-- The Creighton Volleyball program signed a pair of preps to letters-of-intent on Wednesday, as Jess Bird and Kenzie Crawford signed on the dotted line to become Bluejays next fall. Both women will enter as freshmen and have four years of eligibility remaining.
Bird is a 6-foot outside hitter from the Omaha suburb of Bennington, Neb., who grew up going to Creighton camps and matches. She earned First-Team All-State honors as a junior, whe she had 288 kills and led her team to a 28-5 record and narrowly missed the state tournament. She was also an All-Omaha selection as a junior. Ranked the nation's No. 73 recruit by PrepVolleyball.com, Bird also considered Notre Dame, Northern Iowa, Northwestern, Virginia and Colorado State.
"Jess is really an outstanding player," said Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth
. "The thing that makes her special is she's a phenomenal hitter but she's also an incredible back-row player. She is a package player, a great kid, and she'll really add something to the program."
Crawford is a 5-foot-8 setter from Grand Rapids, Mich., where she attends Northview High School. Crawford will become Creighton's first Michigan native to join the Bluejays since the volleyball program restarted in 1994. She also considered Houston and Coastal Carolina before committing in August. Her club volleyball team, MVA, finished 15th in the open division at the AAU tournament in Orlando, Fla., last summer.
"Kenzie is going to come in as a setter and likely will redshirt next
year. She has all the pieces of what I think makes a setter great, and
we've had some great setters here," noted Booth, a former setter herself. "She's a great athlete with great feet and we
think she's also going to be a great leader. Both these players will fit
in with the culture of our team very well. We've got great chemistry
this year and I know that will just add to our great chemistry next
Booth was quick to note the how the team's facility and recent success had helped in recruiting.
"I think when we got D.J. Sokol Arena four years ago, our recruiting
stepped up another level that provided us the opportunity to get into
additional homes that maybe in the past we couldn't get into. There's no
question we've had added interest, and those kids that maybe in the
past would have headed to a BCS school are giving us a second look
because they realize they can get outstanding academics at Creighton and
get the volleyball experience they're looking for."
Creighton (24-3, 15-1 MVC) is ranked 23rd nationally heading into road matches this weekend at Wichita State (Friday, 7 pm) and Missouri State (Saturday, 7 pm).