Creighton’s newly crowned Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball team moved up to No. 21 in this week’s AVCA Top 25 Coaches poll, it was announced on Monday. Creighton’s ranking, as well as the 242 points it received, are both the highest marks for the team in program history.
Creighton (26-3, 17-1 MVC) will be the top seed in this week’s MVC Tournament, which begins Thursday. CU’s first match will be Friday at 5 pm against either fourth-seeded Southern Illinois or fifth-seeded Illinois State. Should the Jays advance, the final would be on Saturday at 7 pm.
In this week’s NCAA Volleyball RPI, Creighton comes in at No. 29, up two spots from a week ago. By comparison, Creighton was ranked No. 39 in the second-to-last RPI ranking released during the 2010 season, when Creighton earned an at-large bid.
Statistically, Creighton is ranked fifth in blocks per set (3.05), fifth in winning percentage (.897), 31st in digs per set (17.55), 40th in hitting percentage (.249) and 86th in kills per set (13.37). Individually, sophomore Kelli Browning is fourth in the country in blocks per set (1.68) and is 25th in hitting percentage (.381). Kate Elman ranks 49th with 5.13 digs per set, a figure that ranks fifth-best among the nation’s freshmen.
In addition, Browning was also selected as the MVC’s Defensive Player of the Week after averaging an incredible 2.20 blocks per set while also compiling 2.70 kills per set as Creighton won at Wichita State and Missouri State on the same weekend for the first time ever. She also set Creighton single-season records for total blocks (185) and block assists (170) in a season.
In Friday’s win vs. Wichita State, Browning had 10 kills and 10 blocks. Browning had three kills and three blocks in the fourth set to help extend the match. In the fifth set, Browning had a block assist to save a Wichita State match point as Creighton rallied to win 17-15. On Saturday night, Browning had 17 kills and 12 blocks in a 3-2 win at Missouri State. She had four kills and four blocks in CU’s first set win. Then, after CU trailed 2-1 in the match, Browning had six kills and four blocks in the fourth set, followed by three more fifth set kills. All three of Browning’s kills in the last frame came after the Jays fell behind 8-5 of its eventual 15-13 comeback victory.
Browning’s five matches with 10 or more blocks this fall are the most in one season in school history and tie the career mark.