Creighton Volleyball at the 2012 MVC Tournament
Springfield, Mo. • Hammons Student Center
Nov. 22 (Quarterfinals)
Match 1 #5 Illinois State (17-11,11-7) vs. #4 Southern Illinois (21-8, 11-7) (ESPN3.com) 5 pm
Match 2 #3 Wichita State (20-8, 13-5) at #6 Missouri State (16-14, 10-8) (ESPN3.com) 7:30 pm
Nov. 23 (Semifinals)
Match 3 Match 1 Winner vs. #1 Creighton (26-3, 17-1) (ESPN3.com) 5 pm
Match 4 Match 2 Winner vs. #2 Northern Iowa (24-8, 15-3) (ESPN3.com) 7:30 pm
Nov. 24 (Championship)
Match 5 Match 3 Winner vs. Match 4 Winner (Fox Sports Midwest) 7 pm
Creighton Volleyball heads to Springfield, Mo., to take part in the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, as Hammons Student Center (8,846) hosts the action.
The six-team event begins on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22) with a pair of matches. Fourth-seeded Southern Illinois (21-8) opens the event with a 5 pm match against fifth-seeded Illinois State (17-11). That match will be followed by third-seeded Wichita State (20-8) taking on sixth-seeded host institution Missouri State (16-14) at 7:30 pm.
Friday’s first semifinal features the Southern Illinois/Illinois State winner against top-seeded Creighton (26-3) at 5 pm, followed by the Wichita State/Missouri State victor taking on second-seeded Northern Iowa (24-8) at 7:30 pm.
Saturday’s title match starts at 7 pm.
Radio Broadcast Information
All of Creighton’s MVC Tournament matches will be broadcast on radio. Brad Burwell and Glen Sisk will call Friday’s action on KOIL (1290 AM) and it will also be streamed on-line via a link at gocreighton.com.
Should Creighton make the final, Saturday’s match would air on KOZN (1620 AM), with Burwell and Sisk again on the call.
Video Webcast Information
Both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of the MVC Tournament will be video webcast at http://www.valley-live.tv, with Greg Halbleib and Linda Dollar on the call. Those matches can also be watched on ESPN3.com.
Saturday’s final will be video webcast on ESPN3.com outside the six-state MVC footprint, so it won’t be available in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana or Missouri.
Live Stats Information
All MVC Tournament matches will have free live stats. Visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Stats tab on the left-hand side of the page for links the exact link to Creighton’s matches. Live stats from Creighton’s matches are also available on your mobile phone by clicking on www.gocreightonstats.com.
Listed below are clearance information, satellite coordinates and on-air talent assignments for the 2012 MVC Volleyball Championship.
Matches played on November 22 through 23 will be cleared live nationally on ESPN3 – ESPN’s web-based platform that has 70 million unique users and an additional 21 million unique users on college campuses and military bases.
WebStream Productions will produce the first two days of the tournament for ESPN3. Satellite coordinates for the ESPN3 telecasts follow:
MVC VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
THURSDAY-FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22-23 – ESPN3
Satellite Coordinates: SES 2 – Transponder K5 – Slot: A
Format: SD 16:9
Bandwidth: 18 Megahertz
Modulation: DVB-S QPSK
Video Compression: 4:2:2
Parameters: FEC ≤
Symbol Rate: 13.235 Ms
Data Rate: 18.295441161 Mbps
Uplink Frequency: 14091 Megahertz Vertical
Downlink Frequency: 11971 Megahertz Horizontal
Announcers: Greg Halbleib, Linda Dollar
The championship telecast on November 24 will be aired live at 7:07 p.m. Central on FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports Indiana and FOX Sports Kansas City (combined 5.9 million homes), ESPN3 (outside the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska), DirecTV (Channel 671), Dish Network (Channel 418) and AT&T U-Verse (Channel 748). The telecast will also be shown at 11:59 p.m. Central on November 24 on FOX College Sports Central (56 million digital homes) and at 7 p.m. Central on November 25 on Comcast SportsNet Chicago (4.9 million homes).
Kansas City-based Niles Media Group – the Missouri Valley Conference’s production company – will televise the match digitally in SD 16:9 format via satellite.
MVC VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
TITLE MATCH -- NOVEMBER 24
Clearances: FOX Sports, FOX College Sports, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, ESPN3
Test Time: 6:30 p.m. Central
On-Air: 7 p.m. Central
First Serve: 7:07 p.m. Central
Satellite Coordinates: AMC 16 – Transponder K16 – Digital Slot A
Band: Digital KU Band
Format: SD 16:9
Video Compression: 4:2:2
Bandwidth: 18 Megahertz
Parameters: FEC ≤
Symbol Rate: 13.235
Data Rate: 18.295
Uplink Frequency: 14311 Megahertz Vertical
Downlink Frequency: 12011 Megahertz Horizontal
Announcers: Greg Halbleib, Linda Dollar
Scouting No. 21 Creighton
Creighton (26-3, 17-1 MVC) has set a school-record with 14 straight wins to earn the program’s first MVC title.
Creighton is ranked for just the third time ever, moving up two spots to a best-ever No. 21 in this week’s AVCA poll.
Creighton’s has won nine matches against NCAA Tournament qualifiers from a year ago (Tulsa, Northern Colorado, Ball State once each, and Wichita State, Missouri State and Northern Iowa twice each), and its only losses have come to Kansas State, Kansas and Southern Illinois.
Two-time First-Team All-MVC pick Megan Bober (9.65 aps., 2.97 dps., 1.86 kps., 0.99 bps., .297%) has four triple-doubles in the last three weeks and is in line for All-America honors for the second time in three seasons. She was the lone Bluejay to earn Preseason All-MVC accolades this fall, has started a Creighton record 124 straight matches, and is the team’s active leader in assists, blocks, digs, kills and aces.
Creighton’s leading attackers have been sophomores Leah McNary (2.93 kps., .231%) and Kelli Browning (2.88 kps., 1.68 bps., .381%). McNary owns 10 or more kills in 14 of CU’s last 21 matches, while Browning tied an MVC record with 15 block assists vs. Tulsa (Sept. 8th) and ranks fourth in the nation in blocking.
Creighton’s freshman class is also making an impact, as Kate Elman (5.13 dps.), Ashley Jansen (1.99 dps.), Melanie Jereb (2.42 kps., 2.78 dps.) and Lizzy Stivers (0.19 saps.) own 72 of the team’s 137 aces thus far.
As a team, Creighton averages 13.37 kills, 1.25 aces, 17.55 digs and 3.05 blocks per set while hitting .249.
This Year vs. Southern Illinois
Creighton and Southern Illinois split two matches this season, with the home team taking a 3-1 decision each time. Kelli Browning led Creighton with 30 kills and 13 blocks on .568 hitting in the two matches. Kate Elman had 38 digs, while Megan Bober paced the team with 87 assists and five aces.
Alysia Mayes paced SIU with 33 kills, while Taylor Pippen hit .419 and had 22 kills. Bailey Yeager topped the Saluki defense with 50 digs.
This Year vs. Illinois State
Creighton defeated Illinois State (3-0) on Oct. 12 in Normal and 3-1 on Nov. 10 in Omaha. Melanie Jereb led Creighton with 23 kills in the two matches, adding 25 digs. Kate Elman dug 45 balls to pace the defense, Kelli Browning had 10 blocks, and Megan Bober dished 69 assists.
Brooklyn Hlafka paced ISU with 22 kills, but also had 17 errors and hit .075 in the two losses. Jenny Menendez led ISU with 49 digs.
Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 184-118 record in her 10th 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.
She was named the 2010 CVU.com National Coach of the Year after leading Creighton to the second round during its first NCAA Tournament appearance.
This season, Booth helped Creighton move into the top-25 for the first time in program history while also leading the team to a program-record 26 wins and first ever MVC title.
