Third Place Volleyball Visits Sycamores & Redbirds

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Michelle Sicner
Courtesy: Scott Bruhn

This Week
Oct. 28    6 pm CST    Creighton at Indiana State    Terre Haute, Ind. (ISU Arena)
Oct. 29    7:05 pm    Creighton at Illinois State (1180 KOIL AM)    Normal, Ill. (Redbird Arena)

Third-place Creighton (13-10, 8-3 MVC) will play five of its final seven MVC matches on the road, beginning with a trip through the Midwest this weekend.
    On Friday, Creighton travels to Terre Haute, Ind., to take on Indiana State (10-12, 2-9 MVC). That match will be contested at ISU Arena (500) and begin at 6 pm Central (7 pm in Terre Haute).
    On Saturday, Creighton travels to Normal, Ill., to take on Illinois State (14-9, 6-5 MVC). That match will take place at Redbird Arena (10,200) and begin at 7 pm.

Radio Broadcast Information
Creighton’s 24-match radio broadcast schedule continues this week with only Saturday’s contest. Brad Burwell will call the action on KOIL (1180 AM) and it will also be streamed on-line via a link at

Video Webcast Information
Only Saturday’s match will be available via video webcast this weekend. Fans interested in watching Illinois State’s video webcast plan should visit, then click on the “Subscribe” tab in the top right corner.

Live Stats Information
Both matches this weekend will have free live stats. Visit and click on the Live Stats tab on the left-hand side of the page for links the exact link.

Scouting Creighton
Creighton is 13-10 on the season and off to an 8-3 start in Missouri Valley Conference action to stand in third place. The Bluejays have gone 11-4 since a 2-6 start.
    Creighton has won 12 of its past 18 matches since going to a 6-2 offense, with junior Megan Bober (2.29 kps., 6.73 aps., 2.37 dps., 0.68 bps.) and freshman Michelle Sicner (1.28 kps., 4.75 aps., 2.28 dps., 0.36 saps., 0.71 bps.) taking turns at setter. Both women turned in a triple-double in Creighton’s Sept. 17 match vs. UAB.
    Senior MB Laurel Sanford leads the team in both kills (2.39) and blocks (1.26) per set while also owning a team-best .301 attack percentage. Another weapon in the middle is junior MB Heather Thorson, who is second on the team in blocks per set (0.84) and hitting percentage (.274).
    Sophomore libero Julianne Mandolfo averages 5.85 digs per set, easily the best in the MVC, and sixth-best nationally.
    As a team, Creighton averages 12.87 kills, 1.23 aces, 16.99 digs and 2.54 blocks per set while hitting .205.
    Creighton was picked third (of 10) in the MVC this fall after returning 11 letterwinners and four starters from last year’s team that finished 21-12 overall and third in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 13-5 league record.

Scouting Indiana State
Indiana State is off to a 10-12 start, including a 2-9 mark in Valley matches.
    The Sycamores are being paced by Morgan Dall’s 4.58 kills per set, a figure that leads the MVC by a wide margin. Dall, however, hasn’t played since Sept. 24th, with ISU going 1-6 in her absence.
     Other top attackers for ISU include Monique Morris (2.62 kps.) and Stacy Qualizza (2.49 kps., .367%).
    Shelbi Fouty (7.56 aps.) and Loni Mackinson (3.57 aps.) share setting duties, while Kiya James (4.49 dps.) serves as the libero.
    As a team, Indiana State averages 12.17 kills, 1.27 aces, 16.17 digs and 1.71 blocks per set while hitting .197.

Scouting Illinois State
Illinois State is 14-9 this season, including a 6-5 mark in Valley play that puts it in fifth place.
    Sophomore OH Shannon McGlaughlin leads ISU with 3.59 kills per set, while classmate LeighAnn Hranka averages 3.12 kills per set to go with a team-best 17 aces (0.23 saps.).
    Senior Kristin Stauter has logged most of the playing time at setter, averaging 9.49 assists per set, while Jenny Menendez (4.43 dps.) is the Redbird libero.
    ISU averages 12.82 kills, 1.04 aces, 15.78 digs and 2.25 blocks per while hitting .188 as a team.

The Coaches
Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 154-111 record in her ninth 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 and joined the 100-win club with an Oct. 31, 2008 win at Drake. Last season she was named’s National Coach of the Year after leading Creighton to the second round during its first NCAA Tournament bid.
     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.
    Traci Dahl (Long Beach State, 1997) is 36-80 in her fourth year at Indiana State, which also doubles as her career mark. Dahl had been an assistant at Cal State Fullerton and Hofstra before coming to Terre Haute. As a player, Dahl was an All-American middle blocker and a member of Long Beach State’s 1993 national championship team. She is assisted by Camille Gutierrez.   
    Melissa Myers (Juniata College, 1998) owns a 61-55 record in her fourth season at Illinois State. That moves her 10-year career record as a head coach to 222-104 when you include her six years at California (Pa.). Myers is assisted by Adriano de Souza and BJ Trame.
Series History vs. Indiana State
Creighton is 27-9 all-time against Indiana State, including a 12-5 record in Terre Haute. Creighton has won the past 13 meetings in the series, which includes 12 sweeps in that time. The team to win the first set has won the past 15 meetings.
    The Jays’ 27 wins against the Sycamores is one less than its most against any opponent (28 vs. Southern Illinois).
    Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 14-3 all-time against Indiana State and 7-0 against Traci Dahl.

