The Creighton women's volleyball team opened its 2015 home schedule with three games in two days at D.J. Sokol Arena.
The Bluejays prefaced the weekend with a pair of victories against Lipscomb and Cal State Bakersfield, but fell to Pacific in the Bluejay Invitational championship match on Saturday night 16-25, 25-21, 25-16, 26-24.
"[Pacific] just makes you uncomfortable the entire time with their tempo," coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. "They did two things. They served really aggressively, and in the first game they missed a bunch of serves, and they challenge you with tempo."
Creighton (4-5) took advantage of Pacific's six service errors and seven attack errors to gain an early 1-0 lead after the opening set.
Senior setter Maggie Baumert led an 8-0 run that put the Jays ahead 10-3 early in the first game and Creighton failed to give up the lead. The Tigers never got closer than five points as the Jays took set one 25-16.
Omaha native and tournament MVP Lexi Elman helped turn the momentum to Pacific's side of the court in game two.
The Bluejays and Tigers went point-for-point to a 4-4 tie, but Elman delivered a kill to give Pacific the lead for the remainder of the second set.
Elman, the sister of Creighton senior libero Kate Elman, led the Tigers with seven kills in the second set, including one for the final point.
"To be honest, I was a little nervous coming in," Lexi Elman said. "(I) didn't know how I would take it being back and playing in front of so many people that I know."
The nerves quickly settled as the junior totaled 25 kills, 12 digs and six aces in the four-set win.
"We knew Lexi kind of carried the load for their team and just like we love Kate, Lexi's a great young women and you're happy that she got to come home and have a great tournament," Booth said.
Kate also expressed that while she wanted to see her sister perform well, the Bluejays could have done a little better controlling her game.
"She's a very, very good player and I think that she'll go far," Kate Elman said. "And I also think that we could have done a little bit more as a unit to slow her down."
After the intermission, Creighton jumped out to an early 7-1 lead, but Pacific (8-1) turned the momentum with a 9-2 run to take a 10-9 advantage. Lexi Elman ended the set with two ace serves.
Freshman outside hitter Jaali Winters and junior middle blocker Lauren Smith each recorded four kills in the fourth set, and Creighton tied the match at 20, 22 and 24, but the Jays late rally finished short when Winters attack landed beyond the back line during the second match-point.
Winters led Creighton with 13 kills and Smith added 11. Both were named to the all-tournament team.
The Bluejays opened Saturday with a 25-9, 25-18, 17-25, 25-15 win over CSU Bakersfield.
Winters contributed to the strong performance with 18 kills. The freshman finished the weekend with 41 kills to lead all Creighton players.
The Bluejays swept the Lipscomb Lady Bisons 25-19, 25-8, 25-18 on Friday night.
"I thought we played the best we've played all season and we've really been talking to the team a lot about consistency," Booth said following Friday's victory. "We've had great points, but we haven't been able to do it on a consistent nature; we'll do something great and then we'll make a mistake, and tonight and against Kentucky last week we really did a nice job of making the opposing team earn points as compared to giving them points."
Smith had five block assists and had eight kills while hitting .545 in the three-set victory.
She contributed to 18 blocks and hit .382 with 29 kills in three games.
"We think that we took a lot of steps forward this weekend," Booth said. "[The Pacific loss] is disappointing; it's a match that could have gone either way we feel, so obviously that hurts a little bit, but this is a pretty mature team and I think that they will learn from it and move forward in our next matches."
Creighton has a quick turnaround with a match against in-state rival Nebraska on Tuesday night at the CenturyLink Center. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.