VOLLEYBALL: CREIGHTON DEF. SETON HALL 25-13, 14-25, 25-18, 25-22
After a nonconference schedule that saw the Creighton volleyball team play five top-11 teams in 13 matches, the Bluejays were finally able to find out how that might translate into Big East play.
It turned out to be a mixed bag in a rematch between the two teams that faced each other in last season's Big East tournament final.
The Bluejays held off Seton Hall 3-1 (25-13, 14-25, 25-18, 25-22) in front of a Sokol Arena crowd of 1,116, but the Jays committed an uncharacteristic 26 hitting errors and looked shaky in the process.
Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth admitted as much after the win.
"We didn't play our best volleyball tonight," Booth said.
It looked like the Jays were going to have an easy night after the first set.
They led Game 1 10-9 before putting together an 11-1 run to open a 21-10 advantage and cruising to a 25-13 win with Lauren Smith tallying five kills.
Game 2 was a different story.
CU (7-7 overall, 1-0 Big East) fell behind quickly 13-5, causing Booth to use her second timeout of the set in an attempt to get things sorted out.
But the set continued to go badly for the Jays, who committed 11 errors on 34 swings in the 25-14 loss as the Pirates (6-7, 0-1) knotted the match at 1-1.
"I thought we didn't respond well after Game 1. They thought Seton Hall would continue to play the way they played in Game 1, and Seton Hall wasn't going to go down without a fight," Booth said.
"I didn't think we were really good in any part of our game tonight, but we figured out a way to win," she added.
Smith led the Bluejays with 14 kills and eight blocks, while Jaali Winters added 13 kills and 11 digs.
Freshman Taryn Kloth scored a career-high 11 kills, and setter Kenzie Crawford netted a double-double with 33 assists and a career-best 16 digs.
Winters said the blowout Game 2 loss was an eye-opener for her and her teammates.
"I think it was a little bit of a kick in the tail just to know that just because you rolled a team over one set doesn't mean they're just going to roll over for the rest of the game," Winters said.
She added that the passing game wasn't as crisp as it was last weekend when the Bluejays went 2-1 at the Creighton Classic with wins over Arkansas and Kansas State.
It didn't help that Jess Bird, the Big East Preseason Player of the Year, saw limited action with shoulder tendinitis.
Booth said Bird's status is day to day.
The Bluejays bounced back in Game 3, jumping out to an 11-5 start on the way to a 25-18 win and a 2-1 lead in the match despite six more errors in the set.
The Jays erased a 15-9 Seton Hall advantage in the fourth set with a 10-3 outburst to go up 19-18 en route to a 25-22 match-clinching win.
Creighton will finish its ninegame home stand when it hosts Villanova (11-3, 1-0) Sunday at 1.
Mays win Summit opener
BROOKINGS, S.D. — The UNO volleyball team blocked its way to a win in its first conference game of the season Friday and defeated South Dakota State 25-16, 9-25, 25-17, 25-23.
The Mavericks put up their sixth double-digit block performance of the year, outblocking South Dakota State 10-2. Megan Schmale posted a match-high seven blocks, while middle blocker Amy Taylor and right side hitter Michaela Schimmer added three blocks apiece.
Outside hitter Mackenzie Horkey led the match with a season-high 13 kills, as well as 10 digs for her third double-double of the season. Schmale had 12 kills on .579 hitting, and senior outside hitter Kelley Wollak finished with 10 kills on .346 hitting with eight digs and two blocks.
South Dakota State was led by Mikala Hora's double-double with 13 kills and 15 digs, while Ashley Beaner added another 10 kills.