Series History vs. Illinois State
Though Illinois State leads the all-time series with Creighton by a 24-14 margin, it’s been mostly Bluejays of late. The Jays have won 11 of the past 12 meetings in the series since snapping an 11-match losing streak to the ‘Birds in 2006.
    The lone exception came on Sept. 26, 2009 in Normal, where ISU won the final two sets to win a 3-2 decision at Redbird Arena.
    Creighton is just 6-13 in Normal against ISU.
    Creighton has taken a 2-0 lead in four of the 38 meetings against Illinois State, but has never swept the Redbirds.
    Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 11-8 against Illinois State  and 6-1 versus Melissa Myers.

Last Week Summary
Creighton defended its home court with wins over Southern Illinois (3-2) and Evansville (3-0) last weekend. Heather Thorson averaged 3.38 kills on .420 hitting, while Megan Bober averaged 3.25 kills on .500 hitting and recorded her fifth triple-double of the year on Friday vs. SIU. In addition, Laurel Sanford averaged 2.25 blocks per set in the two wins, including 13 stuffs against the Salukis.

Duo Honored as MVC Player of the Week
Creighton had two players earn MVC recognition when the league handed out its weekly awards on Monday.
    Megan Bober was named MVC Player of the Week for the third time in her career, while Laurel Sanford was tabbed MVC Defensive Player of the Week for the fourth time in her career.
    Bober hit .500 in 46 swings and averaged 3.25 kills, 6.38 assists, 2.38 digs and 0.62 blocks per set. She had her fifth career triple-double on Friday in a 3-2 win over Southern Illinois.
    Sanford averaged 2.25 blocks, 1.62 kills and 0.75 digs per set in two wins, including a career-high 13 blocks in the win over Southern Illinois.

Sweet Home Indiana & Illinois
Creighton will visit Indiana and Illinois this weekend, two states where it has enjoyed tremendous success in recent times.
    Creighton is 12-1 since 2005 in matches played in Indiana, winning 38-of-46 sets played.
    Creighton is 18-3 in Illinois since 2006, with two of those losses coming in non-conference affairs.

Mandolfo’s 20/15 Vision
Julianne Mandolfo owns 20 or more digs in 15 of Creighton’s 23 matches this season.  Her 15 matches with 20 digs ties CU’s single-season record, previously set by Bianca Rivera in 2007.
Matches With 20+ Digs, Season
    20+D    Name    Year
    15    Bianca Rivera    2007
    15    Julianne Mandolfo    2011
    13    Janeen Piller    2004

Sanford Stuffing
Senior MB Laurel Sanford had a career-high 13 blocks in the win over Southern Illinois last Friday, tying the most by any player in the MVC this season. Her previous career-high of 12 had also come against Southern Illinois back in 2009.
    Her 13 blocks rank fourth-most in CU history for a match.
    Sanford is the only player in Creighton history with five career matches of 10 or more blocks.
Matches With 10+ Blocks, Career
    10+B    Name    Years
    5    Laurel Sanford    2008-Pres.
    4    Ashley Williams    2001-04
    4    Jessica Houts    2006-09
    3    JoDe Cieloha    1994-97

Triple-Double Leader
Megan Bober owns five triple-doubles this season, more than all but two players (Bre Payton, Sam Hardwick) in MVC history.
    According to the AVCA’s web site, Bober’s five triple-doubles are the most in the country this fall, one more than Florida’s Kelly Murphy. Murphy, a first-team All-American in 2010, owns a staggering 26 career triple-doubles.
    Here’s a list of most triple-doubles in a season in MVC history.
    No.    Name, School    Year
    7    Bre Payton, UNI    2009
    6    Bre Payton, UNI    2010
    6    Sam Hardwick, BU    2000
    5    Megan Bober, CU    2011
    4    Shannon Perry, UNI    1999
    4    Mary Bernhardt, UNI    1987
    3    Sam Hardwick, BU    1999

Mandolfo Surpasses 1,000
Julianne Mandolfo has 1,011 career digs in 56 career matches. She went over the 1,000 dig plateau vs. Evansville on Oct. 22 in her 56th career contest, second-quickest in CU history to 1,000 digs.
Creighton’s Quickest Players To 1,000 Digs (Career)
Name    MP    Date    Opponent
Bianca Rivera    53    11/08/08    Illinois State
Julianne Mandolfo    56    10/22/11    Evansville
Nayka Benitez    60    11/27/10    at Northern Iowa
Kailey Reyes    77    09/01/01    vs. UTSA
Janeen Piller    80    09/25/04    at Missouri State
Melissa Walsh    85    09/08/01    at #24 Santa Clara
Allie Oelke    95    09/04/10    vs. Iowa
Melissa Weisensee    97    10/04/97    at Missouri State
Sarah Schulze    101    11/13/09    Southern Illinois
Korie Lebeda    108    10/17/08    Evansville

Most Digs in Creighton History
        Name    Sets    No.    Years
    1.    Janeen Piller    336    1,392    2001-04
    2.    Allie Oelke    445    1,382    2007-10
    3.    Kailey Reyes    368    1,258    1998-01
    4.    Melissa Walsh    394    1,240    1998-01
    5.    Melissa Weisensee    411    1,223    1994-97
    6.    Korie Lebeda    428    1,130    2005-08
    7.    Bianca Rivera    207    1,118    2007-08
    8.    Sarah Schulze    398    1,056    2006-09
    9.    Nayka Benitez    233    1,053    2009-10
    10.    Julianne Mandolfo    206    1,011    2010-Pr.