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.
Series History vs. Southern Illinois
Creighton is 29-10 all-time vs. Southern Illinois, including a 1-0 mark on a neutral floor. That victory took place at the 2007 MVC Tournament, which also took place in Springfield, Mo. CU’s 29 wins against SIU are one shy of its most against any opponent (Indiana State).
The Bluejays streak of 19 straight wins against SIU, its best run against any team in program history, was snapped on Sept. 28, 2012.
This season is just the second time in 19 years of that the teams split the regular-season series, and first time it’s happened since 1996. Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 20-1 against Southern Illinois and 1-1 against Justin Ingram.
Series History vs. Illinois State
Though Illinois State leads the all-time series with Creighton by a 25-17 margin, it’s been mostly Bluejays of late. The Jays have won 14 of the past 16 meetings in the series since snapping an 11-match losing streak to the ‘Birds in 2006.
Creighton’s five-match win streak in the series came to an end at the 2011 MVC Tournament, when the Redbirds won 3-1 in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The Jays avenged that defeat with a 3-0 sweep in Normal on Oct. 12th, CU’s first sweep in 41 all-time meetings vs. ISU. Creighton also won the rematch in Omaha in four sets, giving CU seven straight home wins over ISU by an identical 3-1 margin. Kirsten Bernthal Booth is 12-9 against Illinois State and 7-2 versus Melissa Myers.
Last Weekend Summary
Creighton closed out the regular-season by going 2-0 on the Wichita State/Missouri State trip for the first time ever. Creighton trailed 0-2 on Friday night in Wichita and would save a match point before rallying for a 16-14 fifth set triumph.
One night later, Creighton trailed 2-1 heading to the fourth set, only to win 15-13 in the fifth set at Missouri State. Leah McNary led Creighton with 34 kills and .337 hitting last weekend, including 23 kills on .448 hitting in the win at MSU. Kelli Browning had kill-block double-doubles in both contests, averaging 2.70 kills and 2.20 blocks per set in teh wins.
MVC Tournament History
Creighton owns a 6-13 all-time record at the MVC Tournament, which includes a 5-9 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
Creighton is 4-9 in neutral site matches, including a 1-2 mark in Springfield, Mo.
This will be the first time that Creighton is the No. 1 seed in the event. Creighton is 0-1 in the event when coming off a quarterfinal round bye.
One reason that Creighton won the MVC was its 4-0 record in five-set matches. Creighton opened league play with a 3-2 win over Missouri State and also won its final three road contests (at Northern Iowa, at Wichita State, at Missouri State) in five sets as well. Creighton is 4-1 in five-set matches this season and 33-17 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth in such contests.
Comebacks of Note
Did you know that the only two teams to rally from an 0-2 deficit to win an MVC Tournament match were Illinois State over Bradley in the 1999 semifinals and Illinois State over Southern Illinois in the 1983 finals.
Since the start of the 1995 format still in use today, set one winners have won 67 of 80 matches, including 10 straight contests. Creighton is 21-0 this year when it wins the first set.
Championship Game W-L Records
13-2 3-7 0-7 1-0 0-1 0-0
Five Sets Favor Recent Upsets?
Each of the last five MVC Tournament matches to go five sets have been won by the lower (worse)-seeded team.
The last time a higher-seeded team won a five-set match at the MVC Tournament was the 2004 championship match.
Creighton is 4-1 in five-set matches this fall, and the Jays have played five-set matches each of their last three contests away from home.
With A Win on Friday...
-Creighton would improve to 27-3 on the fall, improving its school-record win total.
-Creighton would extend its school-record win streak to 15 straight victories.
-Creighton would win its ninth straight match away from home this fall, going to 15-2 overall (10-2 away, 5-0 neutral).
-Creighton would improve to 7-0 in November.
-Creighton would reach the title match of the MVC Tournament for the second time in three seasons.
-Creighton would improve to 7-13 all-time in the MVC Tournament, including a 2-6 mark in the semifinal round.
Finalists Advance To NCAA’s
The Missouri Valley Conference has earned 18 NCAA Tournament bids in the past six seasons. Notably, every team to reach the MVC Tournament final has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in that time.
The top two seeds have both advanced to the finals just twice since 2002 (2005 and 2003), but the last time the top seed beat the second seed in the final was 2001.
Vote For CU
Creighton moved into the national rankings for the first time in program history on Nov. 5th, as moved into the No. 25 spot in the poll.
Last week (Nov. 12), Creighton moved up to 23rd, earning 156 points in the poll.
This week, the team is a best-ever 21st, earning a new best with 242 points in the poll.
Prior to this season, Creighton had only received votes in the AVCA poll once, in the year-end 2010 poll when it got three points after an NCAA Tournament victory.
Creighton has received at least two votes for the top-25 11 times this season, and 12 times overall in school history when you count the 2010 appearance among those “also receiving votes”.
With men’s soccer ranked eighth and men’s basketball ranked No. 12 nationally by the coaches this week, it marks the first year in the history of Creighton Athletics that three different teams are in the top-25 at the same time.
Creighton in the AVCA Poll, All-Time
Date Votes Received Rank
12/21/10 3 36th
08/27/12 2 T-38th
09/10/12 7 T-36th
09/17/12 34 32nd
09/24/12 14 33rd
10/08/12 2 T-37th
10/15/12 22 32nd
10/22/12 35 28th
10/29/12 31 27th
11/05/12 80 25th
11/12/12 156 23rd
11/19/12 242 21st
Creighton Volleyball has won a program record 14 straight matches and is ranked 21st nationally, while the Creighton men’s soccer team entered this week ranked eighth nationally and as the winners of its last 11 matches, including MVC regular-season and tournament titles. Creighton is the nation’s only school to have both its volleyball and men’s soccer teams owning an active win streak of 10 or longer.
This is the first time in MVC history that the school producing the regular-season volleyball champ also won an MVC soccer title (men’s or women’s, regular-season or tournament) in the same fall.
The only four schools to have nationally-ranked teams in men’s soccer, volleyball and men’s basketball this week are Creighton, North Carolina, UCLA and Louisville.
Some Serious Streaks
Creighton owns a 14-match win streak heading into this weekend, while also owning a 11-match home win streak. Through matches of Nov. 18th, here’s where those streaks rank nationally according to RichKern.com.
Longest Active Win Streaks
24 Western Kentucky
22 Jackson State
19 LIU Brooklyn
Longest Active Home Win Streaks
25 Florida State
21 Penn State
21 North Carolina
18 Miami (Fla.)
13 San Diego State
11 Idaho State
Survival of the Fittest
Creighton has won six matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth after surviving an opponent’s match point, including last Friday’s thriller at Wichita State. Three of those wins have come against the Shockers.
On the other hand, Creighton is 182-1 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
08/30/03 vs. McNeese State 13-14, 15-16 18-16
10/10/03 Wichita State 13-14 16-14
10/13/06 at Wichita State 12-14, 13-14, 14-15 17-15
09/11/07 at Drake 13-14, 14-15 17-15
08/26/11 vs. UTSA 12-14, 13-14 16-14
11/16/12 at Wichita State 13-14 16-14
2-0 Better Than 0-2
Creighton is 178-8 (.957) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 120-2 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. They own an 84-4 all-time mark in home matches they lead 2-0 in.
Conversely, the Jays are 7-171 (.039) all-time when trailing a match 0-2, including an 0-58 mark in those home matches. Last Friday’s win at Wichita State was CU’s first such comeback since 2007.
Those seven 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
11/16/12 at Wichita St. 25-16, 25-20, 16-14 Booth
Been There, Done That
Six of Creighton’s last nine wins against Wichita State have been five-set victories. Creighton’s last four wins over Missouri State have required five sets. Last weekend marked the first time the Jays won back-to-back road matches on consecutive days, both in five sets, in program history.
