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Creighton Volleyball Notes
Nov. 1 5 pm St. John’s at Creighton Omaha, Neb. (D.J. Sokol Arena))
Nov. 3 Noon Seton Hall at Creighton (1180 AM) Omaha, Neb. (D.J. Sokol Arena)
Creighton Volleyball (15-5, 6-2 BIG EAST) welcomes November with a pair of home matches this weekend.
The Bluejays host St. John’s (14-11, 3-6 BIG EAST) on Friday night in a match that has been moved to 5 pm.
On Sunday, Creighton hosts Seton Hall (11-12, 3-6 BIG EAST) in a match that starts at Noon.
Both contests will be held at D.J. Sokol Arena inside the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center (2,500) in Omaha, Neb.
Hoops Fans Get in Free (To Volleyball) Friday
Friday afternoon starting at 4 p.m., Creighton men’s basketball ticket holders can show their MBB-Northern State game ticket at the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center Ticket Office windows and receive two complimentary tickets to Friday’s 5 p.m., Creighton-St. John’s volleyball match at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Pregame Pancake Feed on Sunday
Creighton Volleyball fans are invited to a pregame pancake feed on Sunday at Billy Blues Alumni Grill located on the lower level of the Mike & Josie Harper Center on campus from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., prior to the Bluejays hosting Seton Hall (D.J. Sokol Arena inside the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center, 12:00 p.m., first serve.
Cost of the pancake feed is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 11 and under and $5 for Creighton students with a valid identification.
Friday’s match will not be on radio, but Sunday’s contest will air on KZOT (1180 AM).
Brad Burwell will call the play-by-play, while Erin (Swanson) Russell handles color analyst dutieson Sunday.
Sunday’s match will be availabe by clicking on “Listen Live” on the right side of the page at 1620thezone.com.
Both matches will be video webcast, and include audio from Brad Burwell, Rachel Houseman and Erin (Swanson) Russell. To sign up, visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Video tab on the top menu bar.
A 4-month subscription costs $34.95, while a monthly subscription costs $10.95 per month. Fans can also purchase a 24-hour pass ($4.99) or a 48-hour pass ($5.99) that begins the moment you sign up.
Live Stats Information
Both matches this weekend will have free live stats. Visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Stats tab on the top of the page for the exact link. Fans can also access live stats on their mobile phone by clicking on www.gocreightonstats.com.
Creighton is 15-5 on the year and tied for second in the BIG EAST Conference with a 6-2 league mark. The Bluejays own six wins over NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago (No. 13 BYU, Bowling Green, Northern Colorado, Kansas, Wichita State and Marquette) and are ranked seventh in this week’s RPI rankings.
CU boasts a balanced attack, with six women averaging at least 1.49 kills per set. That group is led by juniors Leah McNary (3.16 kps.) and Kelli Browning (2.38 kps., .333%, 1.39 bps.). Freshmen Lauren Smith (2.25 kps., 1.09 bps., .311%) and Jess Bird (2.17 kps., 2.57 dps.) have made immediate impacts, as well.
Setter Michelle Sicner (10.30 aps., 2.83 dps, 1.49 kps.) directs the offense and recently tied a CU record with eight straight double-doubles.
Creighton averages 13.43 kills, 1.07 aces, 14.93 digs and 2.88 blocks per set while hitting .227 as a team.
Scouting St. John’s
St. John’s enters this weekend with a 14-11 record, including a 3-6 mark in league play. The Red Storm began the season 11-4 but have gone just 3-7 since.
SJU is paced by two of the top attackers in the league in Karin Palgutova (4.46 kps., 2.34 dps., .278%) and Aleksandra Wachowicz (3.84 kps., .266%).
Setter Deniz Mutlugil (10.32 aps., 1.80 dps.) quarterbacks the offense, while libero Shawna-Lei Santos (4.87 dps.) paces the defense.
As a team, St. John’s averages 12.87 kills, 1.36 aces, 13.52 digs and 2.59 blocks per set on .243 hitting.
The Red Storm boast a team with players from eight countries and seven states.
Scouting Seton Hall
Seton Hall is 12-12 on the season, including a 3-6 mark in BIG EAST play. The Pirates has played an astounding nine five-set matches thus far, going 5-4 in the final frame.
Seven women average at least 1.60 kills per set or more, a group paced by Stacey Manthorpe (2.52 kps., 2.80 dps.) and Amanda Hansen (2.45 kps., 1.01 bps., .255%).
Shelbey Manthorpe (8.75 aps, 1.82 kps., 3.20 dps.) is among the BIG EAST’s most versatile players, while Alyssa Warren (5.06 dps.) tops the league in digs per set.
