INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Michelle Sicner had a double-double and became the sixth player in Creighton history to surpass 1,000 career assists, but it wasn't enough as the No. 22-ranked Bluejays fell in four sets at Butler on Friday in the program's first match in BIG EAST history.
Scores in favor of Butler were 24-26, 25-20, 25-17, 25-22.
The preseason league favorite, Creighton fell to 9-4 (0-1 BIG EAST) with the loss. Butler (14-3, 1-1 BIG EAST) was picked sixth in the preseason poll conducted by league coaches in August, but returned all six starters from a 17-win team and entered the match with a No. 53 RPI ranking.
In the closely contested first set Creighton would build a 13-7 lead after a 5-1 run, only to see the hosts answer with a 7-1 surge to tie the score at 14-all. The set featured eight ties before Butler took its first lead at 22-21. Creighton handled the pressure with a kill from Melanie Jereb to knot the score and Jereb then dealt consecutive aces to get CU to set point, 24-22. Butler scored the next two points to tie the score for a 11th and final time, only to see CU win the set on a kill by Leah McNary and a BU attack error. CU won the set despite .368 hitting and 19 kills from Butler, led by five kills in as many swings from Erica Stahl.
Butler rode the right arm of Stahl to win the second set, 25-20, to even the match. Stahl had six kills in 10 swings, and during a key 4-0 run had two kills and a stuff to help BU take a 17-12 lead. Butler had 16 kills on .216 hitting in the frame, while CU was limited to .162 hitting. Kelli Browning topped CU with five kills in the second set.
The Bulldogs continued that momentum into the third set, pulling away late for a 25-17 win to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Butler used a 4-0 burst to build a 21-17 lead and would consistently sideout down the stretch. Creighton hit .083 in the set, while BU hit .294 in the third frame.
Creighton fell behind 12-6 early in the fourth set, only to battle back to knot the score at 15-all. With the score deadlocked at 16-16, the host Bulldogs strung together a 5-0 run to build an insurmountable lead. CU held off two match points before BU got a combo block by Morgan Peterson and Stahl to close out the match.
McNary led Creighton with 15 kills on the evening, while Jereb finished with 10 terminations. Sicner led CU with 42 assists, 14 digs and four blocks. Creighton had 49 kills, 54 digs, four aces and eight blocks on .157 hitting.
Stahl paced BU with 13 kills and .500 hitting, while adding five blocks. Stephanie Kranda had 11 kills and Belle Obert and Mary Streidl each added 10 kills. The Bulldogs had 59 kills, 64 digs, one ace and 9.5 blocks on .275 hitting.
Creighton returns to the court on Saturday at 3 pm Central with a match at Xavier (9-6, 2-0 BIG EAST). The Musketeers beat Seton Hall in four sets on Friday night and also picked up a road win at Butler last Friday.
NOTES: Michelle Sicner had her sixth double-double of the fall, and third consecutive ...Sicner is also the first junior to ever surpass 1,000 career assists at Creighton ...Creighton had won 44 straight regular-season matches when winning the first set ...Lizzy Stivers made her first career start ...Creighton was playing its first match since Sept. 22 ...This was the first meeting between the schools ...Creighton had won 13 straight regular-season league matches and 11 straight in October ...Creighton had also won seven straight league-openers ...The match was conducted at Hinkle Fieldhouse, home to the legendary film, "Hoosiers".
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