Minneapolis, Minn. — Led by 15 kills from freshman Keeley Davis and 38 assists from senior Madelyn Cole, the No. 15 Creighton Volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Round of 32 with an impressive sweep of Iowa State on Friday, Dec. 6th. Set scores for the match were 25-22, 25-15, 25-19.
With the win the Bluejays moved to 25-5 on the season, joining BYU and Florida as the nation’s only teams with 25 or more wins each of the last six years. Iowa State finished the 2019 campaign with a 17-12 record.
Each set in the match featured a Bluejay surge of points that turned the tide, but the difference in the match was Creighton performance on the service line. The Bluejays delivered seven aces and took advantage of eight Cyclone service errors.
In the opening set it took a pair of Creighton runs to claim the opening clash. Trailing 6-4 early in set one, Creighton rattled off five straight points to take control. The Bluejays’ run began with a service mishap by Iowa State, followed by kill from Davis to give the Bluejays a 7-6 edge. After a Cyclone attacking error, Cole punctuated the run with an ace to make it 9-6. Iowa State rallied to reclaim the lead at 14-13, but Creighton rattled off another five straight to seize an 18-14 advantage. This time Cole and Davis each contributed kills, with two coming from the Bluejay freshman. The Bluejays went on to claim the set 25-22.
The second set offered the largest swing of fortunes as Creighton fell behind 5-1, then rallied to take a 14-7 lead with 13 of the next 15 points. The Bluejays’ climb began with a kill from junior Naomi Hickman. Another Cyclone error followed by a service ace from senior Brittany Witt pulled Creighton to within a point at 5-4. After Iowa State pushed its lead to 6-4 on a kill from Michal Schuler, a trio of service errors made it 7-6 in favor of the Cyclones. From there Creighton took control of the second set and the match as sophomore Jaela Zimmerman served nine straight. During the run senior Megan Ballenger impacted the first three points with a pair of kills and a block. Following a Cyclone timeout, Zimmerman sandwiched aces around a Davis kill to make it 12-7. Finally Ballenger capped the surge with another kill and a block to make ti 14-7. The Bluejays went on to take set two, 25-15.
Down early in the third set the Bluejays rattled off six straight to vault out to a 7-2 edge. This time sophomore Annika Welty started the Bluejay run. Witt connected on a pair of aces, while Zimmerman delivered two kills. Iowa State closed to within two at 11-9, but a timeout from head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth steadied the Bluejays. Moments later Creighton held a 14-9 lead and pushed its advantage out to 17-10. Creighton quickly went on to claim the match with a 25-19 win in the final set.
Davis led all attackers with 15 kills in the match, while Jaela Zimmerman closed the match with 10 kills. Welty’s nine kills were a career-high. Creighton had 46 kills, seven aces, 46 digs and five blocks on .366 hitting.
Iowa State got a team-high nine kills from Josie Herbst in the loss. The Cyclones had 35 kills, two aces, 32 digs and three blocks on .208 hitting.
The Bluejays will face the winner of the second match featuring Fairfield and Minnesota set to begin at 8:00 pm Central