OMAHA–(CU Athletics Oct. 10)–The No. 19 Creighton volleyball team handed Marquette its first BIG EAST setback of the season and moved into a tie atop the league standings with a 3-1 win over the rival Golden Eagles on Sunday, Oct. 10. The win was the 400th at Creighton on the sidelines for head coach and Lincoln East alum Kirsten Bernthal Booth and assistant coach and former Nebraska volleyball standout Angie Oxley Behrens, who are both in their 19th year with the program.
Scores of the match in Creighton’s favor were 25-20, 28-26, 19-25, 25-16. The Bluejays improved to 17-2 overall while Marquette dropped to 14-3. Both teams are 5-1 in the BIG EAST standings and tied for first place.
Freshman Norah Sis had a career-high 22 kills to go with 14 digs while Jaela Zimmerman added 20 kills with 15 digs. Those two, plus Kendra Wait (53 assists, 13 digs) and Abby Bottomley (19 digs, 10 assists) had double-doubles for a Bluejay squad that hit .316 on the afternoon. Keeley Davis continued her strong play this month with a season-best 13 kills and Naomi Hickman topped CU with four blocks. Creighton had 67 kills, six aces, 75 digs and seven blocks for the day.
Marquette’s Hope Werch had 16 kills and Taylor Wolf turned in a triple-double with 13 kills, 21 digs and 23 assists. The Golden Eagles recorded 56 kills, four aces, 69 digs and five blocks on .252 hitting.
Marquette scored the first three points of Sunday’s showdown, including an ace from Werch, before a Davis kill earned the Jays a sideout. Davis then served up a 9-0 serving run that put Creighton in front for the rest of the set. MU did draw within 21-19 late before consecutive kills by Zimmerman and Davis extended the lead to 23-19. Zimmerman’s fourth kill of the first set gave CU the opener. Creighton hit a robust .452 in the first frame to outscore a Golden Eagles attack that hit a healthy .364.
The second set featured 10 ties, but Creighton never trailed after tying the set early on at 1-1. CU seemed in control with leads of 19-14 and 23-19, only to see Marquette battle back on Carly Skrabak’s serve to knot the score at 23-all. The Bluejays squandered set point chances at 24-23, 25-24 and 26-25 before closing out the game when Sis combined with Hickman for a block on Savannah Rennie, then followed with a kill from Sis for the 28-26 victory. Zimmerman had seven kills and three digs in the game while Sis contributed four kills, six digs and a pair of stuffs. Wait dished 16 assists and added four digs to aid the CU effort.
Marquette avoided the sweep by winning the third set, using a 3-0 run to move ahead 19-15 on Wolf’s serve. Carsen Murray’s solo stuff closed out MU’s 25-19 set three triumph. Werch and Rennie each had four kills and Wolf finished the set with 10 digs, six assists and three kills. CU was led by seven digs by Bottomley and six kills from Sis.
A 7-0 serving run by Wait early in the fourth set pushed Creighton to a 9-1 lead as Marquette coach Ryan Theis used both timeouts to no avail. The Golden Eagles drew within 16-14 after consecutive kills from Jenna Reitsma before CU created more separation with another 3-0 run with Wait at the service line. After the teams traded sideouts, Sis served a 5-0 run to push the Jays to match point, which Zimmerman converted two points later for the 25-16 victory.
The Bluejays return to action next Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Central with its first trip to UConn. The contest will air on FloSports as part of the league’s BIG EAST Digital Network package.