BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — No. 25 Creighton won the Hampton Inn Invitational with a 25-23, 26-24, 27-25 sweep of host Bowling Green on Saturday.
The Bluejays (2-0) scored the final two points in each set, breaking ties of 23-23, 24-24 and 25-25, respectively. In Game 3, Creighton survived three set points before closing out its first sweep of the season.
“Bowling Green is a great team and it was a really tough, hard-fought battle,” CU coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “That’s a team that is going to win a lot of games this season. We didn’t play perfect but I credit Bowling Green. They put pressure on you at all times, hit hard out of system and are a great blocking team.”
Game 1 featured 15 ties and five lead changes. The Bluejays trailed 18-16 until Kate Elman served a 6-0 run. After the Falcons (0-2) rallied to tie it 23-23, kills by Leah McNary and Jess Bird ended the set.
In Game 2, Creighton fell behind 14-6 before tying it 17-17. The Bluejays had set-point chances at 24-22 and 24-23 before putting the set away.
Creighton led 7-1 in the third set, but the Falcons used a 5-0 surge to cut their deficit to 11-10 and eventually tied it 20-20. After Bowling Green went on a 4-0 run, McNary got two kills and Lauren Smith and Bird combined on a block to stave off set point. Bird, a freshman from Bennington, closed the contest with a kill.
McNary led the Bluejays with 11 kills while Bird added 10. Kelli Browning and Smith both finished with nine kills, with Browning adding a match-best 10 blocks.
Michelle Sicner, a junior from Omaha Marian, dished out 38 assists with eight digs on .364 hitting.
Paige Penrod led Bowling Green with 21 kills on .459 hitting.
Creighton had three players named to the all-tournament team: Kelli Browning, Lauren Smith and Most Valuable Player Sicner.
Creighton next plays its home opener at 6 p.m. Friday against Northern Colorado as part of the three-day Bluejay Invitational.
Creighton (2-0) ............................ 25 26 27
Bowling Green (0-2) ............................ 23 24 25
CU (kills-aces-blocks): Jereb 6-0-3, Neisler 0-1-0, Browning 9-0-10, Sicner 4-0-2, Bird 10-1-3, Smith 9-0-1, Elman 0-1-0, McNary 11-0-3, Stivers 0-1-0.
BG: Tonyan 7-0-2, Butterfield 2-0-0, Penrod 21-0-5, Skinner 2-0-1, Maloney 4-1-5, Avila 0-2-0, Dachenhaus 0-0-0, Garda 0-0-0, Stella 0-0-0, Dunn 0-1-0, Fullenkamp 0-0-0, Sunjic 6-0-2, Papenfuss 2-0-1.
Set Assists: CU Jereb 1, Neisler 1, Sicner 38, Bird 2, Elman 2. BG Maloney 1, Avila 22, Garda 2, Dunn 3, Fullenkamp 15.