Nine of Creighton’s wins this year have come against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams in Ball State, Tulsa, Northern Colorado, Missouri State, (twice), Wichita State (twice) and Northern Iowa (twice).
The Jays are now 9-1 against NCAA Tournament teams from 2011. That sets a program record for wins against NCAA qualifiers, as the 2008 squad that was 6-8 vs. 2007 NCAA qualifiers.
Year W-L vs. Previous Season NCAA Teams
TOTAL Under Booth 32-59
Against The Best
Entering this year, either Northern Iowa, Missouri State or Wichita State had won each of the past 14 MVC regular-season and Volleyball Tournament titles.
Creighton snapped that regular-season streak, and will look to take care of the tournament streak this weekend.
One reason Creighton broke through is the play of Melanie Jereb and Leah McNary against UNI, MSU and WSU.
McNary had 10 or more kills in all six matches against the Panthers, Bears and Shockers, hitting .287 while averaging 3.46 kills per set.
Jereb also had double-digit kills in all six matches vs. UNI, MSU and WSU, averaging 2.64 kills per set while hitting .236 in six wins.
You can be sure revenge will on the mind of the Bluejay seniors should it match up against Northern Iowa on Saturday. The Panthers ended Creighton’s Valley Tournament run in the finals in 2010, in the semifinals from 2006-09, and in the quarterfinals in 2005.
Creighton and UNI have met in six of the past seven MVC Tournaments, with UNI winning each time. The only exception was last year, when CU was eliminated in the quarterfinals to avoid another match-up with UNI. It remains the only time in Valley Volleyball Tournament history that two schools have met in six straight seasons.
Set 1 Result = Match Result
In its last 163 matches in which it wins set one, Creighton is 146-13. CU is 157-17 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when they win set one. In that same time span, CU is just 27-101 under Booth when it drops the first set.
Creighton is 21-0 this season when winning the opening set of a match.
Late Sets Key
Creighton’s saved its best volleyball all season for late in matches. The Bluejays are an impressive 15-3 in the fourth set this season, and 4-1 in the fifth set of matches. Both are good for 80 percent win rates.
Put It In Neutral
Creighton is 4-0 this season on neutral floors, winning both tournaments it has participated in. The Bluejays beat UCF and Wisconsin to win the USF Invitational in Tampa, then claimed the Northern Colorado Classic title with victories over Ball State and Tulsa.
Block Out A Record? Kelli Browning owns a Creighton record 170 block assists this season, a figure that ranks fifth-most in league history. Sabrina Apker owns the record with 188 in 2004, a record within reach seeing as how Browning recorded 19 block assists in two wins last weekend.
Here’s the complete list
Block Assists, Season, MVC History
Blocks Name, School Year
188 Sabrina Apker, Missouri State 2004
186 Molly O’Brien, Northern Iowa 2001
181 Sabrina Apker, Missouri State 2005
173 Danielle Brazda, Northern Iowa 2006
170 Kelli Browning, Creighton 2012
If Creighton could emerge with an MVC Volleyball Tournament title this weekend, it’d cap off a pretty successful 13 months for the school.
It would make Creighton the reigning Valley tournament champions in men’s soccer, volleyball, baseball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. Both baseball and men’s soccer are two-time defending MVC Tournament champs.
Creighton has won 14 straight matches heading into Friday’s MVC Tournament semifinal. That streak is easily the longest in program history.
Wins Dates Snapped By
14 Sept. 29, 2012-Pres. ? ? ?
8 Oct. 25-Nov. 22, 2008 vs. Northern Iowa, 3-2
7 Sept. 4-Sept. 17, 2004 Illinois State, 3-0
6 Sept. 21-Oct. 6, 2007 Wichita State, 3-0
6 Sept. 1-15, 2012 at Kansas, 3-2
Tough To Beat
Creighton enters this week with a 26-3 record, good for one of the nation’s best winning percentages (.897). The only schools with fewer losses are Penn State, Hawaii and Western Kentucky.
Television Turns Out
Creighton has had three matches on television this year, the most in any season under Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
CU’s Sept. 19 match at Kansas was the first to air, while the second contest was CU’s Sept. 25 win over South Dakota. CU’s Nov. 10 match vs. Illinois State aired on Cox 2 as well.
The Jays are 5-8 in 13 previous appearances on the small screen under Booth.
Creighton Volleyball on Television, Since 2003
Date Opponent TV Coverage W-L
09/23/03 at UMKC Mediacom W 3-1
10/11/05 at #1 Nebraska Time Warner L 0-3
11/09/07 at Missouri State Mediacom W 3-1
11/10/07 at #24 Wichita State Cox Wichita L 0-3
10/05/08 at #2 Nebraska NET/CBSCS L 0-3
10/03/09 Missouri State NET-HD L 0-3
10/23/10 at #14 Northern Iowa Mediacom L 0-3
11/27/10 at #11 Northern Iowa FSN Midwest L 1-3
09/08/11 at #11 Nebraska NET-HD L 0-3
11/03/11 Wichita State Cox/Kansas 22 W 3-2
09/19/12 at Kansas MetroSports/Cox L 2-3
09/25/12 South Dakota Cox 2 W 3-1
11/10/12 Illinois State Cox 2 W 3-1
Some Special Seniors
Creighton honored senior players Megan Bober, Brooke Boggs, Brittany Moon and Heather Thorson, senior manager Brittany Wing, and junior Natalie Hackbarth after its Nov. 10 win vs. Illinois State as part of Senior Day festivities.
Hailing from Murdock, Neb., Bober is a two-time all-MVC pick and will be remembered as one of the all-time greats in Bluejay history. She leads all active players in kills, digs, assists, blocks and aces, and has set a school record with 124 starts. She was named Honorable-Mention All-American as a sophomore and last year honored as Creighton’s top female athlete.
Boggs has played in 120 career matches as a defensive specialist. She owns 910 career digs and 57 aces, and came up big with a career-best 24 digs in a Nov. 3rd win at UNI. Boggs was recently honored with the MVC’s Service & Leadership Award and as an Academic All-District selection.
Moon had missed all of her senior season due to lingering knee issues, but donned the jersey for the first time on Senior Night. She made her first career start, serving the first two points, before being lifted to a standing ovation. She’s played in 22 matches in her career, owning 10 digs and two assists in that time. She was named the squad’s Most Inspirational Player after the 2011 season.
Thorson has played in 112 matches in her career, amassing 662 kills and 326 blocks in her career. The Mead, Neb., native has started CU’s last 80 matches and was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Northern Colorado Classic earlier this fall. She has been named to the MVC Academic Honor Roll after each of the previous three years.
Hackbarth is just a junior, but will graduate in the spring and is not expected to return. She owns 143 kills and 158 digs while serving as an outside hitter the past three years. She was named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week once in 2011, when she started 16 matches, and remains one of the team’s vocal leaders.
Over the last four years, Creighton has gone 78-46, made the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance, set a school record for consecutive wins and wins in a season, and led the way for the school’s first MVC title as well. The quintet has combined for 4,360 assists, 2,287 digs, 1,634 kills, 770 blocks and 153 aces. The women also combine for an average GPA of 3.76.
Records Continue To Fall
There’s a reason it seems as if with every Creighton victory, another record or two goes by the wayside. Among the marks that Creighton is working on is wins in a season (26), consecutive wins (12) and consecutive MVC wins (14).
Creighton is also in the midst of a program-record 11 match win streak at home and closed out its first 9-0 MVC home slate in program history this season.
Swiss Army Knife Megan Bober’s versatility was back on display on Nov. 2-3, as the senior setter had consecutive triple-doubles in wins at Bradley and Northern Iowa. Bober had 45 assists, 12 digs and 11 kills at Bradley on Friday night, then added 47 assists, 14 digs and 10 kills one night later at Northern Iowa.
Bober had her third triple-double in the past four matches on Nov. 10th vs. Illinois State, as she finished with 38 assists, 19 digs and 12 kills in a 3-1 win over Illinois State.
Bober followed that up with her fourth triple-double in five matches on Nov. 16 at Wichita State, finishing with 42 assists, 14 kills and 11 digs.
Bober now owns 15 career triple-doubles, second-most in league history to 2009, 2010 and 2011 MVC Player of the Year Bre Payton (UNI). Payton is also the only other MVC player to own multiple seasons of five or more triple-doubles. Payton finished with 16 career triple-doubles.
Creighton setter Megan Bober is the nation’s only player averaging at least 9.50 assists, 0.90 blocks and 1.75 blocks per set, so it should come as no surprise that she stuffs the stat sheet on a regular basis.
Bober has put together seven double-doubles in her last eight outings, a span that includes four triple-doubles. Bober’s 20 double-doubles this year are one shy of the school record set by Korie Lebeda (2006). Her 15 career triple-doubles are one shy of the MVC record set by UNI’s Bre Payton.
Browning On The Prowl
Arguably the MVC’s most improved player, Kelli Browning set a pair of Creighton single-season records for blocking last weekend. Browning’s 185 total blocks break Ashley Williams’ record of 170 set in 2003, while her 170 block assists are 15 more than the mark set by Jessica Houts in 2009. Browning is also on pace to set Creighton single-season records for blocks per set (1.68) and attack percentage (.381) this fall. Browning had 33 blocks while hitting .197 in 21 matches as a freshman.
Digging Like Crazy
Northern Iowa put senior Brooke Boggs to the test, and the senior from Wildwood, Mo., came through with a career-high effort on Nov. 3rd. Boggs digged a career-best 24 balls in CU’s 3-2 win, seven more than her previous high.
It marked the third time in her career that Boggs has led Creighton in digs during a match.
Boggs was honored on Nov. 5th with the MVC Leadership & Service Award. The award, given to one fall athlete per league school, honors student-athletes in good academic standing who demonstrate good citizenship through good sportsmanship and significant community service.
Boggs owns a 3.911 GPA in Health Administration and Policy, has been a member of the Dean’s List all six semesters in college, and has volunteered in more than a dozen community service activities.
Big Block, No Errors
Creighton has excelled in three areas in 2012, blocking the opposition, finishing with a good hitting percentage, and minimizing its attack errors. Creighton has outblocked its opponent in 28-of-29 matches this season and owned a better hitting percentage in 27-of-29 matches. In addition, Creighton has yet to have more attack errors than an opponent in 29 matches to date.
Creighton had 12 kills and hit .462 the fifth set of its Nov. 3rd win at UNI. It was the first time since Sept. 17, 2011 that the Jays didn’t have an attack error in a set. There have been just eight sets since Kirsten Bernthal Booth took over (of 1,115 sets played to date) that the Jays have not had an attack error.
Creighton also didn’t have any errors (blocking, serving, attacking, ball handling, set) at all in that fifth set, a first since Booth was hired.
Key to Creighton’s success this season is its ability to reduce the amount of errors it has made in all facets of the game.
Creighton has just 447 attack errors in 120 sets this season (4.06), compared to 746 attack errors by its opponents.
When it comes to serve reception, the Jays have been aced just 100 times in 110 sets (0.91).
At the service line, Creighton has just 203 service errors (1.84) and has had more errors than aces in just seven of its past 15 matches.
By comparison, last season’s Bluejay team averaged 5.10 attack errors, 1.14 reception errors and 1.82 service errors per set in a 17-14 season. In those same categories, the 2010 team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament averaged 4.90 attack errors, 0.88 reception errors and 1.94 service errors per set in a 21-12 season.
Record Watch Megan Bober has broken four school records in recent weeks. She now owns the top spot for sets played (466), starts (124) and consecutive starts (124). She’s also played in 78 victories, two more than the previous record held by her predecessor, Korie Lebeda.
Getting Better & Better
Nov. 10th was Creighton’s 300th match Kirsten Bernthal Booth, and it continues to thrive under her direction.
Below is a look at Creighton’s record under Booth in 50-match segments.
Match # W-L Opponent Date Result
50 25-25 Missouri State 10/22/04 L 0-3
100 56-44 So. Illinois 09/16/06 W 3-1
150 88-62 vs. So. Illinois 11/23/07 W 3-1
200 115-85 at Missouri St. 10/30/09 L 0-3
250 143-107 at #11 Nebraska 09/08/11 L 0-3
300 182-118 Illinois State 11/10/12 W 3-1
Triple-Double, No Errors Megan Bober had one of her most remarkable triple-doubles on Oct. 6 vs. Bradley, finishing with 14 kills, 30 assists and 13 digs.
Her 14 kills were the most by a Bluejay setting in a 5-1 system in program history.
Remarkably, she tied a career-high by hitting .636 in the match, as she finished without an error in 22 swings.
Bober’s .636 hitting is tied for eighth-best in CU history for a single-match (minimum 12 kills) and was the best mark ever by a player who recorded a triple-double, eclipsing the .625 by Kailey Reyes at UMKC on Oct. 28, 2001.
It was also the best mark in CU history by any player for a four-set match at the time, since surpassed by Kelli Browning (.684) vs. Southern Illinois on Oct. 27.
Creighton owns just 13 home matches in the last eight years in which it has 90 digs or more, but the Jays have reached that figure in each of Illinois State’s last eight trips to town.
Since 2005, Creighton has averaged 24.00 digs in those 33 sets played in Omaha against Illinois State. At all sites, Creighton has 1,587 digs in 74 sets versus the Redbirds since 2005 (21.45 dps.).
Creighton’s season-high for digs at home has come against Illinois State in five of the last seven seasons, including this year.
Illinois State at Creighton, Previous Eight Years
Date Sets CU Digs ISU Digs
11/10/12 4 90 79
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
94 Wichita State 11/04/11 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
90 Illinois State 11/10/12 W 3-1
Bober Earns Another Megan Bober was honored for the third straight week by the MVC office when the league named her Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 12th.
Bober averaged 9.29 assists, 4.29 digs, 1.29 blocks and 2.57 kills per set while hitting .378 in victories over Indiana State and Illinois State.
Bober has been named MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week four times this season, MVC Player of the Week three times and now MVC Defensive Player of the Week twice this fall.
Seniors Megan Bober and Brooke Boggs have earned a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District VII teams.
Bober, an Exercise Science major with a 3.82 GPA, was a first-team pick for the second time in her career.
Boggs was a second-team selection after being a third-team pick in 2010. She owns a 3.91 GPA in Health Administration & Policy. Boggs also earned the MVC’s Leadership & Service Award on Nov. 5 for her work on the court and in the community.
Bober and Boggs also were named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team in 2012.
Records Go Down
Creighton Volleyball continues to set numerous historical marks at an astounding pace. Creighton’s 11 straight home wins are a program record.
Creighton’s Longest Home Win Streaks
Wins Dates Snapped By
11 Sept. 1, 2012 - Present ? ? ?
8 Sept. 25-Nov. 20, 2010 Northern Illinois, 3-0
7 Oct. 17, 2008-Aug. 28, 2009 #10 Illinois, 3-0
6 Oct. 22, 2005-Sept. 2, 2006 Iowa, 3-2
Creighton also set a program record with 12 home victories.
Most Home Victories, Season
Home Record Year
Creighton also tied the program record for wins in the month of October with seven, previously done in 2004, 2008 and 2010.
Most October Victories, Season
October Record Year
Creighton also completed the program’s third undefeated month ever (7-0), something previously done only in August of 2006 (3-0) and August of 2012 (4-0).
Undefeated Months, CU History
Undefeated Months Month, Year
7-0 October, 2012
6-0 (so far) November, 2012
4-0 August, 2012
3-0 August, 2006
Creighton has also now reached the 20-win milestone for the fourth time in program history. The 2006, 2007 and 2010 teams all won exactly 21 matches.
Matches Won, Season
Year MP W L Pct.
1. 2012 29 26 3 .897
2. 2006 31 21 10 .677
2007 31 21 10 .677
2010 33 21 12 .636
5. 2008 27 18 9 .667
2004 29 18 11 .621
Top Offense and Defense
Creighton ranks first in the MVC in opponent hitting percentage at .143, and also first in overall hitting percentage at .249.
Only four teams have hit .200 or better against Creighton this year, and none have hit better than .232.
CU is on pace to limit the opposition below .200 for the seventh straight campaign.
Defense Getting It Done
Creighton held Drake to -.060 hitting in an Oct. 20th match in Des Moines, the fifth-lowest mark ever by a Bluejay opponent. Creighton won the fifth set 25-11 despite just six Bluejay kills, which tied a season-low for any set.
That was possible thanks in part to forcing the Bulldogs into 17 attack errors in the third set alone. The 17 attack errors in one set tie the mark by a Bluejay opponent previously done by Indiana State on Oct. 14, 2000.
Lowest Opponent Hitting Pct. vs. CU, Match
Pct. Team K E TA Date
-.112 Jacksonville State 18 27 80 09/05/08
-.108 UMKC 19 27 74 09/15/96
-.086 Drake 15 23 93 09/22/06
-.067 Weber State 19 25 90 09/09/11
-.060 Drake 24 31 117 10/20/12
-.044 Montana State 15 19 90 08/25/07
-.024 Indiana State 29 32 125 10/24/09
Most Attack Errors vs. Creighton, Set
KE Team (Set) K TA Pct. Date
17 Indiana State (3) 33 93 .172 10/14/00
17 Drake (3) 7 39 -.256 10/20/12
16 Boise State (2) 12 50 -.080 09/04/99
15 Drake (3) 10 43 -.116 10/21/06
15 Southern Illinois (1) 15 40 .000 11/07/97
MVC Haul Continues
The MVC has honored Megan Bober and Melanie Jereb for their play on Nov. 5th while helping Creighton Volleyball to wins at Bradley and Northern Iowa. Bober is the MVC Player of the Week, while Jereb is the MVC Freshman of the Week. This was the third such honor this season for both women, and Bober’s sixth career MVC Player of the Week honor, fourth-most in league history.
Bober had a pair of triple-doubles and averaged 10.22 assists, 2.89 digs, 2.33 kills, 0.56 blocks and 0.22 aces per set while hitting .321. For the season, Bober remains the nation’s only player to average at least 9.50 assists, 0.90 blocks and 1.50 kills per set.
Jereb had a pair of double-doubles, averaging 3.22 kills and 3.44 digs on .300 hitting last week.
Finally Over .500
Since restarting its program in 1994, Creighton owns a 277-270 record. The Jays won their first match of that 1994 season, then proceeded to lose their next nine matches, and hadn’t been above the overall .500 mark since until winning on October 27th vs. Southern Illinois.
CU’s “low” point came on Nov. 15, 2003, when the Jays lost to drop to 103-169 and fall 66 matches below .500. Since then, Creighton has gone 174-101.
Creighton reached the midpoint of league play with an 8-1 record, the school’s best mark at the turn ever. Five Bluejay teams previously had started 7-2, most recently in the 2010 season that saw the Jays reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Creighton has matched or exceeded its first half Valley record in five of the last six seasons (including this year’s 9-0 mark) during the second half of league play, going 6-3 or better each of those seasons.
Race To Midpoint = Regular Season Champ?
Since the inclusion of women’s sports under the Valley umbrella in 1992, teams that have reached the midpoint of the season with at least a share of first-place have gone on to claim at least a share of the regular-season championship in 19 of 20 seasons (including 2012). The lone exception was the 1996 Drake team that started the season 9-0, finished in second place at 16-2, a game behind Illinois State (17-1).
This year Creighton and UNI were the midpoint leaders at 8-1. The Panthers had been the leader/co-leader at the midpoint 11 previous times, and each time UNI has won the regular-season title. That streak ended this year.
Creighton had never previously been the leader at the midpoint of the league race.
Since 1992, no team has captured the MVC conference race with more than two league losses.
Creighton’s 17-1 start is the best in program history for MVC play, and set the school record for Valley wins in a season. In the last 14 years, 18-of-22 teams to start 8-1 or better in league play have gone on to reach the NCAA Tournament.
In those same 14 seasons, teams that were in first place at the turn reached the NCAA in 15-of-17 scenarios.
Thorson Passes 300 Stuffs
Senior Heather Thorson enters this week with 326 career blocks, becoming the ninth player in school history with 300 or more stuffs.
Thorson has also put together her third consecutive season with 90 or more blocks, something only JoDe Cieloha, Laurel Sanford, Kelly Goc or Sarah Beulke have done previously in Bluejay history.
Bober Seeks Rare Double Megan Bober enters this weekend with 4,218 career assists and 1,079 career digs. She is the fourth player in school history with at least 1,000 digs and 1,000 career assists, joining Kailey Reyes (1,258 digs, 4,207 assists), Melissa Weisensee (1,223d/4,018a) and Korie Lebeda (1,130d/5,281a).
Bober’s career totals of 4,218 assists, 1,079 digs, 799 kills and 407 blocks make her the first player in MVC history with at least 4,000 assists, 1,000 digs, 750 kills and 400 career blocks.
Bober Earns Defensive Honor
Senior setter Megan Bober was named MVC Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 29th, the first time she’s won that award.
Bober averaged 11.57 assists, 4.14 digs, 1.57 blocks and 1.57 kills last week. She had 43 assists and a career-high 19 digs in the Oct. 26 win over Evansville, adding four kills and two blocks. On Oct. 27th, Bober approached the ultra-rare quadruple-double with 38 assists, 10 digs, nine blocks and seven kills on .263 hitting.
History Repeats Itself
Creighton’s 3-1 win over Northern Iowa on Oct. 5 snapped UNI’s remarkable 59-match win streak in MVC play, the second-longest streak in Valley history and 16th longest streak against league opponents in NCAA history.
The Panthers hadn’t lost a regular-season Valley contest since falling to Creighton on Nov. 21, 2008.
Creighton’s win at UNI on Nov. 3rd gave the Jays two wins over the Panthers for the first time in one season ever. It also snapped UNI’s 34-match home win streak in Valley play.
Reversing Another Trend
Creighton’s win on Oct. 5 that snapped UNI’s 59-match regular-season Valley win streak came after the Panthers won the opening set, 25-22.
Before that match, UNI had won its last 74 Valley matches after winning the opening set dating to September 21, 2007. On that magical night, Creighton became the first team to ever overcome an 0-2 deficit in Cedar Falls to beat UNI.
Since the start of 2004, UNI had been 110-1 in regular-season MVC matches when leading a match 1-0 prior to that evening.
Error-Free Volleyball Melanie Jereb combined for 18 kills in 72 swings on Oct. 5-6, and most remarkably, did it without a single attack error.
It was part of Jereb’s remarkable streak of 139 straight attack attempts without an error, ranging from a miscue midway through the first set on Sept. 29 at Evansville until midway through the third set at Illinois State on Oct. 12th.
In her last 19 contests, Jereb owns 187 kills and just 26 attack errors in 668 swings.
Gutting It Out
Creighton is off to a 26-3 start this season, with 10 of those 26 wins being three-set sweeps. Creighton is 10-1 in three-set matches, 12-1 in four-set matches and 4-1 in five-set matches this year.
Creighton’s 3-0 win at Illinois State on Oct. 12 as the first time in 41 meetings that CU swept the Redbirds. It’s 3-0 win at Drake on Oct. 20 was the team’s first sweep in Des Moines since 2003. Creighton put together four straight MVC sweeps for the first time in program history from Oct. 12-26.
