.

Creighton returns to action next Friday night with a 6 pm (Central) game at Indiana State.

NOTES: This was the fifth straight season that Creighton has worn its pink jerseys as part of a Breast Cancer Awareness Night ... Julianne Mandolfo surpassed 1,000 career digs in her 56th career match, second-fastest in CU history (Bianca Rivera, 53). She had 16 digs and now owns 1,011 ... Mandolfo also set a D.J. Sokol Arena single-season record for digs, formerly 257 by Nayka Benitez in 2009. Mandolfo now has 269 digs at home this fall ... Creighton has won 17 of the last 18 meetings and 20 of the last 22 meetings against Evansville ... Creighton has won the third set against Evansville in each of the last 18 meetings and won the first set in 15 of the last 16 meetings ... The team winning the first set has won the last 16 Creighton-Evansville match-ups ... Evansville has not won in Omaha since Oct. 6, 2000 and has never won in Omaha in fewer than five sets.

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