The No. 14 Creighton Volleyball team had a pair of individuals honored by the BIG EAST Conference following a 3-0 weekend in Dallas at the SMU DoubleTree Classic. Megan Ballenger was named the BIG EAST’s Offensive Player of the Week, while Naomi Hickman was recognized as the BIG EAST’s Defensive Player of the Week.
A junior from Ankeny, Iowa, Ballenger was named MVP of the SMU DoubleTree Classic after helping Creighton to three sweeps. She averaged 3.89 points, 3.44 kills and 0.78 blocks per set while hitting .529. Ballenger opened her week with eight kills and three blocks on .583 hitting in a win over Arkansas State, then followed it with seven kills on .375 hitting in a win over North Carolina State. She closed out the tournament with four blocks, hitting .609 and tying her career-high with 16 kills, in a 3-0 win over tournament host SMU.
Hickman averaged 1.78 blocks per set during a dominant week at the net. The sophomore from Lawrence, Kan., opened the tournament with five kills in 10 errorless swings and tied her career-high with six blocks against Arkansas State. Hours later, she broke her personal best with seven blocks against North Carolina State. In the tournament finale, Hickman had three blocks, three kills and a dig. One of her blocks came to fight off a set point opportunity for SMU in the first set. In addition to her blocking prowess, Hickman also added 10 kills, two aces, one dig and one assist during the week.
It marked the first time since 2006 that Creighton swept three all three matches in the same tournament en route to the title.
The recognitions marked the first BIG EAST honors of Hickman’s career, while Ballenger was previously a three-time BIG EAST Freshman of the Week in 2016.
Creighton (4-2) hosts No. 7 Nebraska (4-1) at 7 p.m. on Thursday at CHI Health Center Omaha before hosting the Bluejay Invitational this weekend at D.J. Sokol Arena. Creighton meets Iowa State (5-2) on Friday at 6 p.m., prior to taking on Wichita State (4-2) at 2 p.m. on Sunday.