DENVER — No. 24 Creighton dropped the title match of the Denver Invitational on Saturday, losing in four sets to 11th-rated UCLA.
The Bruins (8-1) defeated the Jays 25-23, 22-25, 25-23, 25-19 to snap Creighton’s nine-match winning streak on neutral floors. The match included 25 ties and 12 lead changes.
“I thought UCLA was a great team,” Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “We had our opportunities and unfortunately we weren’t able to convert some of the chances in front of us.”
Leah McNary led Creighton (7-2) with a season-high 19 kills. McNary, who was named to the all-tournament team along with setter Michelle Sicner, hit .342 on 38 swings.
Melanie Jereb added 12 kills and eight digs, Kelli Browning finished with 10 kills and a team-best six blocks, and Sicner had 45 set assists. Kate Elman and Katie Neisler finished with nine digs, and California native Lizzy Stivers served up a pair of aces.
McNary had six kills on seven swings in the first set as Creighton built a 14-10 lead. UCLA countered with a 12-5 spurt to go ahead by three points, only to see CU draw within 23-22.
The teams then traded three straight sideouts, including Bruin kills by Karsta Lowe and Mariana Aquino, as UCLA took the set.
Trailing 9-5 in the second set, the Jays regained the lead with a 5-0 burst. After UCLA retook the lead at 13-11, Creighton went on a 10-2 run and closed out the set.
The third set featured 12 ties and six lead changes. With the score tied at 19-all, a kill by UCLA’s Kelly Reeves and subsequent UCLA block put the Bruins up for good.
The Bruins jumped out to a 16-6 lead in the fourth set. The Jays rallied within 18-14 before faltering. Maddy Klineman had six of her team-high 19 kills in the set, and the Bruins had four blocks.
“I think we definitely saw good things from our team, but need to go back to the gym and get better to prepare for a good Hawaii team on Friday,” Booth said.
Creighton returns to action with three matches next weekend at the Shocker Classic in Wichita, Kan., starting with a match at 5 p.m. Friday against No. 10 Hawaii.
Creighton (7-2) ............................ 23 25 23 19
UCLA (8-1) ............................ 25 22 25 25
CU (kills-aces-blocks): Jereb 12-0-1, Browning 10-0-6, Sicner 3-0-4, McNary 19-0-4, Bird 1-0-2, Smith 7-0-4, Jansen 0-0-0, Neisler 0-0-0, Smith 0-0-0, Foje 1-0-0, Elman 0-1-0, Stivers 0-2-0. Total 53-3-21.
UCLA: Reeves 15-0-2, Robbins 0-1-0, Klineman 19-0-2, Aquino 4-0-7, Nightingale 4-0-3, Lowe 13-0-0, Stauber 1-0-0, Drolson 0-1-0, Felix 7-0-2, Inouye 0-0-0. Total 63-2-21.
Set assists: CU 51 (Sicner 45, Elman 3, Bird 2, Jereb 1), UCLA 61 (Stauber 27, Robbins 27, Drolson 4, Aquino 1, Reeves 1, Klineman 1).