After a Friday night scare at Butler, No. 10 Creighton Volleyball left no doubt in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Xavier in a match that featured just two lead changes.
The Bluejays scored the first 11 points of the match and never looked back to improve to 12-4 overall and 4-0 in BIG EAST play after a 25-13, 25-13, 25-20 win at Cintas Center. CU is the lone remaining unbeaten team in BIG EAST play in search of its unprecedented fifth straight outright league title.
After the match, Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth was pleased with some improvements over Friday night’s match. “One of the things that we thought we didn’t do our best last night was serving. We talked that even if Xavier punches us we still need to be a great serving team. Jaali’s run at the very beginning set the tone for the entire match, and I thought we served great tonight.”
The match started with Creighton All-American Jaali Winters serving her Bluejays to an 11-0 lead, which included three aces. The 11-0 start to the match ties her for the third-longest serving run to start a match in NCAA history. Winters had five kills in the first set, passing Melissa Walsh to move into second place on Creighton’s all-time kills list, and added six digs to go with her three aces. Creighton hit .273 as a team and held the Musketeers to -.029 hitting. CU owned a 13-6 lead in kills, 22-14 edge in digs and 3-2 advantage in aces while also owning the only two blocks of the opening frame.
After Xavier (4-11, 2-2 BIG EAST) scored the first point of the second set, Creighton answered with the next six points on Samantha Bohnet’s serve. The Bluejays would again lead 11-3 and cruise to a 2-0 lead at the intermission after a second straight 25-13 win. Creighton held Xavier to .000 hitting in the set, collecting six blocks and 18 digs while also serving up three more aces.
Creighton didn’t take its first lead in the third set until 9-8 after a combo block from Megan Ballenger and Madelyn Cole, and would seal the sweep with a 25-20 triumph. Taryn Kloth had five kills and Brittany Witt seven digs in the decisive set.
Creighton owned a 12-1 advantage in blocks for the contest, which pleased Booth. “Another thing we didn’t do great last night was blocking, and I thought we blocked a great match,” noted Booth. “Specifically, it was techniques we’d been working on in practice. It was good to see some progress there.”
Kloth had 13 kills on .324 hitting, and Winters finished with 15 digs, 11 kills and three aces on .435 hitting. Creighton hit .275 and finished with 41 kills, six aces, 59 digs and 12 blocks while managing just two service errors.
Xavier was paced by Audrey Adams, who had eight kills and hit .500. Meredith Klare topped the Muskies with 15 digs. Xavier had 30 kills, 47 digs, three aces, one block and hit .069.
Creighton returns home next weekend to host Seton Hall on Friday at 7 p.m., in the program’s annual Pink Out. The Bluejays also host St. John’s on Sunday at 1 p.m.