RPI Is Out
The NCAA’s second official RPI rankings of the fall are out, and Creighton is up two spots to 63rd in the rankings. By comparison, last year CU was 44th in the Oct. 24 rankings, eventually reaching as high as No. 29 (Nov. 28), before finishing the year 32nd.
    Creighton has played nine matches against top-47 clubs this season, facing Nebraska (2), UNI (4), Texas A&M twice (20), Northern Illinois (23), Kansas State (33), Marquette (35), Missouri State (39) and Wichita State (45).
    Indiana State is 230th in this week’s RPI, while Illinois State is 86th.

Booth Passes 100 Valley Wins
Now in her ninth season at Creighton, Kirsten Bernthal Booth owns a 101-54 record in MVC regular-season matches. She became the eighth coach in league history to reach 100 victories with a five-set win last weekend against SIU, the same team she beat in five sets for her first MVC victory in 2003.
    Booth is tied with former SIU coach Sonya Locke for seventh on the MVC’s all-time list for regular-season league victories with 101.
Most Regular-Season MVC Wins, MVC HIstory
    Rk.    Name, School    W-L    Pct.
    1.    Melissa Stokes*, MSU    201-79    .718
    2.    Iradge Ahrabi-Fard, UNI    196-29    .871
    3.    Bobbi Petersen*, UNI    178-31    .852
    4.    Julie Morgan, ILS    157-32    .831
    5.    Chris Lamb*, WSU    151-57    .726
    6.    Linda Dollar, MSU    121-32    .791
    7.    Kirsten Bernthal Booth* CU    101-54    .652
        Sonya Locke, SIU    101-142    .416
    9.    Sharon Dingman, ILS    96-48    .667
    10.    Phil Shoemaker, WSU    89-136    .396

Defensive Display
Creighton owns just 11 home matches in the last seven years in which it has 90 digs or more, but the Jays have reached that figure in each of Illinois State’s last seven trips to town, including Sept. 30 in the Rebirds’ annual trip to Omaha.
    Since 2005, Creighton has averaged 24.21 digs in those 29 sets played in Omaha against Illinois State. At all sites, Creighton has 1,252 digs in 58 sets versus the Redbirds since 2005 (21.59 dps.).
    Including this year’s 92 digs vs. the Redbirds, Creighton’s season-high for digs at home has come against Illinois State in five of the last six seasons.
Illinois State at Creighton, Last Seven Years
Date    Sets    CU Digs    ISU Digs
09/30/11    4    92    79
10/30/10    4    90    93
10/23/09    4    92    88
11/08/08    4    106    102
09/28/07    4    114    108
10/28/06    4    111    92
10/21/05    5    97    95

Most Creighton Digs, Home Matches, Since 2005
    Digs    Opponent    Date    CU Result
    114    Illinois State    09/28/07    W 3-1
    111    Illinois State    10/28/06    W 3-1
    106    Illinois State    11/08/08    W 3-1
    103    Northern Iowa    09/17/05    L 1-3
    101    Iowa    09/02/06    L 2-3
    97    Illinois State    10/21/05    L 2-3
    94    Missouri State    10/08/10    W 3-2
    92    Illinois State    10/23/09    W 3-1
    92    Illinois State    09/30/11    W 3-1
    91    #25 Wichita State    10/02/09    W 3-1
    90    Illinois State    10/30/10    W 3-1

Sycamore Sweeps
Creighton has swept Indiana State in 13 of the past 14 meetings with the Sycamores. The only exception in that run came on Sept. 25, 2009, when Creighton overcame a 2-1 deficit to beat ISU in five sets in Terre Haute.

Multiple Weapons
Creighton has five players averaging 2.00 kills per set or more, a quintet that features Laurel Sanford (2.39), Leah McNary (2.16), Megan Bober (2.29), Heather Thorson (2.15) and Karisa Almgren (2.10).
    The last time the Jays ended the year with five regulars averaging 2.00 kills per set or more was 2005, when Leah Ratzlaff (4.26), Kelly Goc (3.32), Amanda Cvejdlik (2.85), Jessica Houts (2.84), Abby Baumann (2.28) reached that mark.

Schedule Flips
With seven league matches left, only Creighton and Northern Iowa have just two home matches left.
    Creighton is 8-4 at home this year (6-1 in MVC action), compared to 2-6 in true road matches (2-2 in MVC play).
    After trekking to Terre Haute and Normal this weekend, the Jays will host Wichita State and Missouri State on Nov. 4-5 before ending the season with road matches at Northern Iowa, Bradley and Drake.

Setting The Table
Creighton owns a pair of players with more than 300 assists this season in Megan Bober (552 assists) and Michelle Sicner (328).
    It’s just the second time in program history they’ve used two setters so often, joining the 2002 team that had Jaden Custer (387) and Liz Hagerman (303) share setting duties with Jadee Tanabe (193).

