Coming off of an NCAA Tournament bid during the 2014 campaign, the Creighton volleyball team had lofty expectations heading into its 2015 season. But the unanimous preseason favorite to win the Big East had a trying start to its season, as the Jays would stumble out the gates to a 6-7 nonconference record.
From the outside looking in, many would have thought that the Bluejays would be panicking. However, this was part of the process that many of the players knew they would have to go through.
“The coaches purposely planned a very difficult preseason,” freshman outside hitter Taryn Kloth said. “Our coaches are always finding ways to challenge us to be the best team we can be.”
That challenge for the Jays included four nonconference games against teams who were ranked in the preseason Top 25, including a rivalry game played at the CenturyLink Center against current No. 9 Nebraska.
However, the tough scheduling seemed to serve its purpose in preparing the Bluejays for the remainder of their season. Creighton had rattled off 12 consecutive wins before having a setback at Villanova.
“I think it was definitely the non-con that prepared us super well for the Big East,” sophomore defensive special Kenzie Crawford said. “Playing the top teams in the Big East is nothing compared to [the difficult nonconference schedule].”
The Jays now sit alone at the top of the Big East Conference standings. With less than a month of regular season games left, the Creighton players are inching closer to achieving some preseason goals.
Junior outside hitter Jess Bird said that the team has aspirations to win the Big East regular season, Big East Conference Tournament, and eventually reach the NCAA Sweet 16, a feat that no current player on the team has accomplished.
As the season approaches its home stretch, the Bluejays hope they have positioned themselves to achieve all of their goals — and possibly even more.
Creighton volleyball has five games left until the conference tournament, and controls its own destiny to finish as the top team in the conference; however, Villanova is just one game behind in the conference standings.