OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton has signed two prep volleyball players to a letter-of-intent, head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth announced today. Melanie Jereb and Lauren Smith will join the Bluejays next fall and have four years of eligibility remaining.
“Both Melanie and Lauren come from great club and high school programs and know how to win,” said Booth. “They are very good players now with huge upside that excites us as coaches. Both women have high character, excel academically and have outstanding work ethic. We’re thrilled to add them to the Creighton Volleyball culture.”
Melanie Jereb is a 6-foot-2 outside hitter from Cary, Ill., where she attends Cary-Grove High School. Jereb had 122 kills, 37 blocks, 40 aces and 177 digs as a junior, when she helped the Trojans to a 41-1 record and a six-week run as the nation’s top team. Coached by Patty Langanis, Jereb earned honorable-mention Northwest Herald All-Area accolades as both a junior and senior and this fall has also been named All-Conference and to the Illinois All-Star Team. Jereb was also part of the Sky High club team that won the AAU Junior National Championship in the summer of both 2010 and 2011. This season her team is 36-4 and headed back to the semifinal round state tournament, which will be held Friday at Redbird Arena on the campus of Illinois State University.
Lauren Smith is a 6-foot-4 middle blocker from Lincoln, Neb., where she plays for Pius X. Smith had more than 200 kills as a sophomore, and had 421 kills and 66 blocks while hitting .415 as a junior for the Thunderbolts, which finished 28-12 and fourth in state. She was named first-team all-State in Class B as a junior and third-team in all divisions by the Omaha World-Herald after ranking eighth in Class B in kills and fourth in hitting percentage. This year’s team is 35-3 entering the state tournament, which begins Thursday in Grand Island. Smith is hitting .421 and owns 272 kills this fall (2.92 kps.), while also adding 59 blocks (0.63 bps.). Like Jereb, Smith also experienced great success on the club scene, as her Nebraska Juniors club team won the open division at the USAVolleyball junior national tournament in July of 2010. Jake Moore is her coach at Pius X. Smith is also a standout swimmer at Pius X and has qualified for state the past two years. She will be just the second Lincoln native to play at Creighton since the program’s 1994 reinstatement, joining fellow Pius X product Shelly Kapler (1996-99).
Creighton, currently 16-11 and third in the Missouri Valley Conference with an 11-4 league mark, visits No. 12 Northern Iowa on Friday night at 6 pm.