CINCINNATI — Creighton and Xavier met for the first time in volleyball, and the No. 22 Bluejays walked away with the program’s first Big East win.
Lauren Smith notched a career-high 15 kills and Leah McNary added 14 as Creighton won 25-23, 20-25, 25-18, 25-22 Saturday, improving to 10-4 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
The fourth set featured 12 ties and two lead changes before CU closed out the match.
The score was tied 17-17, but Ashley Jansen served up a 5-0 run that helped the Bluejays build their lead to 24-18. The Musketeers (9-7, 2-1) survived four match points before Smith’s final kill gave CU the victory. The freshman from Lincoln Pius X had six kills and two blocks in the set.
“We passed great all weekend, particularly tonight,” Jays coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “We were in system a bunch and served well. I still think we’ve got to get better defensively, but I thought we were better tonight.”
Smith added eight blocks and hit .387. Michelle Sicner flirted with a triple-double before finishing with 48 assists, 18 digs and eight kills on .412 hitting for her fourth straight double-double and seventh on the year.
Creighton’s defense was paced by Omaha Marian graduate Kate Elman, who matched her season-high with 20 digs. Jansen added 15 digs after entering with nine in the first 13 matches.
Xavier’s Abbey Bessler had a match-best 20 kills with 15 digs. Though the Musketeers hit .256, the Bluejays ended their 73-match skid — dating to 2001 — in which they lost when an opponent hit .250 or higher.
Creighton returns home for the first time in more than a month, hosting DePaul at 7 p.m. Friday at Sokol Arena.
“I think our players will be energized to be back on our home court again,” Booth said.