Fifth Set Magic at Sokol Leads Volleyball Past Shockers

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Megan Bober tied an MVC record with her 7th triple-double of the fall.
Courtesy: Scott Bruhn

OMAHA, Neb. -- The Creighton Volleyball team maintained its hold of second-place with a come-from-behind five-set win over Wichita State on Friday night before 1,493 fans in Omaha. Scores of the match in favor of CU were 19-25, 25-23, 13-25, 25-23, 15-10.

Winners of a season-high five straight matches, Creighton is now 16-10 on the fall and 11-3 in Missouri Valley Conference play. Wichita State dropped to 14-9 on the year and is 8-5 in Valley action.

The victory improved the Jays to 4-0 all-time in five-set matches at D.J. Sokol Arena, and was the second straight year the Jays won a five-setter in Omaha over WSU. Five of Creighton's last seven wins vs. Wichita State under Kirsten Bernthal Booth have now been five-set matches, as she improved to 27-15 in her career in such contests against all foes.

Creighton got contributions from all 11 women to see floor time, as well as a boisterous crowd that only got louder as the match went on. Megan Bober tied an MVC single-season record with her seventh triple-double of the fall, finishing with 10 kills, 27 assists and 18 digs. Also turning in double-doubles were Michelle Sicner (22 assists, 11 digs) and Natalie Hackbarth (10 digs, 10 kills). In addition, Julianne Mandolfo had 30 digs and Brooke Boggs had 10 more. Creighton finished with 62 kills, three aces, 94 digs and eight blocks while hitting .190.

Wichita State got double-doubles from both Camri Zwiesler (17 kills, 10 digs) and Emily Adney (10 kills, 10 digs), while Elizabeth Field tallied 13 kills. Sarah Waldorf had a career-high 38 digs for WSU, one of four Shockers in double-figures defensively. WSU finished with 61 kills, five aces, 90 digs and 11.5 blocks on the night while hitting .209.

Creighton got kills from Leah McNary and Bober to open the fifth set, and would never trail again. WSU rallied back to tie the score at 2-2, 3-3 and 4-4 before CU used a three-point burst to go up 7-4. The Shockers earned two straight points to stem the CU momentum before CU got a kill from Hackbarth to give the Jays an 8-6 lead at the changeover. Creighton followed with kills from Hackbarth and Karisa Almgren to move ahead 10-7, and Hackbarth served up an ace to give CU an 11-7 lead. WSU got within 12-9 and saved one match point before Papillion native Chelsey Feekin checked in for the first time at match point and served it long to give CU the victory.

Creighton had an 11-3 advantage in kills in the fifth set while outdigging WSU 17-12 in the final frame.

Creighton forced a fifth set only after surviving the fourth set. Creighton seemed in control with a lead as large as 20-17 before the Shockers rallied to take a 23-22 lead. Creighton dug in their heels and would not give up, tying the score on kill by Leah McNary. Thorson produced a kill to get the Jays to set point, and CU iced it on a rare Laurel Sanford ace to force the fifth set, CU's first of three aces for the match.

The teams split the first two sets. Wichita State pulled away late in the first with an 8-1 run to close out the set with a 25-19 win. Field had six kills in nine first set swings as WSU owned a 15-7 advantage in kills. Creighton used a 6-0 run with Brooke Boggs serving to go ahead 19-14 in the second set. WSU would claw back to within 24-23 before a kill from Thorson evened the match heading to intermission. Wichita State won the third set in decisive fashion, 25-13, while hitting .345 and holding CU to .000 hitting. Field led WSU with four kills in five swings in the set.

Creighton returns to action on Saturday night with a 6 pm match against Missouri State. Seniors Almgren and Laurel Sanford will be honored before playing in their final home match.

NOTES: Creighton is now 2-9 in matches that it loses the first set. The first set winnner had won 15 of the past 16 meetings between CU and WSU, and 38 of CU's last 39 matches vs. MVC foes ... Creighton improved to 3-7 on TV under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, as the match was televised in Wichita on Kansas 22 and in Omaha on Cox 2. CU's last win on TV had come Nov. 9, 2007 at Missouri State  ... Creighton is now 4-1 in five-set matches this fall, including each of the team's last two wins ... Julianne Mandolfo had 20 or more digs for the 28th time in her career, setting a school-record and moving out of the tie she had held with Bianca Rivera ... Mandolfo's 30 digs were her seventh career match of 30 or more digs, and fifth this fall ... The victory was the 49th career MVC win for seniors Karisa Almgren and Laurel Sanford ... Wichita State has won the third set vs. CU in 22 straight meetings ... Megan Bober became the first player in CU history with at least 3,000 assists (3,011) and 500 kills (543) in her career ... Bober's seven triple-doubles this year tie the MVC single-season record originally set by UNI's Bre Payton in 2009, and are the most in the country this fall ... Creighton entered the match with an RPI of 55, while Wichita State was 44 ... Michelle Sicner's double-double was her sixth, while Natalie Hackbarth's was her second of the fall ... The crowd of 1,493 was the eighth-largest in CU home history, and second-largest of the fall ... The win was Creighton's 250th since its 1994 reinstatement ... Creighton is now 43-43 all-time in five-set matches, including a 27-15 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth and a 4-1 mark this year.

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