For many teams, a sweep over a conference opponent would be considered a successful weekend. However, the Creighton volleyball team is not satisfied, despite dispatching Georgetown in three sets at D.J. Sokol Arena.
Scores in favor of the Jays on Saturday were 25-18, 25-22 and 25-16. Creighton (18-7, 11-1) outhit Georgetown (9-16, 3-9) .337-.206 in the match, and the Jays hit .400 or better in two of the three sets.
“I think all the hitters hit at a high clip tonight,” senior setter Michelle Sicner said. “It was just not as crisp as we want it.”
Creighton recorded 41 kills and 10 blocks. The Bluejays served up seven aces to eight errors. They did not commit a single serve receive or ball handling error.
“Any time you get a sweep at home, it’s a good thing,” coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “I didn’t think we played a great match tonight. I thought a lot of things could have been better. On paper, I think it looks good; we hit at a high clip, but I thought our offense could have been better. Blocking, 10 blocks is good; I thought we missed a lot of blocking opportunities. Seven aces is good, but I thought we missed too many serves.
I’m happy with the outcome; I thought we did some good things; but I thought we needed to play a better match.”
The first set was all tied up at 13 apiece before Creighton went on a 7-2 run to take control. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Smith’s fifth kill of the set closed out the frame and put Creighton ahead 1-0. Smith finished with a team-best 10 kills on the night on 15 swings.
The Jays looked to have a comfortable lead in the second set as they led 21-13, but the Hoyas responded with a 9-2 run to tie it up at 22-22. Freshman middle blocker Marysa Wilkinson stepped up and scored the last three points of the set with a block, a kill and another block, securing a 2-0 Creighton lead at the intermission.
The final set featured three ace serves by junior defensive specialist Ashley Jansen as the Jays cruised to a win. Jansen finished with four aces on the evening, giving her a team-best 21 this season.
Converted outside hitter junior Melanie Jereb continues to settle in at libero and led the Jays with 11 digs, while Sicner finished with a game-high 30 assists. Senior middle blocker Kelli Browning had an off night offensively, but still finished with seven blocks. During the second set, Browning became the second player in school history to surpass 500 career block assists.
Creighton has a 1.5 game lead in the Big East with six games to go before the conference tournament, but even so, the players do not feel like they’re firing on all cylinders.
“By no means have we peaked yet,” Browning said. “I think we’re definitely getting there; I also think we can play a lot better ball.”
Booth said she was surprised by her team’s relatively lackluster performance and expects the players to get things cleaned before the next game.
“We have two really good teams on the road [coming up],” Booth said. “I was surprised that we didn’t play a great match tonight. Again, we beat a solid team, so I don’t mean to be negative about it. We had a great week of practice; I really thought we’d come in a little bit crisper. We’ll get back at it. This team will be ready to go. We’ll be ready for Xavier on Friday.”
After a five-game home stretch, the Bluejays will take their six-game winning streak on the road for four of the last six, starting with Xavier (15-10, 8-5) on Friday and Butler (17-8, 9-4) on Saturday.
“It’s a big weekend for Xavier and Butler because they’re fighting to get into the conference tournament, and we’re fighting to solidify that, but also solidify an at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament,” Booth said. “Both teams have a lot on the line.
“As I told the team, we control our destiny. We’re in a position that if we can win matches that we have coming up, it’s not dependent on other teams … we’re going to have to be ready to go.”
First serve for both games is set for 6 p.m.