Crowded House
Here’s the 10 largest home crowds in Creighton Volleyball history, which includes three matches from CenturyLink Center Omaha, three from D.J. Sokol Arena and four from the Omaha Civic Auditorium.
    The Oct. 14 crowd of 2,135 to see Creighton topple Bradley was the sixth-largest in school history and third-largest ever at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Largest Home Crowds, Creighton VB History
    Att.    Opponent    Date    CU Result
    13,081    #18 Cal Poly-C    09/02/07    L 0-3
    12,112    #1 Nebraska-C    09/24/06    L 1-3
    8,037    #2 Nebraska-C    10/05/08    L 0-3
    2,514    #7 Nebraska-D    8/31/10    L 0-3
    2,285    Texas Tech-D    8/28/09    W 3-0
    2,135    Bradley-D    10/14/11    W 3-1
    1,557    Northern Iowa-O    11/21/08    W 3-0
    1,357    Northern Iowa-O    10/20/07    L 0-3
    1,325    Indiana State-O    09/29/07    W 3-0
    1,319    Northern Iowa-O    10/06/06    L 2-3
C = CenturyLink Center Omaha
D = D.J. Sokol Arena
O = Omaha Civic Auditorium

Win The First Set, Win The Match
The team to win the first set has won 39 of Creighton's last 41 matches, and 36 of Creighton's last 37 contests against MVC competition.
    The team to win the first set has won the past 15 meetings between Creighton and Indiana State.
    Under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, Creighton is 133-17 when winning the first set, but 21-94 in matches it loses the opening frame.

Liberated Liberos
Just a sophomore, Creighton libero Julianne Mandolfo is on pace to shatter program records for digs in a career (1,392 by Janeen Piller) and approach the mark for digs per set (5.40 by Bianca Rivera).
    Her career path seems similar to that of 2010 MVC Libero of the Year Ellie Blankenship, who ended her UNI career last fall ranked sixth in NCAA history with 2,656 career digs and sixth in NCAA history with 5.59 digs per set.
Stat    Mandolfo    Blankenship
Digs as a Freshman    531    624
DPS as a Freshman    4.28    5.43
Digs as a Sophomore    480    676
DPS as a Sophomore    5.85    5.59
Total Career Digs    1,011    2,656
Total Career DPS    4.91    5.59

Triple-Double Trouble
Prior to Sept. 17, Creighton had never seen multiple players earn a triple-double in the same season. That’s no longer the case, however, as both Michelle Sicner and Megan Bober turned in a triple-double on Sept. 17 in the same match vs. UAB.
    Sicner had 11 kills, 17 digs and 22 assists against the Blazers, while Bober turned in 11 kills, 12 digs and 25 assists.
    It was Bober’s second triple-double in as many nights, as she also had one (by intermission) during a three-set sweep of Drake one night earlier.
    Here are the only known matches in MVC history where two or more teammates had a triple-double:
Two Triple Doubles on Same Team, Same Match
    No.    Team    Date
    3    Northern Iowa    9/14/85
    2    Wichita State    9/15/89
    2    Bradley    9/25/99
    2    Northern Iowa    11/20/99
    2    Missouri State    11/24/06
    2    Creighton    9/17/11

Triple-Double Threat
In Creighton's season-opener vs. UTSA on Aug. 26th, Megan Bober had the program's first triple-double since 2001 when she finished with 11 kills, 14 digs and 51 assists.
    She became the first player in school history with two triple-doubles in the same season on Sept. 16 vs. Drake, when she had 12 kills, 18 digs and 20 assists. Incredibly, she had a triple-double by the intermission after the second set. The triple-double was the first at home by a CU player since Melissa Weisensee in 1994.
    One evening later Bober had a triple-double for the third time this fall vs. UAB, when she had 11 kills, 12 digs and 25 assists.
    Bober had her fourth triple-double of the fall on Oct. 14 vs. Bradley, finishing with 13 kills, 35 assists and 10 digs.
    Bober’s fifth and most recent triple-double came vs. Southern Illinois on Oct. 21st, when she finished with 19 kills, 28 assists and 11 digs in a 3-2 win.
    In addition to those five triple-doubles, she’s had six other matches with at least eight digs, eight kills and eight assists in the same contest.

Triple-Double Fun
Junior Megan Bober has five triple-doubles this fall, the first Bluejay ever with more than one in a single-season. Her five career triple-doubles are one more than the previous the school-record of four by Kailey Reyes from 1998-2001.
Creighton Triple-Doubles
Melissa Weisensee
1) 40a-19d-10k vs. Illinois State (4s)    9/10/94
2) 65a-22d-12k at Evansville (5s)    11/9/97

JoDe Cieloha
1) 15k-10d-12b at Bradley (3s)    9/9/95
2) 22k-15d-12b at Western Illinois (5s)    11/10/96

Kailey Reyes
1) 62a-21d-10k at Indiana State (5s)    10/16/98
2) 47a-11d-11k at Wichita State (5s)    10/9/99
3) 71a-17d-13k at Indiana State (5s)    10/14/00
4) 48a-11d-11k at UMKC (4s)    10/28/01

Megan Bober
1) 51a-14d-11k vs. UTSA (5s)    8/26/11
2) 20a-18d-12k vs. Drake (3s)    9/16/11
3) 25a-12d-11k vs. UAB (4s)    9/17/11
4) 35a-10d-13k vs. Bradley (4s)    10/14/11
5) 28a-11d-19k vs. Southern Illinois (5s)    10/21/11

Michelle Sicner
1) 22a-17d-11k vs. UAB (4s)    9/17/11

D.J. Sokol Arena Records in Jeopardy
Numerous D.J. Sokol Arena single-season and career records were set last weekend.
    Julianne Mandolfo now owns single-season and career records for both digs and digs per set mark in the facility.
    Megan Bober tied the D.J. Sokol Arena record for double-doubles in a season of seven, previously held by Allie Oelke.
    Additionally, Laurel Sanford is 11 kills shy of setting the career record for kills at D.J. Sokol Arena with two home matches remaining.
Digs, Season, D.J. Sokol Arena
        Name    Sets    No.    Year
    1.    Julianne Mandolfo    42    269    2011
    2.    Nayka Benitez    51    257    2009
    3.    Julianne Mandolfo    50    236    2010