As a team, Seton Hall averages 12.07 kills, 0.61 aces, 16.79 digs and 2.51 blocks per set while hitting .184 overall.
Creighton is coached by Kirsten Bernthal Booth (Truman State, 1997), who owns a 201-123 record in her 11th 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, joined the 100-win club with an Oct. 31, 2008 win at Drake and the 200-win club with a Oct. 18 win vs. Xavier.
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, and named the CaptainU College Coach of the Year in 2012 following another run to the second round of the NCAA’s.
Last 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 29 wins and first-ever MVC regular-season and tournament titles. For her efforts, she was named 2012 MVC Coach of the Year.
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.
The longest-tenured famale coach in school history, Joanne Persico (Syracuse, 1987) owns a 385-251 record in her 20th year at St. John’s. She has led the Red Storm to eight 20-win seasons, three BIG EAST regular-season titles, two NCAA Tournaments and a Sweet 16 berth in 2007. She is assisted by Mario Treibit, Maxim Auguste and Renwick Cefra.
Allison Yaeger (Wright State, 2003) owns a 29-22 mark in her second year at Seton Hall. In her first year as head coach she led the Pirates to 18 wins the program’s most since 2003. She is assisted by Allie Matters.
Series History vs. St. John’s
Creighton has never met St. John’s.
Series History vs. Seton Hall
Creighton has never met Seton Hall.
Last Weekend Summary
Creighton split a pair of road matches, falling at Marquette (3-0) on Friday before beating DePaul (4-1) one day later. Leah McNary led Creighton in kills (24) and hitting percentage (.383) last week.
Creighton begins November play with Friday night’s match vs. St. John’s. Last season Creighton secured conference regular-season and tournament titles while going a perfect 9-0 in the month.
Sweep, Then Swept
Last Friday Creighton was swept for the first time in league play in more than two years when Marquette defeated CU by a 3-0 score.
It was the first 3-0 loss for the Jays in a conference match since a 3-0 loss to Oct. 15, 2011 vs. Northern Iowa.
Additionally, it marked just the second time since CU reinstated volleyball in 1994 that the Bluejays swept and were swept by the same team. The only other time that happened came in 1997 against Indiana State, where CU lost in Terre Haute 3-0 on Oct. 25 but swept the Sycamores 3-0 on Nov. 20 at the MVC Tournament in Normal, Ill.
Top 60 Duo
St. John’s has a pair of players averaging at least 3.80 kills per set, as Karin Palgutova ranks 18th nationally with 4.46 kills per set and Aleksandra Wachowicz is 56th with 3.84 kills per set.
Nationally, St. John’s is one of four teams with multiple players averaging at least 3.80 kills per set, joining Lipscomb, Saint Louis and Arkansas-Little Rock.
All Four One
Creighton hit .372 in its four-set win over DePaul on Saturday afternoon, the third-best mark in program history for a four-set contest.
The only matches the Jays have done better were .418 vs. Evansville on Nov. 2, 1996 and a .380 at Southern Illinois on Oct. 6, 2001.
Creighton has attracted six straight home crowds of 1,000 fans or more, a streak that began Sept. 7 vs. California.
The six consecutive matches over 1,000 fans ties a program record first done from Nov. 21, 2008 - Sept. 19, 2009.
Creighton, which never had a crowd of more than 1,000 until 2005, owns 48 crowds over 1,000 all-time, including a single-season high of 10 in 2009.
Michelle Sicner owned a double-double in eight straight matches from Sept. 21 - Oct. 20, tying a school record set in 2000 by Melissa Walsh. She came up just short of having the record to herself, as she finished with 25 assists and nine digs at Marquette on Oct. 25.
Consecutive Matches, Double-Double
8 Melissa Walsh, Oct. 24-Nov. 17, 2000
8 Michelle Sicner, Sept. 21-Oct. 20, 2013
7 Korie Lebeda, Nov. 4-24, 2006
7 Kailey Reyes, Oct. 23-Nov. 18, 1999
7 Megan Bober, Oct. 26-Nov. 16, 2012
Browning Earns Top Nod
Kelli Browning was named BIG EAST Player of the Week on Oct. 21 after helping Creighton to wins over Xavier and Butler, moving the Bluejays into first place in the BIG EAST standings for the first time. Browning led Creighton by averaging team-bests of 3.22 kills, 1.11 blocks and hit .420 on the weekend.
