No. 9 Creighton volleyball continued its dominance of the Big East so far this season with two wins on the road over No. 19 Marquette and DePaul on back to back days, pushing its win streak to 12 games.
Creighton first took on the difficult task of Marquette on Friday in Milwaukee.
The Jays beat the sole holders of second place in the Big East conference in four sets with scores in favor of the Bluejays being 25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 25-19.
Creighton earned a hitting percentage of .331 over the game compared to the .222 effort from Marquette. The Bluejays also had a better hitting percentage than the Golden Eagles in each individual game, something coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth knew wouldn’t be easy.
“I thought we did really well offensively, [Marquette] is a team that’s leading the Big East significantly in offense. We hit pretty well,” said Booth. “I thought also defensively we did a good things, particularly early in the match.”
Despite Marquette’s offensive success this season, the first set saw the Bluejays hold them to a hitting percentage of just .130 with seven errors.
That defensive performance combined with an efficient offensive attack set the tone for a large part of the game. Even though Creighton was playing well, Marquette hung around in each of the four sets.
Senior outside hitter Jaali Winters led the way for the Bluejays with 25 kills and 19 digs, while senior outside hitter Taryn Kloth added 17 kills, two blocks and an ace. Junior setter Madelyn Cole had 55 assists and two blocks.
The result moved Marquette’s Big East record to 10-2, with both defeats so far coming at the hands of the Jays. It also gives Creighton the tiebreaker if necessary for playoff seeding.
The win moved Creighton's record this season so far against top-25 ranked opponents to 3-3.
Booth said that these types of wins can go a long way down the line for both the Big East and national tournament implications.
“It’s a resume-builder match… It helps in the Big East race. We’re fighting to host, and this is a match that’s going to help our RPI,” said Booth.
Creighton then hit the road again to Chicago to take on DePaul on Saturday night, sweeping the Blue Demons 25-15, 25-13, 25-19.
The Jays came out of the gate strong, hitting .440 and never trailing in the first set of the game.
Creighton turned up the defensive intensity in the second set, reflected in the eight errors recorded from the Blue Demons and -.107 hitting percentage. DePaul recorded only five kills in the set.
No DePaul player reached double-digit kills over the match, and the Bluejays won the overall kills battle 46-28.
Kloth had 14 kills and two aces while Cole added 34 assists and one ace.
Winters completed seven kills and added six digs.
Jaali Winters won Big East Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time this season and the third in her career. Winters averaged .389 hitting over the two road games and moved her all-time kills total to 1,721, good for 12th all time in the Big East.
Per Creighton Athletics, it was Creighton’s 12th straight win against DePaul.
The Jays are now 20-4 overall and 12-0 in the Big East, six wins away from matching their perfect Big East regular season record of 18-0, which they achieved in 2016.
After holding the No. 10 ranking in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll for seven straight weeks, the Bluejays moved up to No. 9 in Monday’s new released rankings.
Creighton has two more road tests this week, first taking on St. John’s in Queens, New York, at 6 p.m. on Friday. St. John’s is still in reaching distance of Creighton in the conference currently with a record of 9-4.
The women then take a short trip to South Orange, New Jersey, to face Seton Hall on Saturday at 6 p.m.