A non-conference match at CenturyLink Center Omaha against defending national champion Nebraska highlights the 2018 Creighton Volleyball schedule, announced Tuesday by head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
Creighton hosts Nebraska on Thursday, Sept. 6, in a 7 p.m. match at CenturyLink Center Omaha. It will be CU’s fifth match ever at the facility, and its first since 2015. The Bluejays have played in front of an average of 10,840 fans in the previous four matches at the venue.
The Huskers and Jays last met in Lincoln on Sept. 17, 2016 as part of the Ameritas Players Challenge. Nebraska won 3-1.
The match against Nebraska is part of a non-conference gauntlet for the Jays, who will play 11-of-12 non-conference matches against teams to win 21 or more games last year, with 9-of-12 advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
“We feel like we’ve got a team that has a lot of talent, so we are trying to put as many great teams on the opposite side of the court as we can,” Booth said. “We’ve got players that come to Creighton because they want to play a really aggressive non-conference schedule and we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Creighton fans will have two chances to watch the Bluejays before the regular-season gets underway. The annual Blue-White exhibition match is on August 11, and there’ll be an exhibition match against Kansas State on August 17.
The Bluejays open the regular season in Los Angeles, Calif., on Aug. 24-25 at the USC Radisson Classic, as a four-year round-robin tournament with Kentucky, USC and Northern Iowa is renewed.
CU opens with defending SEC champion Kentucky before meeting Northern Iowa later on the opening day of the season. Both Kentucky and USC reached the Elite Eight last season, while UNI played in reached the Second Round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
The Bluejays head to Dallas on Labor Day weekend for the SMU DoubleTree Classic. Creighton takes on Arkansas State and NC State on Friday, Aug. 31, before meeting host SMU on Sept. 1. All three teams won 21 matches in 2017, with NC State advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
On Sept. 7, Creighton opens the Bluejay Invitational. The 14th edition of the event will see the Bluejays host Iowa State on Sept. 7 and Wichita State on Sept. 9, with the Cyclones and Shockers meeting on Sept. 8.
Both teams reached the Second Round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
Creighton closes out non-conference action on Sept. 14-15 at the Illini Classic as part of a field that includes Lipscomb, Northern Iowa and Illinois. Illinois reached the Regional semifinals last season, while Lipscomb was 16-13. The contest against Northern Iowa will mark the first time CU faces the same team twice in pre-conference play since Texas A&M in 2011.
Creighton begins defense of its four straight BIG EAST regular-season titles on Sept. 21 with a home match against DePaul, and then Marquette two days later in a rematch of the 2017 BIG EAST Championship match.
Creighton has won 27 straight BIG EAST matches at D.J. Sokol Arena.
CU hits the road four of the next six weekends in league play before closing the season with four straight home matches, including Nov. 16 and 17 home matches against Providence.
The BIG EAST Championship returns to Omaha this year for the first time since 2015 on Nov. 23-24.
“We’re real excited at what our fans are going to get to see this year at home,” Booth said. “Nebraska’s going play us at CenturyLink Center Omaha, and we hope that can be the largest-attended match of the season besides the Final Four. Add to that Wichita State and Iowa State, plus we’re thrilled to return as host of the BIG EAST Tournament.”
The NCAA Tournament begins Nov. 29 and concludes on Dec. 13 & 15 with the Final Four in Minneapolis, Minn.
Creighton finished the 2017 season with a 26-7 record, capturing its fourth straight BIG EAST regular-season and tournament titles.
The Bluejays reached a sixth straight NCAA Tournament, hosting for the first time and reaching the second round. Creighton returns eight letter-winners in the fall, including All-BIG EAST performers Taryn Kloth, Jaali Winters and Brittany Witt.