Creighton volleyball extended its perfect Big East record to 10-0 with six wins against six different opponents over the span of the last 19 days.
Senior outside hitter Jaali Winters set a new Creighton volleyball all-time kills record on Oct. 7 against St. John’s, as she surpassed the previous record of 1,622 held by Leah Ratzlaff.
St. John’s tapped the ball over the front line of Creighton and forced a dig from junior setter Madelyn Cole, before junior middle blocker Megan Ballenger assisted Winters in her record-breaking kill.
“It was exciting, I definitely noticed it when everyone kept cheering,” Winters said. “Thank you to Creighton for making it so special for me, it’s just been an awesome day.”
Coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth has seen Winters progress since her freshman season, which was highlighted by six Big East Freshman of the Week awards.
“It’s pretty incredible. That record stood for a long time,” Booth said.
“I’m just real proud of her. She’s a great young woman who’s worked hard every day in the gym to be the best player and person she can be. It’s exciting for her and the team.”
Winters’ record-breaking performance coincided with her second Big East offensive player of the week honor, as she also helped lead Creighton to another 3-0 sweep against Seton Hall earlier that week during the annual Pink Out game.
Per Creighton Athletics, Winters is the only player in league history to earn both the Big East offensive and defensive player of the week award at any point throughout her playing career.
The Jays tried to keep the momentum rolling as they headed out for back-to-back games on the road.
First, Creighton took care of business against Georgetown with a 3-0 sweep on Oct. 12.
The Bluejays found success on offense as they hit above .200 in all three sets while committing only nine total errors compared to 22 by the Hoyas.
The Jays had a quick turnaround as they traveled to Pennsylvania the next day and took down Villanova 3-1.
Cole recorded 45 assists, and Winters earned a double-double thanks to her 11 digs and team-high 16 kills.
The team came back to Omaha for two more games, first challenged by Xavier last Thursday who took the first two sets 25-23, 25-21.
However, they maintained composure and won the next three to pick up the win with 25-17, 25-17 and 15-13 results. Creighton managed to never trail in the final three sets.
The third and fourth set saw the hosts jump out to quick leads and maintain them.
The fifth set was tied at 5-5, but junior defensive specialist Brittany Witt strung together four straight points from the serving spot to build a lead that Creighton wouldn’t surrender.
Most recently, the Bluejays dismissed Butler 3-0 on Saturday by scores of 25-11, 25-15 and 25-8.
Creighton collected a strong .439 hitting percentage, while holding the Bulldogs to just .013 hitting.
The Jays recorded only seven errors compared to 20 by the Bulldogs, and won the aces battle by a whopping 14-1 margin.
Winters had a game-high 13 kills and eight, while Cole earned five aces and 28 assists.
Now riding its third 10-0 league play start in the last four years, Creighton looks to maintain its perfect record as the Jays take on Marquette in Milwaukee on Friday and DePaul on Saturday in Chicago.
The Marquette matchup has big implications, as they remain in striking distance in the Big East standings just one game behind the Jays at 9-1.
The Golden Eagles sole Big East loss came at the hands of Creighton on Sept. 23, as the Jays beat them 3-0 in Omaha. They have yet to lose a game since and are now on eight-game win streak of their own.
They’re currently ranked no. 18 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll.
“Being able to win next week would be huge for us,” Winters said. “Last season we lost at their place and that stung a lot. It’s going to be a dog fight.”