Jaali Winters had a double-double with 16 kills and 11 digs to help the 10th-ranked Creighton Volleyball team to a 3-1 win at Villanova on Saturday.
Scores of the match in favor of Creighton (16-4, 8-0 BIG EAST) were 25-19, 20-25, 25-22, 25-17. Villanova fell to 11-10 (4-5 BIG EAST).
“I thought Villanova played a great match. They really put pressure on us from a serving standpoint and I thought they were great defensively,” said Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth. “I felt we responded better to a team punching us against Villanova than we did against Butler two weeks ago. In our demeanor we were more confident and more aggressive like we talked about, and it was good to see how we handled that adversity tonight.”
The teams split the first two sets. Creighton won the opener 25-19 on .290 hitting before Nova answered in the second set to tie the match after taking a 25-20 decision.
Creighton won the pivotal third set, 25-22, after trailing 16-13 midway through the set. A 5-1 run featuring two kills each from Ankeny natives Winters and Megan Ballenger helped CU move ahead, and an ace from Naomi Hickman closed out the set.
The Bluejays then crawled out of a 5-1 hole in the fourth frame, again using a 4-0 run that included two kills each by Ballenger and Winters to move ahead 11-10. The Wildcats never led again. Annika Welty, who started the fourth set, closed out the match with her only two kills and a block to close out the night. Ballenger had five kills in six swings and three blocks in the final frame.
In addition to Winters’ big night, Taryn Kloth had 13 kills and Ballenger added 12 kills on .435 hitting. Madelyn Cole had 45 assists and Brittany Witt (14) and Alexa Roumeliotis (12) also reached double-figures in digs. CU had 54 kills, six aces, 57 digs and six blocks on .250 hitting.
Villanova was led by 18 kills from freshman Clare Delaplane, with all but one coming after the first frame. Regan Lough added a team-best 23 digs. The Wildcats finished with 49 kills, three aces, 55 digs and 5.5 blocks on .196 hitting.
Creighton returns home next week when it hosts Xavier (Thursday, 7 p.m.) and Butler (Saturday, 5 p.m.) at D.J. Sokol Arena.