No. 14 Creighton volleyball started off Big East play with two wins this weekend over Villanova and Georgetown at D.J. Sokol Arena. The Jays have now won 24 straight Big East matches, with their last loss coming in 2017.
The Bluejays started the weekend with a sweep of Villanova on Friday, 25-16, 25-16 and 25-19.
Sophomore outside hitter Jaela Zimmerman continued the momentum from her strong showing in the Creighton Classic by leading the Jays in kills with 13.
Junior outside hitter Erica Kostelac also finished in double digits with 11 kills on an efficient .529 hitting.
A 9-0 advantage in aces helped Creighton separate itself from the Wildcats and maintain control throughout the match. Villanova’s only lead of the night came and went in the third set, a 7-6 score line that lasted for one point.
Creighton then took on Georgetown on Sunday, defeating the Hoyas 25-14, 25-18, 20-25, 25-18.
Despite the victory, Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth was generally unhappy with the way the Jays played, citing a lack of focus and getting away from the game plan that led to errors.
“I was pretty disappointed with the way we played; I think Georgetown gave us that game,” Booth said. “If this was on the road, we would’ve lost this match.”
The Jays racked up 17 errors over the match, their fourth-highest total so far this season. Georgetown finished with 22 errors, just two shy of the highest total Creighton has forced an opponent into this season.
Eight of those errors from the Hoyas came in the first set, where the Jays comfortably won the with help from a 5-0 serving run by junior middle blocker Naomi Hickman.
The Hoyas came out of the gates stronger in the second set, hitting .250 and halving their errors from eight to four.
However, Creighton responded with a stronger showing of its own. The Jays hit .346 in the set to take a 2-0 advantage.
The third set was a different story for Creighton, as Georgetown came out strong and earned a 9-4 lead before Creighton took its first timeout. The Bluejays pulled the game back to a tie at two different times but could never get over a team-high seven committed errors in the set.
The fourth and final set of the night saw the Jays lock down and close out the game. After battling to a tie at 14, Creighton went on an 11-4 run to win the game.
Redshirt freshman outside hitter Keeley Davis scored the last four Jays’ points, bringing her to a team-high 13 kills total.
Despite the strong finish, the Bluejays believed their performance was sloppy from the start and needed to be sharper overall.
“It’s just a mentality, you go out and be aggressive and try to control the game, and I didn’t think we did that well,” said senior middle blocker Megan Ballenger. “We got surprised when they started playing better, and we can’t do that.”
Ballenger finished with 10 kills on .625 hitting, along with an ace and four blocks.
The two wins moved Creighton to 9-3 overall, and a 2-0 start in Big East play this season.
The Bluejays hit the road for two more Big East clashes this weekend, first in Queens against St. John’s on Friday at 6 p.m.
They’ll then take a short trip south to South Orange, N.J. to meet up with Seton Hall at 6 p.m. on Saturday.