OMAHA, Neb. — The five-time BIG EAST champion Creighton Volleyball team will appear in the NCAA Tournament for the seventh straight season, and eighth overall, when it takes on South Dakota (21-9) on Friday, Nov. 30, at 6:00 p.m. CST in Omaha, Neb. The field of 64 was announced on Sunday night on ESPNU.
Creighton (28-4, 18-0 BIG EAST) earned the No. 9 national seed, the third time in program history it has been seeded. The 2015 team was seeded No. 16, while last fall the team was also a No. 9 national seed.
The matches in Omaha will take place at D.J. Sokol Arena inside the Wayne and Eileen Ryan Athletic Center on the Creighton campus.
The winner of the Creighton/South Dakota match-up will meet the winner of Friday’s 3:30 p.m. match between Saint Mary’s (19-9) vs. Washington (18-12). Saturday’s Second Round contest takes place at 7:00 p.m. CST.
Ranked ninth nationally, Creighton will be making its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history, all in the last nine years. With tonight’s announcement, the Bluejays become the school’s first women’s squad in any sport to reach seven consecutive NCAA Tournaments, and it marks the 32nd straight academic year that Creighton Athletics boasts at least one NCAA Tournament qualifier. Creighton is 9-7 all-time in the NCAA’s, including a 2016 Elite Eight trip and a 2015 Sweet 16 appearance.
Creighton earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with Saturday’s 3-1 win over No. 16 Marquette in the BIG EAST Championship final. The Bluejays are led by three-time National Coach of the Year Kirsten Bernthal Booth, who owns a 345-164 mark in her 16th year at Creighton. Creighton had four women earn All-BIG EAST honors, including first-team selections Madelyn Cole (10.89 aps., 0.43 saps.), Taryn Kloth (4.13 kps., .281%) and BIG EAST Player of the Year Jaali Winters (3.85 kps., 3.10 dps.). Junior middle blocker Megan Ballenger (2.53 kps., .306%) was named Second Team All-BIG EAST.
South Dakota is making its first NCAA Volleyball Tournament appearance at the Division I level, earning the automatic bid out of the Summit League after beating Denver in five sets on Nov. 18. Summit League Player of the Year Hayley Dotseth is a former club teammate of Creighton starters Jaali Winters and Megan Ballenger, and averages a team-high 4.04 kills per set, while Taylor Wilson hit .372 and averages 3.24 kills per set. Omaha native Elizabeth Loschen was a Marian High School teammate of Creighton libero Brittany Witt and averages 2.25 kills per set. Madison Jurgens averages 10.49 assists per set, and Summit League Defensive Player of the Year Anne Rasmussen averages 5.45 digs per set. As a team, USD averages 13.57 kills, 1.57 aces, 18.24 digs and 1.73 blocks per set on .218 hitting.
Creighton is 3-1 all-time against South Dakota. The teams last met in 2014.