Browning helped Creighton to a come-from-behind 3-2 win vs. Xavier on Friday night with 14 kills and five blocks on .458 hitting. After CU lost the first set, Browning had five kills in as many swings during the second set. She would later add two kills and two blocks in the fifth set win, including a stuff to give CU a 12-11 lead it would never surrender.
She concluded her weekend with a match-best 15 kills, tying a season-high, and adding a team-best five blocks in a 3-1 win over Butler in which she hit .385.
Browning was also flawless in 14 service attempts after entering the week with just six serves all fall.
A pair of Creighton Volleyball players were honored by the BIG EAST Conference on Oct. 14 after a 2-0 weekend that included victories over DePaul and Marquette.
Michelle Sicner was named the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week, while Jess Bird was named BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Week. It was Sicner’s second BIG EAST honor of the season, joining the recognition she received Sept. 2. It was the first BIG EAST plaudit of Bird’s young career.
Sicner had triple-doubles in both matches to help Creighton to wins over DePaul (3-1) and Marquette (3-0) in the first two BIG EAST home matches in program history, hitting .579 while averaging 10.29 assists, 3.86 digs, 3.43 kills and 0.57 blocks per set. For the week, Sicner led Creighton in assists (72), kills (24), digs (27) and hitting percentage (.579) in seven sets of work.
Bird helped Creighton to a pair of home wins while averaging 2.86 kills, 2.29 digs and 1.00 blocks per set. Bird opened her week with 12 kills, seven digs, five blocks, four assists and two aces in a 3-1 win vs. DePaul in which she hit .333, then had eight kills, nine digs, two blocks and an assist in a 3-0 sweep of league-leading Marquette on Sunday.
Just Plain Sick
In addition to earning top honors from the BIG EAST Conference, Michelle Sicner was also named the Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week on Oct. 15th.
Sicner is the first player in program history to earn the honor from the AVCA.
A Dramatic 200th
Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth enters this weekend with a 202-124 record in her 11th year with the Bluejay program, after picking up her 200th win with a 3-2 triumph over Xavier on Oct. 18.
Booth became the program’s winningest coach in program history in 2007, and picked up her 100th victory on Oct. 31, 2008 vs. Drake.
She has beaten 62 different schools to amass the 202 wins at CU. Booth has never faced St. John’s or Seton Hall.
Booth’s Milestone Wins
W-L Opponent Date
1-1 vs. Auburn 8/30/03
50-43 Jacksonville State 9/1/06
100-71 at Drake 10/31/08
150-108 Drake 9/16/11
200-123 Xavier 10/18/13
Michelle Sicner had near-identical numbers while posting a pair of triple-doubles the last time she faced Marquette and DePaul.
Sicner had 39 assists, 12 digs and 12 kills on Oct. 11 in four sets vs. DePaul, then followed that up with 33 assists, 15 digs and 12 kills on Oct. 13 in a 3-0 sweep of Marquette. In both matches, Sicner had identical hitting lines of 12 kills and one error in 19 swings for a .579 hitting percentage.
Sicner is the second player in Creighton history to post consecutive triple-doubles, as Megan Bober did it three times.
Matches With a Triple-Double, Season
T-D Name Year
9 Megan Bober 2011
6 Megan Bober 2012
2 Michelle Sicner 2013
1 Melissa Weisensee 1994
1 JoDe Cieloha 1995
1 JoDe Cieloha 1996
1 Melissa Weisensee 1997
1 Kailey Reyes 1998
1 Kailey Reyes 1999
1 Kailey Reyes 2000
1 Kailey Reyes 2001
1 Michelle Sicner 2011
Matches With a Triple-Double, Career
T-D Name Years
15 Megan Bober 2009-12
4 Kailey Reyes 1998-2001
3 Michelle Sicner 2011-Pres.
2 Melissa Weisensee 1994-97
2 JoDe Cieloha 1994-97
Avoiding Season Sweeps
Creighton has lost just 13 times since Oct. 16, 2011, and none of those teams have beaten CU twice in that span.
In fact, when facing a team that has beaten the Jays since then, Creighton is a perfect 12-0.
The last time CU lost twice to the same team in the same season came in 2011, when Texas A&M, Missouri State and UNI all did it.
Creighton’s crowd of 2,109 on Oct. 13 vs. Marquette was the eighth-largest in program history, and fifth-largest ever at D.J. Sokol Arena.
In addition, the attendance was the largest home crowd for any BIG EAST Volleyball home match this season.
Below is a list of CU’s 10 largest home crowds ever, with matches at D.J. Sokol Arena in bold.