Digs Per Set, Season, D.J. Sokol Arena (Min. 30 sets)
        Name    Sets    No.    Avg.    Year
    1.    Julianne Mandolfo    42    269    6.40    2011
    2.    Nayka Benitez    51    257    5.04    2009
    3.    Julianne Mandolfo    50    236    4.72    2010

Digs, Career, D.J. Sokol Arena
        Name    Sets    No.    Years
    1.    Julianne Mandolfo    92    505    2010-Pr.
    2.    Nayka Benitez    101    488    2009-10
    3.    Allie Oelke    101    402    2009-10
    4.    Megan Bober    143    308    2009-Pr.
    5.    Brooke Boggs    126    277    2009-Pr.

Digs Per Set, Career, D.J. Sokol Arena (Min. 350 Digs)
        Name    Sets    No.    Avg.    Years
    1.    Julianne Mandolfo    92    505    5.49    2010-Pr.
    2.    Nayka Benitez    101    488    4.83    2009-10
    3.    Allie Oelke    101    402    3.98    2009-10

Double-Doubles, Season, D.J. Sokol Arena
        Name    D-D    Year
    1.    Allie Oelke    7    2009
        Megan Bober    7    2011
    3.    Allie Oelke    6    2010

Kills, Career, D.J. Sokol Arena
        Name    Sets    No.    Years
    1.    Alicia Runge    101    318    2009-10
    2.    Laurel Sanford    129    308    2009-Pr.
    3.    Allie Oelke    101    264    2009-10
    4.    Megan Bober    143    245    2009-Pr.
    5.    Karisa Almgren    105    202    2009-Pr.

Secret Weapon
Freshman OH Leah McNary has averaged 2.16 kills per set in CU’s last 16 matches. After Creighton started 2-5 without McNary, the Jays are 11-5 since her debut.
    McNary was named MVC Freshman of the Week for her performance on Sept. 30-Oct. 1.

More McNary
Speaking of Leah McNary, the Florida native’s 16 kills vs. Illinois State on Sept. 30 were the most by a Bluejay freshman since Allie Oelke had 19 kills vs. Southern Illinois in the 2007 MVC Tournament.
    McNary is currently averaging 2.16 kills per set. If she maintains that pace, she will be the 14th Bluejay freshman in school history to average at least 2.00 kills per set.
Most Kills Per Set, Creighton Freshman
(min. 100 kills)
    KPS    Name    Year
    3.75    Melissa Walsh    1998
    3.39    JoDe Cieloha    1994
    3.29    Allie Oelke    2007
    2.85    Amanda Cvejdlik    2005
    2.84    Jessica Houts    2005
    2.72    Kelly Goc    2004
    2.70    Carolyn Decker    2004
    2.44    Shelly Kapler    1996
    2.44    Rachelle Von    1997
    2.33    Erin Swanson    1998
    2.17    Leah Ratzlaff    2002
    2.16    Leah McNary    2011
    2.08    Shannon Scrutton    1996
    2.05    Michelle Prorock    1994
On A Roll
Creighton’s 5-0 start in MVC play this season marked the third time in the last six years the Jays started 5-0 or better. CU also started 5-0 in 2006, and had a program-best 7-0 start in 2007.

You Got Served
Freshman Michelle Sicner is second in the MVC with 0.36 aces per set.
    She tied a D.J. Sokol Arena record with seven aces on Sept. 17 vs. McNeese State. That performance featured five aces in a six-point span, including four in a row, during the third set.
    After no aces in Creighton’s first seven contests of the season, she has 25 aces in CU’s last 16 matches.

Sicner Joins 20/20 Club
Michelle Sicner became just the fifth player in Creighton history to have 20 or more digs and 20 or more assists in the same contest when she did that on Sept. 30 vs. Illinois State.
    Sicner, who finished with 27 assists and 20 digs, joined Melissa Weisensee and Brittany Coleman as the only freshman in CU history to have a 20/20 match.
20 Assists, 20 Digs In A Match
A    D    Name    Opp.    Date
27    20    M. Sicner    Illinois State (4s)    09/30/11
71    20    K. Lebeda    at Evansville (5s)    11/18/06
62    21    B. Coleman    at So. Illinois (4s)    10/29/04
54    22    B. Coleman    at Illinois State (4s)    10/18/03
45    20    K. Reyes    vs. Evansville (4s)    11/24/00
64    23    K. Reyes    at Evansville (5s)    11/04/00
44    23    K. Reyes    Bradley (4s)    10/28/00
49    28    K. Reyes    at Illinois State (4s)    10/13/00
40    21    K. Reyes    Missouri State (4s)    11/06/99
65    24    K. Reyes    Illinois State (4s)    09/24/99
55    28    K. Reyes    Evansville (5s)    09/11/99
65    22    M. Weisensee    at Evansville (5s)    11/08/97
46    21    M. Weisensee    Missouri State (4s)    10/31/97
46    38    M. Weisensee    Evansville (4s)    10/10/97
40    23    M. Weisensee    at Drake (5s)    09/13/97
53    24    M. Weisensee    at Indiana St. (5s)    10/18/96
51    21    M. Weisensee    at Wichita St. (5s)    09/14/96
47    22    M. Weisensee    Bradley (4s)    09/09/94

