Creighton Volleyball Sweeps Minnesota To Advance To Regional Semis
OMAHA, Neb. – The No. 17 Creighton Volleyball team extended its winning streak to 17 straight matches and advanced to Sweet 16 for the third time in program history and first since 2016 with sweep of Minnesota in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night.
Scores of the match in favor off Creighton were 25-21, 25-20, 29-27 in front of a sold out crowd of 2,568, the third-largest in D.J. Sokol Arena history.
With the win, Creighton improved to 29-4 on the season, advancing to the regional round of the tournament and will play second-seeded and seventh-ranked Louisville. Minnesota, however, finishes its season with a 17-13 overall record.
In the opening frame it took a pair of Creighton runs and 19 kills to secure a 25-21 first set victory. Tied at 3-3 early on, the Bluejays'rattled off five of the next six point to take control of the set. The run began with the first kill of the match from Ellie Bichelmeyer, while Norah Sis punctuated the run with a kill of her own. Minnesota battled back to level the score at 10-10 before a 7-2 run by Creighton opened up a 17-12 lead, forcing the Golden Gophers into a timeout. Minnesota would cut the lead down to two at 23-21 before a kill by Kiana Schmitt and a block by Schmitt and Kendra Wait gave Creighton 1-0 set lead.
In set two Creighton rolled to a 25-20 set victory while rack up six blocks and holding Minnesota to 12 kills on .143 hitting. The Bluejays jumped out to a 3-0 lead on kills by Bichelmeyer and Sis, as well as a block by Bichelmeyer and Kiara Reinhardt. Minnesota responded and held a 11-8 lead before another 3-0 surge by the Bluejays evened the match at 11-11 on a kill by Ave Martin. Trailing 14-12 moments later, Creighton illustrated a 6-0 run to take a 18-14 advantage. Bichelmeyer sparked the spurt with a kill while a kill by Sis and a pair of blocks from Schmitt and Sis added to the Bluejays' run. Similar to set one, Creighton held a 23-18 lead before fending off a Golden Gopher surge with back-to-back kills from Sis and Martin to capture a set two victory.
Set three saw Creighton erase early deficits of 8-4 and 11-6 to level the match 18-18 on the way to a 29-27 third set victory, securing the sweep. Trailing 18-14 midway through the set, Creighton rattled off five straight points on Sydney Breissinger's serve, behind three kills from Wait to take a 19-18 lead. Both teams traded points the rest of the way, before back-to-back kills from Bichelmeyer pushed the Bluejays into the Sweet 16. Wait had a double-double in the third set alone with 16 assists and 10 digs, in addition to her three kills. CU had 23 kills in the final frame.
Sis led all-players with 16 kills, while Martin closed the match 15 kills and Bichelmeyer contributed 12 kills. Wait recorded her 17th double-double of the season, finishing with 44 assists and a match-high 17 digs. Creighton had 56 kills, four aces, 53 digs and seven blocks on .255 hitting.
Minnesota got a team-high 12 kills from Taylor Landfair and 16 digs from Kylie Murr in the loss. The Golden Gophers' had 36 kills, three aces, 55 digs and 11 blocks on .202 hitting.
Creighton continues its postseason run in the Sweet 16 on Thursday when it takes on Louisville in Pittsburgh, Pa. A start time and broadcast plans will be announced in the coming 24 hours by the NCAA.