Largest Home Crowds
Att. Opponent Date CU Result
13,081 #18 Cal Poly 09/02/07 L 0-3
12,112 #1 Nebraska 09/24/06 L 1-3
8,037 #2 Nebraska 10/05/08 L 0-3
2,514 #7 Nebraska 08/31/10 L 0-3
2,325 Northern Iowa 10/05/12 W 3-1
2,285 Texas Tech 08/28/09 W 3-0
2,135 Bradley 10/14/11 W 3-1
2,109 Marquette 10/13/13 W 3-0
1,832 Xavier 10/18/13 W 3-2
1,557 Northern Iowa 11/21/08 W 3-0
After playing just five Sunday home matches in Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s first 10 years at Creighton, the Bluejays have four home tilts on Sunday this season.
Including the near-capacity crowd of 2,109 on Oct. 13, Creighton is now averaging 5,502 fans in seven home matches played on a Sunday under Booth. That list includes five of the top nine home crowds in program history.
Another 45 Record
Creighton’s win vs. Marquette on Oct. 13 was the program’s 45th at D.J. Sokol Arena, its most in any facility in history.
CU is now 47-16 all-time at the five-year old facility, surpassing the 44-26 mark attained at the Omaha Civic Auditorium from 2003-08.
Creighton ranks seventh nationally in the official RPI released by the NCAA on Monday. The six schools ahead of the Bluejays are Texas, Penn State, Florida, Washington, Stanford and Missouri.
Other notable teams behind Creighton include USC (8), Nebraska (10), Minnesota (11) and Marquette (14), Hawai’i (15) and Kansas (16).
One Of The Best
Creighton’s been on quite a run since the start of last season to rank among the nation’s best clubs. Combine a 29-4 campaign in 2012 with this year’s 15-5 start and Creighton is 44-9.
The 44-9 mark gives the Jays a .830 win percentage in that span, 12th-best nationally.
Creighton’s 44 wins in the same span rank tied for 15th nationally.
Best Win Percentages, Since 2012 (thru 10/28/13)
Name W L Pct.
Penn State 51 5 .911
Texas 44 6 .880
Florida 47 7 .870
North Carolina 46 7 .868
Central Arkansas 49 8 .860
Hawai’i 43 7 .860
Western Kentucky 53 9 .855
BYU 45 8 .849
Stanford 45 8 .849
Southern California 48 9 .842
Colorado State 40 8 .833
Creighton 44 9 .830
Most Wins, Since 2012 (thru 10/28/13)
Name W L Pct.
Western Kentucky 53 9 .855
Penn State 51 5 .911
Central Arkansas 49 8 .860
Southern California 48 9 .842
Florida 47 7 .870
VCU 47 11 .810
North Carolina 46 7 .868
Georgia Southern 46 10 .821
Minnesota 46 12 .793
Tulsa 46 14 .767
BYU 45 8 .849
Stanford 45 8 .849
College of Charleston 45 12 .789
Morehead State 45 13 .776
Texas 44 6 .880
Creighton 44 9 .830
Louisville 44 11 .800
Missouri 44 12 .786
Wichita State 44 15 .746
Hawai’i 43 7 .860
Florida State 43 10 .811
American 43 12 .782
Creighton Volleyball finished its non-conference season with a 9-3 record against some of the nation’s best teams. Six of the opponents have been ranked in the top-25 this season.
Not counting their result vs. Creighton, the 12 squads are a combined 170-79 (.683). The teams are also 79-37 (.681) in league play this year.
Strength In Numbers
Creighton finished non-conference play with five victories over teams that reached the 2012 NCAA Tournament. On a national level, Hawai’i and Wisconsin were the only schools more such victories (both six), while Penn State and VCU joined Creighton as the only other schools to claim five such wins.
Jays Fell Out Of Rankings After 10 Polls
After a 10-week run in the AVCA poll dating to Nov. 5, 2012, Creighton fell out of the AVCA Top 25 poll released on Oct. 7th.
The Jays collected 32 points in the voting and are tied for 33rd in the voting and were listed among those “also receiving votes”. On Oct. 14 the team climbed to 30th in the poll with 60 points. Last week the team is 26th with 63 points. This week’s club ranks tied for 31st with 20 points.
Creighton has now received votes in each of the last 21 polls, compared to just one time in 18 years before last season started.
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
12/18/12 172 24th
08/12/13 133 25th
09/02/13 423 19th
09/09/13 180 24th
09/16/13 164 23rd
09/23/13 211 23rd
09/30/13 216 22nd
10/07/13 32 T-33rd
10/14/13 60 30th
10/21/13 63 26th
10/28/13 20 T-31st
Taking The Fifth
One major reason for Creighton’s success in recent seasons has been its play on the road in the fifth set.
