SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Creighton volleyball team was awarded coach of the year, player of the year and defensive player of the year honors at the pre-tournament awards banquet at the Missouri Valley tournament.
Kirsten Bernthal Booth was selected as the league's top coach, senior Megan Bober as the league's top player and sophomore Kelli Browning as the league's top defensive player. The awards are determined by voting from the league coaches.
Booth is in her 10th season at the helm of the Bluejay program and is the first Creighton coach named Missouri Valley coach of the year since Howard Wallace shared the honor in 1997. Booth inherited a 3-23 program in 2003 and has steadily built Creighton into a league power as the Jays won this year's regular-season title.
Bober becomes Creighton's first volleyball player to earn MVC player of the year accolades. Bober also was named a first-team All-MVC selection for the third straight season, joining Korie Lebeda and Melissa Walsh as the only Bluejays to earn the honor three times.
Browning becomes the second player in Creighton history to earn the defensive honor. She leads the Missouri Valley in blocks per set (1.68), a figure that ranks her fourth nationally. The Waukesha, Wis., product is also second in the MVC in hitting percentage (.381).
Melanie Jereb earned first-team All-MVC honors, making her the first freshman in school history to earn such recognition. Jereb averaged 2.42 kills, 2.78 digs and 0.65 blocks per set.
Joining Jereb on the MVC's all-freshman team is Omaha Marian graduate Kate Elman. Elman has played every match as Creighton's libero and already owns the school record for digs by a freshman with 564. Elman has 10 or more digs in all 29 Creighton matches, and also tops the Bluejays with 28 aces.
Leah McNary, an MVC all-freshman team selection a year ago, was picked for the second team. She leads Creighton with 322 kills and 2.93 kills per set. She has three matches with 20 or more kills, including a career-best 23 in Creighton's 3-2 win at Missouri State last Saturday.