Defensive specialist Brooke Boggs is the mom of the Creighton volleyball team.
She'll help a younger player come up with a topic for her next paper — and make sure it's finished — or put a treat bag in everyone's locker. She's also the go-to source for celebrity gossip.
“Just things like that to keep morale going and bring everyone together,'' she said.
Senior setter Megan Bober, meanwhile, is grandma. She's been around so long that opponents are wondering when she's finally going to use up her eligibility.
“I think teams are definitely ready for Megan to be graduated,'' Boggs said. “She's such a great player, and she gives people trouble sometimes.''
Boggs' and Bober's time with Creighton will be over soon enough. But they plan on stretching their final season as long as possible.
The No. 25 Bluejays, winners of 10 straight, have high hopes after building a 22-3 and 13-1 Missouri Valley record. They're chasing their first MVC title and a spot in the NCAA tournament.
“It has been such an amazing year, and I'm so excited to be able to end my volleyball career in this fashion,'' Boggs said. “There is so much more volleyball left to play, and we're putting ourselves in such great position. Being a senior and to be able to go out on that note and have no regrets has been really fun.''
This weekend marks their final home matches.
Creighton will honor Boggs, Bober, Heather Thorson, Brittany Moon, Natalie Hackbarth and manager Brittany Wing after Saturday's 6 p.m. match with Illinois State, which will be televised on Cox 2. The Bluejays face Indiana State at 5 p.m. at D.J. Sokol Arena.
The seniors have left their mark on the program, going 74-46 and making the school's first NCAA tournament appearance. They've done a lot of community outreach, too. This fall, the team helped paint a house.
“These are really high quality people. They are great volleyball players, but beyond that, they've been great leaders,'' coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “They are all across the board really, really smart kids. They really epitomize what we're looking for in Creighton student-athletes.''
The seniors contribute to the team's many strengths, which Boggs says is the key to CU's success. On any given night, a different player will step up.
» Bober is a two-time All-MVC pick and leads the team in career kills, digs, assists, blocks and aces, and has tied a school record with 120 starts.
» Boggs has played in 116 matches, with 870 career digs and 55 aces. Earlier this week, she earned the MVC's Service and Leadership Award.
» Thorson has played in 108 matches, with 633 kills and 310 blocks.
» Hackbarth is a junior but will graduate this spring. She has 143 kills and 158 digs from the outside hitter position.
» Moon hasn't played this season because of knee issues but is still involved with the team.
They are a group who lead by example, Boggs said. But because everyone has been so focused on team goals this season, that job has been easy.
“This team without a doubt has the talent and physicality to succeed,” she said. “But I think much more than that is that we're pretty mentally tough. We really don't give up.”
Just look at last Saturday's game against Northern Iowa, Boggs said. Playing before a huge crowd, the Bluejays let games three and four slip away after claiming the first two.
But they came back with renewed energy and excitement in the fifth game and pulled out a victory that put them two matches away from winning a share of the MVC title.
“From the first point, I didn't think we were going to lose,” Boggs said. “That's the mindset you have to have going into the fifth game, when anything can happen.”
Boggs knows her leadership skills could be tested if the Bluejays make it as deep in the postseason as she hopes, and she's ready, armed with a treat bag.
“I think people are just enjoying each and every game and trying to make Creighton history,” she said, “trying to make this the best year we've ever had.”
Bober, Boggs honored for academics
Bober is a first-team pick and Boggs a second-team selection on the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District 7 Team.
Bober has a 3.82 GPA in exercise science. Boggs has a 3.91 GPA in health care administration and policy with a minor in business administration.
Nebraska's Morgan Broekhuis was chosen for the second team.
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