The Bluejay Invitational ended on a very happy note for one Omaha Marian graduate.
Unfortunately for Creighton and most of the 1,166 fans in attendance at D.J. Sokol Arena, that Marian graduate was playing for Pacific.
Lexi Elman, sister of CU defensive specialist Kate Elman, was named tournament MVP after her match-high 25 kills sparked the Tigers to a four-set, tournament-clinching win over Creighton.
The Bluejays took the first set before dropping the following three, losing 16-25, 25-21, 25-16, 26-24.
Lexi, playing in front of a lot of family, said she was nervous at first.
“Didn’t really know how I would take it, my first time being back playing in front of so many people that I know and people in my family,” Lexi said.
Her 25 kills were three short of a career high, while her 63 attacks and five service aces were career highs.
It only took until the third point of the match to see the first sister-to-sister matchup between the Elmans, and it might have been considered a draw.
Lexi’s attack was successfully dug out by Kate, but Pacific earned the point at the conclusion of the exchange.
Lexi said the first few times Kate dug out her swings, she started to get frustrated, but later the thought of playing against her sister left her mind.
“The first game when she got my first few digs, I knew it was her, and I was really frustrated with that,” Lexi said. “After that, once the game started rolling, I really didn’t pay attention to that.”
Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said she was disappointed with the loss but happy Lexi had a great tournament.
“We knew Lexi kind of carried the load for their team,” Booth said. “Lexi’s a great young woman, and you’re just happy she got to come home and have a great tournament.”
Jaali Winters had 13 kills and Lauren Smith added 11 for the Bluejays. Both were named to the all-tournament team.
With the first set knotted early at 3-3, the Jays (4-5) rattled off the next seven points to go up 10-3 en route to taking the set.
Pacific bounced back in the second set, with Lexi Elman ending it on a kill.
The Bluejays started the third set by bolting to a 7-1 lead, but the Tigers erased the lead just an 8-1 run. The Tigers closed out the set on a 10-2 run.
Creighton fought back from a 20-17 to tie the fourth set at 22-all and again at 24-all.
But a kill by Pacific’s Alicja Wilk and an attack that went long by Winters gave the Tigers (8-1) the tournament title.
Earlier, the Bluejays outlasted Cal State Bakersfield in four sets 25-9, 25-18, 17-25, 25-15.
Four Jays registered double-digit kills, led by Winters’ 18.
Creighton will next face No. 5 Nebraska at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Pacific (8-1) ................................................ 16 25 25 26
At Creighton (4-5) ...................................... 25 21 16 24
UP (kills-aces-blocks): L. Elman 25-5-0, Crenshaw 5-0-3, Feiner 0-2-0, Whitson 2-1-1, Wilk 10-0-1, Labass 13-0-2, Feldsher 0-0-0, Gotterba 0-1-0, Holt 1-0-1. Totals 56-10-5.
CU: Jereb 0-1-1, Baumert 1-3-8, Winters 13-0-1, Wilkinson 2-0-5, Bird 5-1-2, Smith 11-0-8, Jansen 0-0-0, Foje 0-0-0, K. Elman 0-0-0, Kloth 4-0-0, Stivers 0-0-0. Totals 36-5-14.
Set assists: UP 54 (Whitson 47, Gotterba 3, Labass 1, L. Elman 1, Feiner 1, Holt 1), CU 36 (Baumert 32, Jereb 1, Bird 1, Smith 1, K. Elman 1). A: 1,166.
Cal State Bakersfield (1-8) ...................................... 9 18 25 15
At Creighton (4-4) ................................................... 25 25 17 25
CSUB (kills-aces-blocks): Sawyer 17-0-1, Urias 10-2-1, Freeland 6-0-5, Haynes 4-0-6, Dunbar-Lowe 2-0-0, Gettman 3-0-3, Luiza Martins 1-0-0, Morginne Demarco 0-0-0, Schoene 0-0-0, Rodriguez 0-0-0, Little 0-0-0, Flemion 0-0-0. Totals 43-2-8.
CU: Winters 18-1-0, Bird 13-1-1, Smith 10-0-5, Wilkinson 11-0-5, Kloth 4-0-2, Crawford 3-0-4, Jereb 0-2-2, Jansen 0-1-0, Foje 0-0-0, Elman 0-1-0, Stivers 0-0-0. Totals 59-6-10.
Set assists: CSUB 39 (Martins 36, Demarco 1, Rodriguez 1, Flemion 1), CU 55 (Crawford 47, Elman 6, Winters 1, Bird 1).
Contact the writer: