OMAHA, Neb. -- No. 24 Creighton Volleyball avenged a heartbreaking five-set loss at Kansas from a year ago and beat the Jayhawks for the first time in six tries in a closely-contested four-set match on Tuesday night before 1,031 fans at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Scores in favor of Creighton (5-1) were 25-21, 15-25, 25-17, 29-27. The match featured 19 ties, including 13 in the fourth set when Kansas (4-3) survived seven match points before CU finally earned the victory.
Creighton never trailed in a 25-21 win in the first set. The Jays struck quickly to build a 6-1 lead, then held off the visitors after they tied it at 10. CU continued to side out with regularity, and in the end produced a 25-21 victory. Leah McNary had four kills to lead a CU attack that saw five women with multiple terminations, while KU rode the right arm of Caroline Jarmoc's eight kills.
Jarmoc served a 3-0 run to help KU take an 11-7 lead in the second set and never loked back. CU got within 16-13, only to see Papillion native Chelsea Albers return the lead to 19-13. Another 5-0 serving run by Jarmoc ended the second set. Kelli Browning had four kills in the second set for CU, but it was no match for a red-hot Jayhawk offense that hit .650 with 13 kills in 20 errorless swings.
Creighton's nationally-recognized block proved to make the difference in the third set, as CU recorded five blocks en route to taking a 7-2 lead. The Jayhawks rallied to within 13-9, only to see Creighton pull away on a 4-0 serving run from Melanie Jereb. Three straight attack errors from KU closed out the set with Creighton winning, 25-17. KU was unable to sustain its hot offense from set two, hitting -.073 with 10 attack errors compared to seven kills in 41 swings. CU's defense in the third set was led by eight digs from Kate Elman and six from Jereb, while Lauren Smith and McNary both had three blocks.
The fourth set was played at a high level on both sides. KU used a 3-0 run to go up 16-13, only to watch CU answer with three straight to knot the score at 16. With the score tied at 20-all, Creighton scored four straight on Jess Bird's serve to get to match point. KU saved four match points, including three straight blocks, to extend the set. Creighton would go respond with kills by Browning and McNary (twice) to earn additional match points, only to have KU sideout. Finally with the score tied at 27-all, Bird got a kill and CU converted its eighth match point opportunity with a Jereb attack.
Browning had six of her season-high 15 kills in the fourth set, hitting .400 for the match while adding five blocks. McNary had 14 kills and six stuffs, while Smith had the best match of her young career, finishing with career-highs of 10 kills and nine blocks. Michelle Sicner had 51 assists, six digs and six blocks, while Jereb played a solid all-around finish with nine kills and 14 digs. Creighton finished with 59 kills, five aces, 16 blocks and 63 digs while hitting .237.
Kansas was led by 12 kills from All-American Jarmoc, but just four of those came in the last three sets. Albers and Omaha native Sara McClinton each added 11 kills for the visitors, while Brianne Riley had 22 digs and Tayler Soucie a career-high 12 blocks. KU tallied 50 kills, six aces, 64 digs and 18 blocks on .166 hitting.
Creighton returns to action this weekend with three matches in the Denver Invitational, starting with Friday's 11 am Central contest against unbeaten Cal State Northridge (6-0). CU also plays Denver at 8 pm on Friday before concluding with a 1 pm contest on Saturday against No. 11 UCLA.
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