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Creighton is back in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years.
Courtesy: Mike Spomer

Volleyball Earns Third NCAA Bid in Four Years

OMAHA, Neb. -- Creighton will return to the NCAA Volleyball Tournament for the third time in four years after picking up an at-large bid in this year's 64-team field, it was announced on Sunday night.

Creighton (22-8, 12-4 BIG EAST) will meet Arkansas (16-13, 9-9 SEC) in a match played at Lawrence, Kansas, on Friday at 4 p.m. (CT).  The winner of the Creighton/Arkansas match will meet the victor of the Wichita State/Kansas match, also in Lawrence.

Creighton tied for second during its inaugural season in the BIG EAST and were runner-up at the BIG EAST Tournament. The Bluejays have been led by First Team All-BIG EAST honorees Kelli Browning (2.42 kps., 1.48 bps., .319%) and Leah McNary (3.04 kps.), while Michelle Sicner (9.97 aps., 1.49 kps., 2.71 dps., 0.94 bps.) was a second-team all-league choice.

Creighton is making its third trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history. The Bluejays earned an at-large bid in 2010, defeating No. 16 Iowa State (3-2) before falling to No. 12 Minnesota (3-0)  in Minneapolis, Minn. Last season Creighton earned an automatic bid and again went 1-1, defeating Marquette (3-0) before falling to No. 11 Minnesota (3-1), again in Minneapolis.

Arkansas closed its regular season with a 16-13 overall record and a 9-9 mark in the SEC.  The Razorbacks dropped three (Missouri, Auburn & Alabama) of their final five matches down the stretch.  Arkansas is anchored by senior setter, Ashley Vazquez, who transferred to the Razorbacks after two seasons at Long Beach State.

This will be the second meeting all-time between the programs, Arkansas took the only other meeting in 2003, 3-0.  Ironically that match also took place in Kansas, in the Hampton Inn/Jayhawk Classic on Sept. 13.

The Bluejays are coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth, who owns a 209-127 record in 11 seasons at Creighton.

First- and second-round matches will be played at 16 campus sites.  Teams winning both matches will move on to regional play December 13 and 14. The pre-determined regional sites are Lexington, Kentucky; Los Angeles, California; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Champaign, Illinois. If Creighton advances to the Round of 16, the Bluejays would play in the Los Angeles Regional.

All regional semifinal games will be shown on ESPN3. Regional final games will air on ESPNU.

The regional winners will advance to the semifinals and final hosted by Washington and at KeyArena in Seattle, Washington, on December 19 and 21. Both national semifinal games as well as the championship game will be broadcast by ESPN2.

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