Creighton’s 19-match win streak over Southern Illinois came to an end on Friday night in Carbondale, as the host Salukis picked up a 3-1 victory over the Jays.
Scores of SIU’s first win over Creighton (12-3, 3-1 MVC) since October 25, 2002 were 25-21, 16-25, 25-22, 28-26.
Kelli Browning led Creighton with 16 kills and five blocks, hitting a match-best .480 on the evening. She was supported by three teammates with 10 or more kills, Heather Thorson (11), Leah McNary (10) and Melanie Jereb (10). Jereb added a double-double with 12 digs, while Megan Bober topped CU with 49 assists and tied her career-high with four aces. Kate Elman had 20 digs as the Bluejay libero.
The Jays lost despite owning more kills (56-54), aces (6-4), digs (58-53) and blocks (9-4), as well as a better hitting percentage (.223-.201) than the Salukis. Both teams scored exactly 94 points on the evening.
SIU was paced by 16 kills from Alysia Mayes. Jessica Whitehead had 13 kills, while Laura Thole and Taylor Pippen each had 12 kills for the victors. Bailey Yeager owned 20 digs for the Salukis.
Southern Illinois (12-3, 3-2 MVC) won the first set, 25-21. The Salukis recovered from an early 8-4 deficit to tie the score at 9-all. With the score tied at 17, the Salukis got two kills form Thole during a 4-0 run that ultimately proved to be the difference. Thole had four kills while Mayes had seven kills on .700 hitting to pace the hosts. Creighton was led by four kills and .571 hitting from Thorson in the opening frame.
Creighton evened the match in the second set with a 25-16 victory. CU hit .600 in the frame with 17 kills in 25 swings while limiting the Salukis to just 10 putaways. The Jays built an 8-4 lead after consecutive aces by Bober and led the remainder of the set. Jereb led CU with six kills on eight swings in the set.
Southern Illinois took a 2-1 lead in the match by leading nearly the entire third set. The Jays fell behind 12-6 but steadily rallied, eventually tying the score at 18-all on an ace by Bober. The score would subsequently be tied at 19, 20, 21 and 22 before SIU scored the final three points as the Jays had a service error followed by two attack errors. The Jays had nine attack errors in the third set, hitting just .128.
CU would trail much of the fourth set before Browning served a 5-0 run to give her team an 18-16 edge. Creighton held a 24-22 lead and had a pair of set point opportunities that SIU would hold. The Salukis then were turned back on match point chances with a 25-24 and 26-25 lead before eventually closing it out with kills by Whitehead and Thole to end it. Whitehead had five kills in each of the last two sets after owning just three kills at the intermission.
Creighton returns to action on Saturday at 5 pm with a match at Evansville (6-11, 2-3). The Purple Aces defeated Drake on Friday in four sets.