History At The Midway Point
Creighton reached the midpoint of the MVC slate with a 6-3 record. The Jays owned a winning record at the turn for the fifth time in six seasons.
League Record by Year
Year    1st Half    2nd Half    MVC place
2011    6-3    2-0    ? ? ?
2010    7-2    6-3    3rd
2009    4-5    6-3    T-4th
2008    7-2    8-1    2nd
2007    7-2    7-2    T-2nd
2006    7-2    5-4    4th
2005    4-5    6-3    5th
2004    5-4    5-4    5th
2003    5-4    4-5    T-5th
2002    1-8    1-8    T-9th
2001    7-2    5-4    4th
2000    5-4    5-4    T-4th
1999    5-4    4-5    5th
1998    2-7    3-6    8th
1997    6-3    4-5    T-3rd
1996    2-7    3-6    T-6th
1995    3-7    3-7    T-7th
1994    2-8    1-9    T-9th
Total    85-79    78-79    --
    .518    .497

Good To Be Home
Creighton is 19-2 in its last 21 MVC matches at D.J. Sokol Arena, with both losses coming to Northern Iowa.
    All-time, CU is 21-4 in regular-season Valley matches at D.J. Sokol Arena, but 0-3 against Northern Iowa.

Defensive Difference-Maker
Sophomore L Julianne Mandolfo earned MVC Defensive Player of the Week honors for the first time in her career on Oct. 3 after averaging 7.86 digs per set in two wins.
    Mandolfo had 28 digs in a four-set win over Illinois State on Sept. 30, then dug 27 balls in a three-set win over Indiana State on Oct. 1.
    The 27 digs against the Sycamores ranks as second-most in CU history for a three-set match.
    She earned the honor for the second time on Oct. 17 after averaging 6.86 digs and 0.29 aces per set in matches vs. Bradley and UNI last week.
Thorson’s Thunder
Junior MB Heather Thorson had two of the best matches of her career on Sept. 23-24, helping Creighton to road wins at Evansville and Southern Illinois. She tied her career-high with 12 kills in a win at Evansville while also hitting a season-best .500 in 22 swings, adding four blocks.
    Thorson came out one day later and set another career-high in kills, this time finishing with 15 kills on .342 hitting in a 3-1 victory at SIU. She also had a season-high six blocks, including a solo stuff in the fourth set with the score tied at 25.
    Thorson dominated both teams in Omaha as well. She had 13 kills and four blocks vs. SIU on Oct. 21, then had 14 kills on .636 hitting one day later vs. Evansville.
    For the season, Thorson hit .568 while averaging 4.33 kills and 1.00 blocks per set vs. Evansville, and hit .303 while averaging 3.11 kills and 1.11 blocks per set vs. SIU.

More Service Please
Creighton’s 13 aces against McNeese State were second-most in school history for a three-set match. It was also a D.J. Sokol Arena team record for a contest of any length.

Sicner Earns Another Freshman Award
Creighton Volleyball's Michelle Sicner was named Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Week for the second time in three weeks on Sept. 26th after helping Creighton complete an unbeaten road swing at Evansville (3-0) and Southern Illinois (3-1), averaging 6.00 assists, 2.86 digs, 1.14 blocks and 1.29 kills per set last week.
    Sicner opened her week with her by nearly posting her second straight triple-double, finishing with 20 assists, 12 digs and eight kills in a three-set win at Evansville. Sicner also hit .368 in the contest and added a team-best five blocks.
    In Saturday's four-set win at Southern Illinois, Sicner had 22 assists, eight digs, three blocks and three aces.
    The Millard North product was previously honored as MVC Freshman of the Week on Sept. 12.

All-Tourney Combo
Sophomore Julianne Mandolfo and senior Laurel Sanford both earned a spot on the Creighton Classic All-Tournament Team on Sept. 16-17. Mandolfo averaged 6.80 digs per set and had four different sets in which she owned 10 or more digs. Sanford averaged 2.90 kills and 0.90 blocks per set while also hitting a team-best .339 in three matches. It’s the third all-Tourney honor in four events this fall for Sanford, but the first all-Tourney accolade of Mandolfo’s career.

Moving On Up
Sophomore Julianne Mandolfo had 31 digs on Aug. 26 vs. UTSA and a season-best 32 digs at Kansas State on Aug. 30.
    Her five career matches with 30 or more digs have set a Creighton school record, while her 26 career matches with 20 or more digs ranks second in program annals.
    The only player in Creighton history with more than two matches of 30+ digs in the same season is Janeen Piller in 2004, which occurred back when sets were played to 30 (not 25).
Matches With 30+ Digs, Career
    30+D    Name    Years
    5    Julianne Mandolfo     2010-Pres.
    4    Janeen Piller    2001-04
    4    Bianca Rivera    2007-08
    4    Nayka Benitez    2009-10
    1    Melissa Weisensee    1994-97
    1    Melissa Walsh    1998-01

Matches With 20+ Digs, Career
    20+D    Name    Years
    27    Bianca Rivera    2007-08
    26    Julianne Mandolfo      2010-Pres.
    20    Janeen Piller    2001-04