Creighton has won five straight road matches to go five sets, including wins last year over Northern Iowa, Wichita State and Missouri State, and wins this year at Denver and Wichita State.
It’s also worth noting that Creighton is 6-0 all-time in home matches at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Additionally, Seton Hall has played in five-set matches this season, sixth-most nationally. The Pirates are 5-4 in those contests.
Let’s take a look at how Creighton’s start in 2013 compares to the last three seasons after 20 matches.
Stat 2013 2012 2011 2010
W-L Thru 20 15-5 17-3 11-9 13-7
Final W-L ? ? ? 29-4 17-14 21-12
Postseason ? ? ? NCAA None NCAA
Tourney Titles 1 3 0 0
Kills/Set 13.43 13.28 12.85 13.16
Hitting % .227 .251 .202 .212
Aces/Set 1.07 1.34 1.28 1.24
Digs/Set 14.93 16.86 17.23 18.29
Blocks/Set 2.88 3.11 2.50 2.47
Sicner Reaches 1,000 Assists
Michelle Sicner became the sixth player in Creighton Volleyball’s modern (since 1994) history to reach 1,000 career assists on Oct. 4 at Butler.
Sicner achieved the milestone in her 72nd career match, and her 267th set overall.
Sicner is the first junior in program history to reach the 1,000-assist career mark. Each of the first five players reached that mark as freshmen or sophomores.
Creighton MB Kelli Browning tied for the national lead with 204 blocks last season, and is picking up where she left off. The preseason BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year entered this week with 1.39 blocks per set, 18th-best nationally, amongst the NCAA stat leaders.
Browning owns 343 career blocks, ninth-most in Creighton history. She set the Creighton record for fewest matches to 300 career blocks against South Dakota on Sept. 21st. That came in her 65th career match, three quicker than the previous mark held by Jessica Houts (68).
Creighton boasts two freshmen who are averaging at least two kills per set, Jess Bird (2.17) and Lauren Smith (2.25).
There have been just three previous seasons where multiple freshmen averaged 2.00 kills per set or more. It’s also happened in 1998 (Melissa Walsh & Erin Swanson), 2004 (Kelly Goc & Carolyn Decker) and 2005 (Amanda Cvejdlik & Jessica Houts).
Those six women listed above combined for eight First-Team all-MVC honors and three additional Second-Team all-MVC accolades in their careers.
Speaking of Freshmen
Lauren Smith is averaging 2.25 kills and 1.09 blocks per set after 20 career matches. Only one player in CU history has finished her freshmen year surpassing both those marks, Jessica Houts.
Houts averaged 2.84 kills and 1.27 blocks per set as a freshman in 2005. After 20 matches, Houts was averaging 2.69 kills and 1.05 blocks per set.
Smith’s Record-Setting Week
Redshirt freshman Lauren Smith etched her name in the Creighton record book in two different matches in mid-September. Smith’s nine blocks vs. Kansas on September 10th tied the Creighton record by a freshman in one match, previously done by Megan Bober on Sept. 4, 2009 vs. Lipscomb.
On September 13 against Cal State Northridge, Smith hit .909 with 10 kills in 11 errorless swings. That ranks as the best hitting percentage in Creighton history by any player with a minimum of 10 swings.
For her efforts, Smith was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week on September 16.
Speaking Of Smith
Lauren Smith is off to a fantastic start to her freshman campaign, with 171 kills and 83 blocks while hitting .311 to date.
Her junior teammate Kelli Browning was named an Honorable-Mention All-American as a sophomore and Preseason BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year as a junior, but Browning recorded season totals of 54 kills and 33 blocks on .197 hitting in 2011 as a freshman.
Higher & Higher
Michelle Sicner’s 51 assists on September 10 vs. Kansas were a career-high for the junior, eight more than her previous best. She recently surpassed that high with 52 helpers at DePaul on Oct. 26.
Last year, while playing on the right-side, Sicner recorded 60 assists total.
Creighton has had seven players earn All-Tournament Team honors at least once this season.
Week one saw Michelle Sicner earn MVP honors and join Kelli Browning and Lauren Smith on the All-Tournament Team at the Hampton Inn Invitational, while Melanie Jereb and Leah McNary earned All-Tourney accolades at the Bluejay Invitational. Sicner and McNary were honored at the Denver Invitational, while Jess Bird and Kate Elman picked up recognition at the Shocker Volleyball Classic.