Only two freshmen in the Missouri Valley Conference are averaging at least 2.40 kills and 2.40 digs per set, Creighton’s Melanie Jereb (2.42 kps., 2.78 dps.) and Illinois State’s Ashley Rosch (3.10 kps., 2.98 dps.).
A year ago at this time, Jereb and Rosch were prep teammates at Cary-Grove (Ill.) High School, part of a team that was state runner-up and also won the 2010 and 2011 AAU Junior National Championships at the club level.
Sophomore MB Kelli Browning ranks fourth in the nation with 1.68 blocks per set, and continues to do much of her damage away from home.
In 16 matches away from home this season, Browning averages 1.79 blocks per set and CU averages 3.23 blocks per set as a team.
By comparison, in 13 home matches, Browning averages 1.54 blocks per set and CU averages 2.80 blocks per set as a team.
Jays Have Duo Honored
A pair of Creighton players were honored on Oct. 8 with weekly awards from the Missouri Valley Conference for their work in victories over Northern Iowa and Bradley. Megan Bober was named MVC Player of the Week, while Kate Elman was honored as MVC Freshman of the Week.
Bober hit .475 and averaged a triple-double (32.5 assists, 11.0 kills and 13.5 digs) in the two victories. She led the Jays in kills per set (2.75) and assists per set (8.12) while also providing 3.38 digs, 0.75 blocks and 0.38 aces per set. She opened her week with 35 assists, 14 digs, eight kills, three aces and two blocks in CU’s 3-1 win over Northern Iowa, snapping the Panthers’ 59-match win streak in regular-season league play.
Bober closed her weekend with 14 kills, 30 assists and 13 digs for her 11th career triple-double. She also added four block assists and hit .636 in the match, the seventh-best mark in CU history. Bober had 11 kills in 14 swings and seven digs by intermission, earning the triple-double early in the third set. Bober’s 14 kills and 30 assists both led the team in the match.
Elman averaged 5.38 digs, 0.88 assists and 0.38 aces per set as Creighton limited Northern Iowa and Bradley to combined .144 hitting in a pair of four-set victories. Elman had 25 digs and four assists in Creighton’s 3-1 win over Northern Iowa, snapping UNI’s 59-match regular-season win streak in league play. With Elman spearheading the Bluejay defense, CU held UNI to .136 hitting in the match, its second-lowest mark in 44 meetings. One night later, Elman had 18 digs and tied her career-high with three aces in another 3-1 win.
At the time, it was the second MVC Freshman of the Week honor for Elman.
First of Many?
Just a sophomore, MB Kelli Browning has torn up the MVC this year and is quickly approaching several school records for both a single-season and a career.
Browning is currently hitting at a .381 clip this season and a .346 mark for her career. Creighton’s single-season record stands at .368 by Kelly Goc in 2007. Goc also owns the career mark of .296.
Browning’s 1.68 blocks per set this year is also on pace to shatter a Creighton mark for a single-season, easily outpacing the current mark of 1.48 blocks per set by Ashley Williams in 2003.
For those wondering, the last MVC player to average 1.70 blocks per set in a season was Missouri State’s Sabrina Apker in 2004. The only MVC player to finish a year hitting .397 or better was Wichita State’s Elizabeth Meyers, also in 2005.
Sophomore Kelli Browning has had five or more blocks in 22 of CU’s 29 matches this year, including 13 of the past 16. Her recent streak of six straight matches with five or more blocks was tied for the third-longest streak in program history.
Consecutive Matches, 5 or More Blocks
9 Jessica Houts (Oct. 15-Nov. 19, 2005)
7 Laurel Sanford (Oct. 29-Nov. 24, 2011)
6 Melissa Walsh (Sept. 27-Oct. 16, 1998)
6 Jessica Houts (Sept. 1-10, 2006)
6 Kelli Browning (Sept. 25-Oct. 12, 2012)
5 Ashley Williams (Oct. 3-11, 2003)
5 Laurel Sanford (Oct. 16-30, 2009)
Speaking of Streaks... Kate Elman has an impressive streak of her own going on, having recorded 10 or more digs in all 29 matches this season. That is the second-longest streak in Bluejay history.
Consecutive Matches, 10 or More Digs
43 Janeen Piller, Oct. 10, 2003-Nov. 26, 2004
29 Kate Elman, Aug. 24, 2012 - Present
27 Bianca Rivera, Aug. 24-Nov. 9, 2007
23 Julianne Mandolfo, Sept. 9-Nov. 24, 2011
Midway Mark History
Creighton’s 8-1 record halfway through league play gave the team a winning record at the turn for the ninth time in 10 seasons under Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
League Record by Year
Year 1st Half 2nd Half MVC place
1994 2-8 1-9 T-9th
1995 3-7 3-7 T-7th
1996 2-7 3-6 T-6th
1997 6-3 4-5 T-3rd
1998 2-7 3-6 8th
1999 5-4 4-5 5th
2000 5-4 5-4 T-4th
2001 7-2 5-4 4th
2002 1-8 1-8 T-9th
2003 5-4 4-5 T-5th
2004 5-4 5-4 5th
2005 4-5 6-3 5th
2006 7-2 5-4 4th
2007 7-2 7-2 T-2nd
2008 7-2 8-1 2nd
2009 4-5 6-3 T-4th
2010 7-2 6-3 3rd
2011 6-3 6-3 4th
2012 8-1 9-0 1st
Total 93-80 91-82 --
Creighton hosted a near-capacity crowd of 2,325 fans on Oct. 5 against Northern Iowa, boosting CU’s season average to 1,131 home fans per match. The figure marks the second-largest volleyball crowd in D.J. Sokol Arena history, and was the program’s fifth-largest ever.
That ranks 35th-best nationally this season, and Creighton’s best in any season that hasn’t involved a match at CenturyLink Center Omaha.
Jereb Named MVC Freshman of the Week Melanie Jereb was named MVC Freshman of the Week on Oct. 1st after averaging 2.67 kills, 2.92 digs and 1.00 bocks per set while hitting .304 in three matches. During the week, she had 32 kills and just four attack errors in 92 swings.
She opened her week with 15 digs, four kills and two blocks in a 3-1 win over South Dakota. She then had a double-double in her first career MVC road match, hitting .300 while finishing with 10 kills, 12 digs, four blocks and an ace at Southern Illinois.
Jereb closed out her weekend with 18 kills, eight digs, six blocks and an ace on .349 hitting in a 3-1 win at Evansville. Jereb’s 18 kills were a career-high and the most by a Bluejay freshman against an MVC foe since Allie Oelke in 2007.
This was Jereb’s second weekly honor of the season, also winning the same award on Sept. 17th.
Home Sweet Home
Creighton owns a 40-15 (.727) all-time record in D.J. Sokol Arena, which opened in 2009. Seven of those 15 losses have come against ranked teams. The Jays are a perfect 5-0 in five-set matches in the building.
The Jays have been at their best in the facility during MVC play, where CU is 31-5 (.861). Northern Iowa owns three of those wins, while Missouri State can claim the other two. Against the other seven MVC rivals, Creighton is a perfect 28-0 at D.J. Sokol Arena in Valley action.
Let’s Hear It For The Sophomores
Creighton’s sophomore class earned 41 of Creighton’s 56 kills in its Sept. 25th win over South Dakota. Leah McNary had 20 kills, while classmate Kelli Browning chipped in with a career-best 18 kills. In addition, Michelle Sicner had three kills in the victory.
For the season, CU’s sophomores (which also includes Katie Neisler and Savannah Smith) has been responsible for 749 of the team’s 1,471 kills (50.9 percent).
Jack Of All Trades
Watch Megan Bober play and it’s obvious her importance to Creighton. The senior setter and two-time All-Valley pick leads all active Bluejay players in kills (799), assists (4218), aces (81), digs (1079) and blocks (407).