Reasons For Success
Creighton owns a 56-23 home record in regular-season MVC matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
    The Jays have won 29 straight at home against teams picked below them in the preseason MVC poll (since a 2007 loss to Missouri State), and are 47-2 under Booth in such home scenarios.
    In matches not against the power trio of Northern Iowa (1-8), Missouri State (2-6) and Wichita State (4-4), Creighton's home MVC record under Booth improves to 49-5.
Preseason MVC Poll
Creighton was picked third in a preseason poll of Missouri Valley Conference coaches. Defending regular-season champion Northern Iowa was the unanimous pick to win the league, with Wichita State second. Creighton is third, Missouri State fourth and Illinois State fifth. Rounding out the rest of the league was Drake, Evansville, Southern Illinois, Indiana State and Bradley.
    In addition, Megan Bober was named preseason all-MVC.
    Each of the past eight years Creighton has finished in the spot predicted of them or better in the preseason poll.
Year    Preseason Pick    Finish    Move
1994    11th    9th    #2
1995    9th    7th    #2
1996    9th    6th    #3
1997    8th    3rd    #5
1998    6th    8th    i2
1999    T-7th    5th    #2
2000    4th    T-4th    - -
2001    2nd    4th    i2
2002    7th    9th    i2
2003    9th    T-5th    #4
2004    5th    5th    - -
2005    5th    5th    - -
2006    4th    4th    - -
2007    3rd    T-2nd    #1
2008    3rd    2nd    #1
2009    4th    T-4th    - -
2010    4th    3rd    #1
2011    3rd    ???    ???

Early Tests Pay Big Dividends
For the fifth straight season, Creighton entered MVC play with an overall record at the .500 mark or worse, as it was 4-6 this season before MVC play.
    The willingness of Creighton to test itself early has paid dividends when conference play rolls around. During this five year stretch, Creighton is 18-26 (.409) in matches before league play starts, but 60-23 (.723) in Valley action. The Jays 60 Valley wins in that time trail only UNI (74) and Wichita State (70) and are one more than Missouri State (59) league-wide.
Year    W-L Entering MVC    MVC W-L    Finish
2003    2-7    9-9    T-5th
2004    7-1    10-8    5th
2005    5-4    10-8    5th
2006    8-1    12-6    4th
2007    4-4    14-4    T-2nd
2008    3-4    15-3    2nd
2009    2-7    10-8    T-4th
2010    5-5    13-5    3rd
2011    4-6    8-3    ?
Total    40-39    101-54
All-Tourney Duo
Creighton had two players named to the All-Tournament Team at the Ameritas Players Challenge (Sept. 8-10), Michelle Sicner and Laurel Sanford.
    Sicner averaged 3.44 assists, 2.00 kills, 0.67 aces, 1.67 digs and 1.11 blocks per set in three matches over the weekend, hitting .205 in 44 swings. Her 10 overall blocks led the team, while her six aces, 31 assists and 18 kills were second-most on the Bluejay squad. Sicner was also named MVC Freshman of the Week for her efforts.
    Sanford averaged 1.89 kills and 1.00 blocks per set while hitting a robust .381 overall. She had nine kills and five blocks while hitting .500 in the Jays win over Saint Mary's on Saturday morning that clinched the second-place finish. This was the second career all-tournament selection for the senior from Eagan, Minn., joining the all-Tourney accolade she won at the season-opening Texas A&M Invitational.

Milestone Match For Booth
Creighton’s Sept. 8 match at Nebraska was Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s 250th match at Creighton, and moved her record to 143-107 (.572).
    She now owns a 154-111 (.581) mark to date in nine years, compared to the program’s 93-152 (.380) record in 245 matches during the nine seasons prior to her arrival.

Attack of the Setter
Despite her role as a setter, Megan Bober owns a share of the team lead with six matches of double-digit kills this fall. That includes a career-best 14 putaways vs. South Dakota on Sept. 3.
    Bober’s 14 kills vs. South Dakota were the most by a Bluejay setter in program history, breaking the previous mark of 13 held by Kailey Reyes at Indiana State on Oct. 14, 2000.
    Bober has led Creighton in kills and assists in eight different matches this fall, a highly unusual feat for a setter.
    Just how rare is it?
    In the 17 previous seasons of Creighton Volleyball, only once in 487 matches had the same player led the team in both kills and assists in the same match. That came on Oct. 5, 2002, when Jaden Custer topped the Jays with seven kills and 13 assists at Missouri State.

Attack of the Setter
Despite her role as a setter, Megan Bober owns a share of the team lead with six matches of double-digit kills this fall. That includes a career-best 14 putaways vs. South Dakota on Sept. 3.
    Bober’s 14 kills vs. South Dakota were the most by a Bluejay setter in program history, breaking the previous mark of 13 held by Kailey Reyes at Indiana State on Oct. 14, 2000.
    Bober has led Creighton in kills and assists in eight different matches this fall, a highly unusual feat for a setter.
    Just how rare is it?
    In the 17 previous seasons of Creighton Volleyball, only once in 487 matches had the same player led the team in both kills and assists in the same match. That came on Oct. 5, 2002, when Jaden Custer topped the Jays with seven kills and 13 assists at Missouri State.

Setting Them Straight
Creighton started two players with setting skills in its Sept. 3 nightcap against Marquette, as both Michelle Sicner and Megan Bober were in the starting six.
    Bober finished with 10 assists, nine digs and eight kills while starting a match as an outside hitter for the first time at the collegiate level.
    Sicner, who was the setter on the first few points of the match, finished with a team-best 18 assists. It was the first time in Bober’s 71-match career that she did not lead Creighton in assists.
    In the 18 matches with Creighton using a 6-2 offense, Bober is second on the team with 152 kills (2.45 kps.) and first with 388 assists (6.26 aps.), while Sicner owns 87 kills (1.43 kps.) and second with 326 assists (5.34 aps.).

