The Creighton Volleyball team moved into a tie for first place in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 3-1 win over Northern Iowa on Friday night, snapping UNI’s 59-match win streak in league play.
Scores of the match in CU’s favor were 22-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-18.
Creighton improved to 14-3 on the season while dropping UNI to 13-6. Both teams are 5-1 in Valley action, tied atop the MVC standings.
Leah McNary and Melanie Jereb both had 10 kills to lead a balanced Bluejay attack, while UNI was paced by Macy Ubben’s match-best 14 kills.
Northern Iowa won the first set, never trailing in a 25-22 frame that was closer than the score indicated. After UNI bolted to an early 8-4 lead, the Jays had to scratch and claw to keep up with the three-time defending league champions. The Jays would do just that, tying the score at 22-all before UNI snared the final three points to steal the set.
Creighton dominated the Panthers in the second set, winning 25-13. The Jays had seven blocks in the set, including four from Heather Thorson, to even the match. CU held a narrow 8-6 lead beforeMegan Bober served a 7-0 run that included two aces. CU closed out the set on a tandem block fromKelli Browning and McNary.
Creighton came from behind to win the third set. The Jays fell behind 13-11 and called timeout, before a 5-0 run featuring three aces from redshirt freshman Lizzy Stivers. CU wouldn’t trail again the rest of the night. The Panthers would tie the score at 19-all, only to see the Jays score the next three points to go up 22-19 and close out the set with a McNary kill for the 25-22 triumph.
Creighton would never trail in the fourth set, as Browning had a hand in blocks on each of the first two points, as well as another stuff to put CU up 3-2 after UNI’s only tie of the set. The Jays went up 7-3 on Browning’s fourth block of the set. UNI fought back to get within 8-7, but CU gradually extended that margin to 15-10. UNI drew within two points at 18-16, but a kill from Thorson preceded a Katie Neisler ace that gave CU some much-needed cushion. CU won the final four points to take the match, ending the streak on a Michelle Sicner kill. CU hit .333 in the fourth set, led by four kills from Jereb and four blocks by Browning.
CU freshman libero Kate Elman led all players with 25 digs and was joined in double-figures by Bober (14), Neisler (11) and Brooke Boggs (10). Browning led CU’s block parade with seven stuffs, while both Bober and Stivers finished with three aces. CU tallied 50 kills, seven aces, 78 digs and 13 blocks on .236 hitting overall.
UNI was led by Ubben’s 14 kills, while Krista DeGeest (11) and Megan Lehman (10) also had double-digit putaways. Candice Burke had 24 digs, while Amy Braun had 19 digs for the Panthers. UNI had 55 kills, one ace, 82 digs and seven blocks on .136 hitting.
UNI had won 59 straight regular-season MVC matches dating to a 3-0 loss to Creighton at the Omaha Civic Auditorium on Nov. 21, 2008. The Panthers had also won 65 straight matches (including MVC Tournament play) against league foes since the 2008 MVC Tournament final.
Creighton Volleyball returns to action on Saturday night when it hosts Bradley. That contest will begin at 5 pm from D.J. Sokol Arena