The Creighton volleyball team advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history with a victory over No. 23 North Carolina on Saturday night at Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

"This is a very special group to me for them to be the first team to go to the Sweet 16 for our program," coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. "It's hard to even put into words now."

The No. 16 seed Bluejays will play No. 1 overall seed USC on Friday.

The Jays and Women of Troy met earlier this season on Sept. 4 in Cedar Falls, Iowa with USC earning a 3-0 victory.

Freshman outside hitter Jaali Winters led the Bluejays with 21 kills and 21 digs as Creighton defeated the Tar Heels 30-32, 25-18, 25-18, 25-14 on Saturday.

"I told myself since the beginning of the season, I am not going to hold back and not play well just because I am a freshman," Winters said. "I have never thought of that as an obstacle for me and I always win, it’s what I do.”   

Winters also broke the school-record for kills in a single season with her 517th during the first set (previous record set by Leah Ratzlaff in 2003).

Junior middle blocker Lauren Smith added 15 kills and sophomore outside hitter Marysa Wilkinson had 11.

Defensively, Creighton had 11.5 blocks and 79 digs. Smith led the way with five blocks.

Coming into the 2015 NCAA Tournament the Jays had not won more than one match during each of their four previous appearances.

The Bluejays defeated Coastal Carolina 3-1 on Friday before facing North Carolina on Saturday.

"We have had Sweet 16 in our minds for the last two seasons and for it to finally be here, I just don’t have words for it," senior setter Maggie Baumert said. "I am just excited to go to San Diego and win more games."

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