Bober Named MVC Player of the Week
After posting two triple-doubles in three matches at the Creighton Classic (Sept. 16-17), Bluejay junior Megan Bober was named the Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Player of the Week on Sept. 19.
    It was the second time she's been honored by the MVC with Player of the Week accolades, having also earned similar recognition on Oct. 4, 2010.
    For the week, the all-Valley setter averaged 2.80 kills, 6.90 assists, 0.40 aces, 3.5 digs and 0.40 blocks per set while hitting at a .280 rate.
    Bober also claimed Prairie Farms/MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week for her week. The Exercise Science major owns a 3.791 GPA in the classroom.

Two Of A Kind
Michelle Sicner had a solid all-around match in Creighton’s Sept. 9 victory over Weber State, finishing with 11 assists, five kills, four aces, four blocks and two digs.
    Since Creighton Volleyball was reinstated in 1994, the only other player reached all of those minimums (or better) in the same match was Melissa Weisensee vs. Evansville on Nov. 2, 1996. Weisensee had 80 assists (still a CU record), five kills, four aces, five blocks and 14 digs.

Stepping Up
Veteran leaders Karisa Almgren and Heather Thorson each had a big match vs. UTSA to open the regular-season.
    Almgren tied her career-high with 14 kills, while Thorson’s 11 kills were one shy of her career-best at the time.
    Creighton is 13-5 all-time when Almgren has nine or more kills in a match and 11-1 when Thorson reaches that figure.

Taking The Fifth
Creighton is 26-15 in five-set matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, including a 2-1 mark this season. 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    2-1    13-10
Total    41-43    247-263

2-0 Better Than 0-2
Creighton is 160-8 (.952) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 101-2 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. They own a 75-4 all-time mark in home matches they lead 2-0 in.
    Conversely, the Jays are 6-168 (.034) all-time when trailing a match 0-2, including an 0-57 mark in those home matches. Those six 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

Just In Time
Creighton Volleyball faced a 14-12 fifth-set deficit against preseason Southland Conference favorite UTSA in its Aug. 26 season-opener, only to rally for a 16-14 set victory to win the match.
    Creighton has now won five matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth after surviving an opponent’s match point. On the other hand, Creighton is 154-1 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
08/26/11    vs. UTSA    12-14, 13-14    16-14
09/11/07    at Drake    13-14, 14-15    17-15
10/13/06    at Wichita State    12-14, 13-14, 14-15    17-15
10/10/03    Wichita State    13-14    16-14
08/30/03    vs. McNeese State    13-14, 15-16    18-16

Production Returning
Creighton returns 11-of-16 letterwinners from last season. Below is a breakdown of the production that returns:
Stat    Returners    Departures
Assists    1415 (91.2%)     137 (8.8%)
Aces    89 (56.3%)    69 (43.7%)
Digs    1264 (53.8%)    1085 (46.2%)
Matches Started    140 (70.7%)    58 (29.3%)
Blocks    230.5 (78.7%)    62.5 (21.3%)
Points    1234.5 (58.0%)    892.5 (42.0%)
Kills    915 (54.6%)    761 (45.4%)

Set 1 Result = Match Result
In its last 139 matches in which it wins set one, Creighton is 126-13. CU is 133-17 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when they win set one. In that same time span, CU is just 21-94 under Booth when it drops the first set.

Last Year Summary
Creighton had its most successful year in program history, tying a school-record with 21 wins while also reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
    Megan Bober was named first-team all-MVC and honorable-mention All-American after averaging 10.26 assists, 1.95 digs, 1.48 kills and 0.92 blocks per set. Named second-team all-Valley were Laurel Sanford (2.47 kps., 1.10 bps.) and Alicia Runge (3.73 kps.). In addition, Julianne Mandolfo (4.28 dps.) was named to the MVC’s All-Freshman Team.
    Creighton ranked second nationally with 18.94 digs per set a season ago and was also top-60 in kills per set and blocks per set.

AVCA Honors CU Volleyball For Academics
The Creighton volleyball program was honored by the American Volleyball Coaches Association as a recipient of the 2011 AVCA Team Academic Award. Creighton previously won the award in 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 are one of seven Division I schools nationwide to win the award in eight consecutive campaigns.
    The award honors teams that displayed excellence in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative GPA. Last spring the Bluejay volleyball team posted a combined GPA of 3.45.

Radio Broadcast Information
Brad Burwell and former Bluejay volleyball player Erin Swanson will broadcast at least 24 matches (14 home,  10 away) this season. The matches will air on KOIL (1180 AM) and KKAR (1290 AM) and be webcast on-line at as well.
    The pre-match show 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:
2011 Volleyball Broadcast Schedule
Oct. 29    at Illinois State (KOIL)
Nov. 4    Wichita State (KOIL)
Nov. 5    Missouri State (KOIL)
Nov. 11    at Northern Iowa (KOIL)
Nov. 12    at Bradley (KOIL)
Nov. 19    at Drake (KOIL)
Nov. 24-26  at MVC Tournament (KOIL)

Creighton Ticket Information
Tickets to Creighton’s home regular-season matches can be purchased at the Creighton Ticket Office located inside the Ryan Athletic Center (19th and Webster) as well as all Ticketmaster outlets.
    Cost is $8 for adults and $5 for youth (ages 3-18) for reserved seats and $7 (adult) and $4 (youth) for general admission seating. Children two and under are admitted free. 
    Creighton sold a school-record 890 season tickets for volleyball this year. Single-match tickets went on sale Aug. 29th.

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