OMAHA, Neb. — The Creighton Volleyball team opened BIG EAST play on Friday night with a convincing 3-0 sweep of Marquette in a battle of the team’s picked atop the league’s preseason poll. Scores of the match were 25-22, 25-22, 25-18.
Creighton (7-6, 1-0 BIG EAST) won its third straight league opener, while also picking up its sixth straight victory over the Golden Eagles. Marquette, which was 27th in the latest AVCA poll, led just once all night (3-2 in the second set) and dropped to 10-3 overall in its league opener.
With setter Lydia Dimke distributing the ball to five different attackers to the tune of 35 assists and a .299 team hitting percentage, the Bluejays had plenty of options. Jaali Winters had a double-double with 12 kills and 13 digs on season-best .370 hitting, while Taryn Kloth and Lauren Smith each supplied 10 kills. Smith hit .588 on the night, continuing a torrid stretch that has seen the fifth-year senior hit .456 in her last four matches.
Creighton won all but one statistical category, owning the lead in kills (51-37), assists (43-35), hitting percentage (.299 – .236), digs (55-45) and blocks (6-2). Marquette’s lone victory on the box score came in aces, where it had two against CU’s one.
The Bluejays started quickly in all three sets, including a 6-1 margin to open the match before star Marquette outside hitter Taylor Louis finally got her first kill on her ninth swing. CU’s lead reached as large as 19-12, and CU would side out just enough to finish off a 25-22 win after the Golden Eagles withstood a trio of CU set points. Kloth had five kills and Winters six digs in the opening frame, while Marysa Wilkinson had four of her match-high six blocks.
Marquette’s lone lead of the night came at 3-2 in the second set, but CU answered with a 4-0 run on Dimke’s serve to retake the lead for good. CU’s lead stretched to 21-14 before being trimmed to 24-22 late until Winters found the floor with one of her 12 kills. CU hit .364 in the second set, with Dimke dishing 15 assists.
Creighton hit .333 in the final frame, as six Bluejays had at least one kill. That included libero Brittany Witt, who pushed one over on CU’s second contact for her first career kill to make it 19-13 and prompt MU’s final timeout of the evening. CU once again moved in front 21-14 led 24-17 when Louis hit one wide that was overturned after view to prolong the match one more point. The respite did little for the visitors, who served into the net to close out the match.
Louis finished with 13 kills, but hit just .122 while taking 41 of MU’s 106 swings. Allie Barber was MU’s top option on the night, also finishing with 13 kills but hitting .571. Lauren Houg dug a match-best 17 balls for MU, which finished the night without a block assist.
Creighton returns to action on Sunday at 1 pm when it hosts DePaul (7-6, 1-0 BIG EAST).