Bober ranks in the top-10 in CU history in assists, digs, aces and blocks.
Top 30 RPI
The latest edition of the NCAA RPI was released on Monday, Nov. 19th. Thanks in part to seven wins over top-65 foes (No. 44 Wichita State (twice), No. 43 Northern Iowa (twice), No. 54 Tulsa and No. 67 Wisconsin), the Jays are 29th in this week’s RPI.
Kansas and Kansas State, the first two teams to beat CU this fall, are sixth and 17th, respectively, while Southern Illinois is No. 86.
CU’s schedule is ranked as the No. 93rd-toughest nationally according to RichKern.com.
Freshman Digging Pipeline
Creighton had two freshmen with 20 or more digs on Sept. 19th, as both Kate Elman (21) and Melanie Jereb (20) reached that plateau at Kansas. Believe it or not, it’s the first time since the program’s 1994 reinstatement that two Bluejay freshmen have had 20 or more digs in the same match.
Let’s take a look at how Creighton’s start in 2012 compares to the past two seasons, as well as the 2006 club.
Stat 2012 2011 2010 2006*
Match W-L 26-3 17-14 21-12 21-10
Set W-L 81-29 61-56 74-50 72-44
Tourney Titles 2 0 0 2
Kills/Set 13.37 12.75 13.52 16.45
Hitting % .249 .203 .214 .195
Aces/Set 1.25 1.13 1.27 1.59
Digs/Set 17.55 17.23 18.94 19.42
Blocks/Set 3.05 2.54 2.36 2.65
*sets played to 30 (instead of current 25)
Creighton’s Megan Bober was one of 30 student-athletes who excel both on and off the court and was announced as an initial candidate for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate volleyball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of candidates follows this release.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Bober did not reach the finalist list of 10.
Freshman Melanie Jereb had double-doubles in wins vs. both Missouri State (15 kills, 10 digs) and Wichita State (14 kills, 12 digs) on Sept. 14-15, making her the league’s only outside hitter to start with two double-doubles in league play in 2012.
The last Creighton freshman to open her Valley career with consecutive double-doubles was Allie Oelke in 2007, who remains the only player in CU history to be named MVC Freshman of the Year.
Jereb A Past MVC Freshman of the Week Melanie Jereb averaged 3.22 kills, 2.44 digs and 0.89 blocks per set while hitting .338 in wins vs. Missouri State (3-2) and Wichita State (3-1) to earn her MVC Freshman of the Week award on Sept. 17th. She also handled 46 serve receptions without an error, 24 of which the Jays converted directly into a kill.
Jereb recorded her first two collegiate double-doubles in the wins, finishing with 15 kills and 10 digs vs. MSU and 14 kills and 12 digs vs. WSU. Jereb’s 15 kills against Missouri State were a career-high, as were her seven blocks. She served the final three points in CU’s opening set victory, and would end up the match-clinching kill in the fifth set as well. Against the Shockers, Jereb had kills on the final three points of a 25-19 set one victory. She would serve a 4-0 run that gave the Jays a 20-16 lead in the third set and help CU to a 2-1 lead in the match.
Air McNary Leah McNary had a (then) career-best 21 kills in the Sept. 15 win over Wichita State, five more than her previous high. She upped that figure to 23 against Missouri State on Nov. 17th in the regular-season finale, finishing with just one error.
McNary had seven matches of 10 or more kills a year ago, and has now done it 18 times already this season.
The sophomore from Florida currently owns 10 or more kills in 14 of CU’s last 21 contests.
McNary’s 21 kills made her the first Bluejay with 20 or more kills since Laurel Sanford had 20 on Nov. 20, 2010 vs. Southern Illinois, and were the most since Alicia Runge had 21 kills at Wichita State on Nov. 5, 2010.
McNary is also the first player since Runge in 2010 with three contests of 20 or more kills in the same season. The last player to do it four times in one year was Kelly Goc in 2007.
Hundred in Hand
Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth owns 184 wins at the helm of the Bluejays. That’s 116 more than the previous record held by Howard Wallace, who went 68-94 as head coach from 1997-2002. Booth surpassed Wallace as the program’s winningest coach on Aug. 25, 2007.
Booth’s win total has come in 10 years and is made even more impressive when you consider the program won 92 games total from 1994-2002.
Working On The Weekend
Picked fourth in the preseason MVC poll, Creighton turned heads with wins over Missouri State (picked second) and Wichita State (picked third) during the first weekend of league play.
It’s just the third time ever that CU has toppled the Bears and Shockers on the same weekend, having also done so in 1997 and in 2010.
This season is also the first time in program history that the Jays have beaten MSU, WSU and UNI in the same campaign. Creighton went 6-0 against that trio this year.
Creighton tied a school-record by recording 21 blocks in its Sept. 8 win over Tulsa. CU’s 38 block assists matched the high previous set on Sept. 4, 2009 vs. Lipscomb, while its 21 total blocks matched the team’s performance on Sept. 19, 2003 vs. Southern Illinois.
In addition, sophomore MB Kelli Browning set a CU record and tied an MVC record with 15 block assists in a single match. Browning is the fourth player in league history with 15 block assists in a single contest.
Browning Honored By MVC
Sophomore Kelli Browning was named MVC Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 10 after a huge weekend in Colorado. A middle blocker from Waukesha, Wis., Browning earned All-Tournament Team honors at the Northern Colorado Classic after hitting .362 and averaging 2.80 kills, 2.60 blocks and 0.30 aces per set in wins over three NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago.
Browning opened her weekend with a then-career-best eight blocks in a 3-0 win over Ball State, adding four kills an ace, and a dig.
In Saturday (Sept. 8) morning’s match vs. Tulsa, Browning had 11 kills on .276 hitting while adding an ace and a dig. She also tied an MVC record with 15 block assists in a match, easily eclipsing her personal best from one day earlier. Nine of her blocks came against All-American Tyler Henderson, the nation’s leader in kills in 2010 who was forced into 15 attack errors in the match.
Browning closed her weekend with 13 kills, three blocks and .571 hitting against Northern Colorado in a sweep that clinched the Northern Colorado Classic title.
In addition to her MVC record 15 blocks vs. Tulsa on Sept. 8, sophomore Kelli Browning also recorded 11 kills for her first career double-double.
Browning then had her second career double-dip on Sept. 14 vs. Missouri State when she had 16 kills and 11 blocks. Browning had her third double-double at Kansas on Sept. 19, finishing with 15 kills and 11 blocks.
Browning finished her freshman season with 54 kills and 33 blocks in 21 matches played, but already owns 317 kills and 185 blocks after 29 matches in 2012.
Browning owns five matches this season with 10 or more blocks, more than any other player in school history for one season.
NCAA Stats Update
The 10th edition of the NCAA Volleyball statistics were released on November 19th, and Creighton is all over those figures.
Creighton is ranked fifth in blocks per set (3.05), fifth in winning percentage (.897), 40th in hitting percentage (.249), 31st in digs per set (17.55) and 86th in kills per set (13.37).
Individually, sophomore Kelli Browning is fourth in the country in blocks per set (1.68) and is 25th in hitting percentage (.381). Kate Elman ranks 49th with 5.13 digs per set, a figure that ranks fifth-best among the nation’s freshmen.
Titles x 2
Creighton won the USF Invitational and the Northern Colorado Classic in non-conference play this fall. This is the second time in school history the Jays have won multiple tournaments in the same season, having also done so in 2006 in the team’s last 10-2 start.
MVC Opener Histories
With its Sept. 14 win vs. Missouri State, Creighton improved to 12-7 all-time in Missouri Valley Conference openers, including seven straight wins and a 9-1 record under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. Only Wichita State (9) has a longer active streak of league-opening victories.
In the 12 seasons (including 2012) that Creighton has won its MVC opener, it has never finished worse than 9-9 in league play and owns a combined .662 (143-73) winning percentage in MVC action.