Use The Fours
Creighton went 13-2 last season in four-set matches. According to numbers crunched by Rich Kern of RichKern.com fame, the 13 four-set wins led the country in 2012, one more than Georgia Southern.
This year’s team is 6-2 in four-set matches.
Have You Heard?
Freshman OH Jess Bird made an immediate impact in her first tournament. Bird had a match-high 14 kills and added 12 digs in Creighton’s 3-1 win over No. 13 BYU on August 30th.
Bird’s 14 kills were the most ever for a player making their Creighton debut, one more than the 13 by JoDe Cieloha in 1994.
Bird’s double-double made her the fourth player in CU history to debut with a double-double, but first with a kill-dig double-dip since Cieloha also did it in 1994. The last CU player with a double-double debut had been setter Korie Lebeda (39 assists, 10 digs) in 2005.
Bird added 10 kills in her second career match, joining Cieloha as the second player in CU history with double-digit kills to start a career. Cieloha did it in eight straight matches to begin her career.
Bird enters this weekend averaging 2.17 kills and 2.57 digs per set. By comparison, Melanie Jereb averaged 2.34 kills and 2.72 digs per set after her first 20 matches as a freshman last year when she would go on to be named first-team All-MVC.
No Ordinary Smith
Redshirt freshman MB Lauren Smith averaged 2.57 kills and 0.71 blocks per set while hitting a league-best .531 at the season-opening Hampton Inn Invitational. As a result, she became the second CU freshman in program history to earn All-Tournament Team honors in her first event as a collegian, joining JoDe Cieloha in 1994.
Smith had nine kills in 14 errorless swings to hit .643 in her debut, a 3-1 win vs. No. 13 BYU. She added four blocks in the win over the highest-ranked team Creighton has ever beaten.
The following morning, Smith once again had nine kills on .444 hitting while adding a block and two digs in a 3-0 sweep at Mid-American Conference favorite Bowling Green.
Smith is the only CU player ever with nine or more kills on .350 or better hitting in each of the first two matches of her career.
Some Fab Freshmen
Including Jess Bird on Aug. 30 vs. BYU, Creighton has started six true freshmen in a season opener in the last four years, and 12 such players since 2000.
Since 2000, the only true freshmen to start CU’s season-opener have been Brittany Coleman (2003), Carolyn Decker (2004), Korie Lebeda (2005), Allie Oelke (2007), Brooke Boggs (2009), Heather Thorson (2009), Julianne Mandolfo (2010), Katie Neisler (2011), Michelle Sicner (2011), Melanie Jereb (2012), Ashley Jansen (2012) and Bird (2013).
Seven of those 11 women (Coleman, Decker, Lebeda, Oelke, Mandolfo, Sicner and Jereb) went on to land a spot on the MVC’s All-Freshman Team.
Home Streak Ends
Creighton Volleyball had its school-record home win streak of 13 straight home wins snapped in a Sept. 7 loss to California.
CU is 19-2 at home the past two seasons, with both setbacks coming during the Bluejay Invitational. Creighton is also now 36-4 in its last 40 home matches against unranked competition.
All four of Creighton’s streaks of six straight home wins or longer have been snapped in the Bluejay Invitational.
Creighton’s Longest Home Win Streaks
Wins Dates Snapped By
13 Sept. 1, 2012 - Sept. 7, 2013 California, 3-0
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
As A Ranked Team
All-time, Creighton is 17-5 when playing as a ranked team in the AVCA poll, including a 16-2 mark versus unranked teams.
Creighton As A Ranked Team All-Time
Date CU Rank Opponent Result
11/09/12 25 Indiana State W 3-0
11/10/12 25 Illinois State W 3-1
11/16/12 23 at Wichita State W 3-2
11/17/12 23 at Missouri State W 3-2
11/23/12 21 vs. Illinois State W 3-1
11/24/12 21 vs. Wichita State W 3-0
11/30/12 21 vs. Marquette W 3-0
12/01/12 21 at #11 Minnesota L 1-3
08/30/13 25 vs. #13 BYU W 3-1
08/31/13 25 at Bowling Green W 3-0
09/06/13 19 Northern Colorado W 3-0
09/07/13 19 South Florida W 3-0
09/07/13 19 California L 0-3
09/10/13 24 Kansas W 3-1
09/13/13 24 vs. Cal St. Northridge W 3-0
09/13/13 24 at Denver W 3-2
09/14/13 24 vs. #11 UCLA L 1-3
09/20/13 23 vs. #7 Hawai’i L 2-3
09/21/13 23 vs. South Dakota W 3-0
09/22/13 23 at Wichita State W 3-2
10/04/13 22 at Butler L 1-3
10/05/13 22 at Xavier W 3-1
Jays vs. Ranked Teams
Creighton’s win over No. 13 BYU on Aug. 30 marked the team’s third win over a ranked foe in the last five seasons. The Jays defeated No. 25 Wichita State in 2009 and No. 16 Iowa State in 2010. The victory over BYU was the highest-ranked team that Creighton has ever beaten.
Creighton is 3-50 all-time against ranked schools (3-34 under Kirsten Bernthal Booth), and 0-18 vs. top-10 clubs. That includes an 0-26 road record, 1-17 at home and 2-7 at neutral sites.
Creighton vs. Ranked Teams All-Time
Date Opponent Result
09/01/98 at #5 Nebraska L 0-3
09/04/98 vs. #19 Texas A&M (@Pacific) L 0-3
09/05/98 at #11 Pacific L 0-3
09/14/99 at #24 Kansas State L 0-3
10/16/99 #19 Northern Iowa L 0-3
09/08/00 at #6 Hawai’i L 0-3
10/03/00 at #1 Nebraska L 0-3
09/08/01 at #24 Santa Clara L 1-3
09/09/01 vs. #13 UC Santa Barbara (at Santa Clara) L 0-3
09/25/01 at #1 Nebraska L 0-3
10/13/01 #16 Northern Iowa L 0-3
11/09/01 at #18 Northern Iowa L 0-3
09/06/02 vs. #13 Pacific (at Columbia, S.C.) L 0-3
09/21/02 at #7 Northern Iowa L 1-3
09/29/02 at #5 Nebraska L 0-3
10/18/02 #10 Northern Iowa L 0-3
10/04/03 at #10 Northern Iowa L 1-3
11/01/03 #12 Northern Iowa L 1-3
10/10/04 vs. #5 Nebraska (North Platte, Neb.) L 0-3
09/06/05 at #24 Kansas State L 0-3
09/10/05 vs. #3 Stanford (Boulder, Colo.) L 0-3
10/11/05 at #1 Nebraska L 0-3
10/29/05 at #25 Wichita State L 1-3
09/24/06 #1 Nebraska L 1-3
08/31/07 at #1 Nebraska L 0-3
09/02/07 #18 Cal Poly L 0-3
09/15/07 at #13 Minnesota L 1-3
11/10/07 at #24 Wichita State L 0-3
08/29/08 #16 Minnesota L 0-3
08/30/08 #21 LSU L 2-3
09/27/08 #14 Wichita State L 1-3
10/05/08 #2 Nebraska L 0-3
10/24/08 at #12 Wichita State L 0-3
08/29/09 #10 Illinois L 0-3
09/01/09 at #6 Nebraska L 0-3
10/02/09 #25 Wichita State W 3-1
11/10/09 #20 Saint Louis L 0-3
11/20/09 at #21 Northern Iowa L 1-3
11/27/09 #20 Northern Iowa L 0-3
09/01/10 #7 Nebraska L 0-3
09/24/10 #16 Northern Iowa L 1-3
10/23/10 at #14 Northern Iowa L 0-3
11/27/10 at #11 Northern Iowa L 1-3
12/03/10 vs. #16 Iowa State (Minneapolis) W 3-2
12/04/10 at #12 Minnesota L 0-3
09/08/11 at #11 Nebraska L 0-3
10/15/11 #12 Northern Iowa L 0-3
11/11/11 at #12 Northern Iowa L 1-3
09/01/12 #21 Kansas State L 0-3
12/01/12 at #11 Minnesota L 1-3
08/30/13 vs. #13 BYU (Bowling Green, Ohio) W 3-1
09/14/13 vs. #11 UCLA (Denver, Colo) L 1-3
09/20/13 vs. #7 Hawai’i (Wichita, Kan.) L 2-3
The Votes Add Up
Creighton had six matches scheduled against teams that received votes in the preseason AVCA Top 25 poll, including five teams in the top-25.
Creighton had matches against teams that were preseason ranked No. 11 (Hawai’i), No. 12 (UCLA), No. 13 (BYU), No. 20 (Kansas) and No. 24 (Wichita State).
Creighton also hosted Cal, which received enough points to finish 37th in the voting.
Among teams in the preseason top-25, Creighton’s five non-conference matches vs. top-25 foes was tied for the national lead with Texas, Hawai’i, Florida State and Western Kentucky.
2-0 Better Than 0-2
Creighton is 188-8 (.959) all-time when leading a match 2-0, including a 130-2 mark under Kirsten Bernthal Booth. They own an 87-4 all-time mark in home matches they lead 2-0 in.