In the seven years in which Creighton has lost its MVC opener, the Jays have had a losing record five times and own a combined .315 (41-89) winning percentage during league contests.
How Do You Win The MVC? Start 1-0
When conference play started, all 10 Missouri Valley Conference schools harbored dreams of a regular-season league title.
Since the beginning of the Gateway Conference (which later merged to form the Missouri Valley Conference in 1992) in 1983, no school has ever won the regular-season title after dropping its first league match of the season.
Taking it a step further, the 2008 Missouri State team is the only club to win the MVC Tournament after starting 0-1 in league play.
The only teams to win their 2012 MVC opener were Creighton, Illinois State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois and Wichita State.
Home Losses Are Also Devastating
The 2006 Northern Iowa and 2007 Wichita State teams are the only programs in MVC history to lose a home conference match and still win the regular-season title outright in that same season.
It’s also worth noting that 18 of the last 19 (including 2012) regular-season MVC champions finished the year with one regular-season league loss or fewer. The exception was that 2006 UNI team that was 16-2, with both losses coming against Wichita State.
Every team in the MVC except Creighton has already lost at least one MVC home match this fall.
Triple-Double, With A Twist Megan Bober moved into second-place on the MVC’s all-time list when she earned her 11th career triple-double on Oct. 2nd with 14 kills, 30 assists and 13 digs in a win vs. Bradley.
Earlier in the year on Sept. 8th, Bober had 34 assists, 15 digs and 11 blocks vs. Tulsa to become the first Jays player in history to have at least 10 assists and 10 blocks in any match, as Bober’s previous high had been nine blocks.
Besides her six triple-doubles this season, Bober owns eight other matches where she owned a assist-dig double-double and had between seven and nine kills.
Last fall Bober led the nation with nine triple-doubles.
Elman Passes 500 Digs
Freshman libero Kate Elman continues her strong play in the back row, as she reached 100 career digs in just six matches to equal the quickest to that milestone in Bluejay history. Bianca Rivera had 106 digs through six contests during the 2007 campaign.
Elman currently owns 564 digs through 29 matches, good for 5.13 digs per set, and is one of two women in the MVC to have 10 or more digs in every match this season, which also includes Bailey Yeager (Southern Illinois).
Elman’s 29 straight matches with 10 or more digs is the longest such career-opening streak in Bluejay history, passing Rivera’s 27 straight to begin her career in 2007.
Elman went over 200 career digs in her 13th match, which is tied for second-fastest in CU history. Rivera needed just 11 matches, while Nayka Benitez also took 13 contests to get there.
Elman surpassed 300 career digs in her 17th career match, second-quickest in program history. Rivera needed 15 matches to set the record.
Elman surpassed 400 career digs in her 22nd career match, second-quickest in program history behind Rivera’s 20.
Elman surpassed 500 career digs in her 27th career match, second-quickest in program history behind Rivera’s 25.
Rivera reached 600 career digs in her 31st career match.
This is the 10th straight season that Creighton Volleyball has at least one product of Omaha Marian High School on the roster, as freshmen Kate Elman and Ashley Jansen have joined the program.
Interestingly, the Jays had never had a volleyball player from Marian between 1994-2002. Here’s a look at Creighton’s pipeline of players from Marian.
2012: Kate Elman, Ashley Jansen
2011: Julianne Mandolfo
2010: Lisa Greisch, Julianne Mandolfo
2009: Lisa Greisch
2008: Emily Crowley, Korie Lebeda
2007: Korie Lebeda, Katie Mehal
2006: Korie Lebeda, Katie Mehal, Emily Greisch
2005: Korie Lebeda, Katie Mehal
2004: Katie Mehal, Emily Greisch
2003: Emily Greisch
Freshmen Serve It Up
Four of Creighton’s six most common servers are freshmen, so it should come as little surprise that the Jays own 72 of their 137 aces so far from their highly-regarded freshman class consisting of Melanie Jereb, Ashley Jansen, Kate Elman and Lizzy Stivers Elman leads CU with 28 aces.
Title Town Once Again
Creighton made its first trip to the state of Florida a memorable one, winning the USF Invitational with victories over UCF (3-1), USF (3-0) and Wisconsin (3-1) on Aug. 24-25.
The title was the program’s first since winning the Blue Raider Bash in 2006, and school’s eighth tournament title all-time.
The Jays made it two titles in three weeks with the Northern Colorado Classic crown on Sept. 7-8.
It marks the second time in CU history that the Jays have won two tournaments in the same fall, having also done so in 2006.
Creighton continues to lead all MVC teams in blocking, averaging 3.05 stuffs per set. The Jays have three players averaging more than 0.99 blocks per frame (Heather Thorson, Megan Bober and Kelli Browning), the MVC’s only school that can claim that. Creighton has out-blocked foes 335.0 - 166.5 thus far, and been out-blocked in just one match all season (Kansas State).
Browning’s 185 blocks this year are more than the 166.5 blocks against CU all season long, and her 115 blocks in MVC play would rank her ahead of two teams and tied with another.
Preseason MVC Poll
Creighton was picked fourth in a preseason poll of Missouri Valley Conference coaches. Defending regular-season champion Northern Iowa was the unanimous pick to win the league, with Missouri State second and Wichita State third. Creighton is fourth and Illinois State fifth. Rounding out the rest of the league was Southern Illinois, Bradley, Indiana State, Evansville and Drake.
In addition, Megan Bober was named preseason all-MVC. She joins Wichita State’s Emily Adney as the lone players to repeat on last year’s preseason All-Valley list.
Creighton has finished in the spot predicted of them or better in the preseason poll in eight of the past nine years.
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 4th i1
2012 4th 1st #3
Honors Roll In
Creighton had three players honored for their play in the USF Invitational to open the season. Kate Elman was named MVC Freshman of the Week after leading all MVC freshmen by averaging 5.09 digs. Elman also served up three aces and had 14 assists.
Sophomore Michelle Sicner averaged 1.91 kills and 1.45 blocks per set while hitting a healthy .386 in the three victories. She had 10 kills on .643 hitting in the Saturday win vs. USF. Megan Bober was named USF Invitational MVP after averaging 8.73 assists, 3.09 digs, 2.18 kills and 0.64 blocks per set while hitting .408. Bober was also named MVC Player of the Week, MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week and CVU.com National Player of the Week.
New Opportunity at Libero Kate Elman has been the lone libero used by Creighton so far. She’s the first freshman in school history to make her debut wearing the libero jersey.
Since the libero became legal in 2002, the Jays have used multiple liberos in a season just three times (2005, 2006, 2010), and only used 11 different players in that role (Janeen Piller, Molly Lahr, Emily Greisch, Brittany Coleman, Mallory Lahm, Katie Mehal, Sarah Schulze, Bianca Rivera, Nayka Benitez, Julianne Mandolfo, Kate Elman).
Taking The Fifth
Creighton is 33-17 in five-set matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, including a 5-2 mark last year and a 4-1 mark this year. 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 5-2 17-14
2012 4-1 26-3
Total 48-45 277-270
Creighton returns 9-of-14 letterwinners from last season. Below is a breakdown of the production that returns:
Stat Returners Departures
Assists 1287 (92.6%) 103 (7.4%)
Matches Started 142 (76.3%) 44 (23.7%)
Blocks 289 (63.6%) 108 (36.4%)
Kills 987 (66.2%) 505 (33.8%)
Points 1262.0 (65.7%) 659.0 (34.3%)
Aces 86 (65.2%) 46 (34.8%)
Digs 1186 (58.8%) 830 (41.2%)
Creighton Ticket Information
Tickets to Creighton’s home regular-season matches could be purchased at the Creighton Ticket Office located inside the Ryan Athletic Center (19th and Webster) as well as all Ticketmaster outlets.
Cost was $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.
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