Conversely, the Jays are 7-174 (.039) all-time when trailing a match 0-2, including an 0-59 mark in those home matches. 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
Survival of the Fittest
Creighton has won six matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth after surviving an opponent’s match point. Three of those wins have come against Wichita State.
On the other hand, Creighton is 202-1 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
Taking The Fifth
Creighton is 36-18 in five-set matches under Kirsten Bernthal Booth, including a 3-1 mark this year and an 12-4 home record in five-setters. 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 29-4
2013 3-1 15-5
Total 51-46 295-276
This is the 11th straight season that Creighton Volleyball had at least one product of Omaha Marian High School on the roster, as sophomores Kate Elman and Ashley Jansen are in 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.
2013: Kate Elman, Ashley Jansen
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
Creighton returned 9-of-14 letterwinners to the court from last season. Below is a breakdown of the production that returns:
Stat Returners Departures
Points 1705.5 (77.8%) 487.5 (22.2%)
Kills 1164 (70.1%) 496 (29.9%)
Digs 1468 (68.3%) 680 (31.7%)
Aces 104 (67.5%) 50 (32.5%)
Matches Started 126 (63.6%) 72 (36.4%)
Blocks 237.5 (62.7%) 141.5 (37.3%)
Assists 256 (16.9%) 1260 (83.1%)
Just Do It, Again
Eleven of Creighton’s 29 wins last year came against 2011 NCAA Tournament teams in Ball State, Tulsa, Marquette, Northern Colorado, Missouri State, (twice), Northern Iowa (twice) and Wichita State (three times).
This year’s 14 wins include six triumphs over squads that were in the 2012 NCAA Tournament (BYU, Bowling Green, Northern Colorado, Kansas, Wichita State, Marquette).
Year W-L vs. Previous Season NCAA Teams
TOTAL Under Booth 39-64
BIG EAST Preseason Poll
Creighton was picked to win the BIG EAST Conference in a preseason poll of league coaches.
CU received 63 points in the poll and seven of a possible eight first-place votes. Marquette received the remained votes for first place and was second with 57 points, while Xavier was third with 50 points.
Creighton also led the way with three of the 12 members on the BIG EAST’s preseason all-conference team, a trio that included Kelli Browning, Melanie Jereb and Leah McNary.
Browning was named Co-Preseason Player of the Year, an honor she shared with Marquette setter Elizabeth Koberstein.
This is the first time that Creighton Volleyball has ever been picked to win its league, and the school’s first team picked to win the BIG EAST in any sport.
Radio Broadcast Information
Brad Burwell and former Bluejay volleyball player Erin (Swanson) Russell will broadcast at least nine home matches this season.
The matches will air on KZOT (1180 AM) and KOIL (1290 AM) and be webcast online at www.gocreighton.com as well. The pre-match show typically starts approximately 5-15 minutes before first serve. The post-match show also lasts about 15 minutes and includes post-match interviews.
A complete list of remaining matches follows:
2013 Volleyball Remaining Broadcast Schedule
Nov. 3 Seton Hall (KZOT 1180 AM)
Nov. 22 Georgetown (KOIL 1290 AM)
Set 1 Result = Match Result
Creighton is 170-19 overall under Kirsten Bernthal Booth when it wins set one. In that same time span, CU is just 31-104 under Booth when it drops the first set.
Creighton went 24-1 last season when winning the opening set of a match. The season-ending loss to Minnesota was the first time all season that it lost after leading a match after any completed set.
This year’s team is 15-1 when leading in sets played at any point of a match.
Last Year Summary
Last year’s team finished 29-4 while compiling one of the best seasons from any women’s team in Creighton history. The Bluejays closed their 19-year run in the MVC by winning the program’s first Valley regular-season and Tournament titles.
CU won early-season tournaments at USF and Northern Colorado before clinching the outright league crown with a memorable 3-2 comeback win at rival Wichita State. The Jays would sweep the Shockers eight days later for the Valley Tourney title, and sweep Marquette to open NCAA Tournament play before falling at Minnesota.
Megan Bober was named MVC Player of the Year and Tournament MVP, while Kelli Browning was tabbed MVC Defensive Player of the Year. Both women were named Honorable Mention All-Americans and were joined on the All-MVC First Team by Melanie Jereb.
Kirsten Bernthal Booth was named MVC Coach of the Year and CaptainU National Coach of the Year. Creighton spent four weeks in the AVCA Top 25 for the first time, reaching as high as No. 21 before finishing No. 24.
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