OMAHA, Neb. — Playing its first match in 27 days, the No. 23 Creighton Volleyball team defeated DePaul in five sets on Friday morning action at D.J. Sokol Arena in Omaha.
Scores of the match in favor of CU were 25-18, 19-25, 20-25, 25-11, 15-9. Creighton improved to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the BIG EAST and dropped DePaul to 3-4 overall (3-4 BIG EAST).
After an attack error on the first point of the match, Creighton unleashed an 8-0 run on Jaela Zimmerman’s serve to quickly seize control in the opening set. Keeley Davis had four kills and Annika Welty a pair of blocks in the surge. DePaul responded with the next five points of the contest to force a Bluejay timeout and reclaim the lead at 13-12 following a Blue Demons block. Creighton led 16-15 before challenging a call that led to a reversal and a 17-15 advantage. That seemed to point CU in the right direction, as it started a five-point run on Emily Bressman’s serve and paved the way for a 25-18 victory in the opener. Davis led CU with seven kills in the opener, and Reinhardt (5) and Welty (4) helped CU own a 5-3 lead in blocks during the initial frame.
DePaul never trailed in second set, bolting to an 8-2 lead and never looking back. CU would draw within three at 15-12, 17-14 and 18-15 but got no closer as the Blue Demons evened the match heading into intermission. After hitting -.150 in the first set, DePaul hit .593 in the second set with 16 kills in 27 errorless swings. Jill Pressly had five of those kills. CU hit a healthy .387 in the set but it wasn’t enough.
The Blue Demons played with a lead for much of the third set and won 25-20 to take a 2-1 lead in the match. The Blue Demons appeared to be in control with a 22-16 lead before the Jays used a 4-0 run to threaten. DePaul responded with the next three points to win 25-20 on an ace by Rachel Krasowski.
Creighton regrouped to win the fourth set, 25-11, on an ace by Ally Van Eekeren. The Jays hit .522 with 14 kills in 23 swings and held the Blue Demons to .042 hitting. Both Zimmerman and Reinhardt had four kills in the fourth set for CU.
Creighton reeled off a 6-1 run early in the fifth set to move up 6-2 before DePaul drew within 7-5. CU countered with a block by Welty and Reinhardt before an ace from Zimmerman to initiate a 5-0 surge that put CU ahead 12-5. CU closed out the win on a kill by Naomi Hickman, improving to 3-1 on the season in five-set matches and avoiding consecutive conference losses for the first time since 2011.
Davis led Creighton with 17 kills and Zimmerman contributed 15 kills and 14 digs. Reinhardt had a season-high nine blocks and Ellie Bolton contributed 17 digs. CU had 60 kills, 52 digs, 13 blocks and six aces on .282 hitting overall.
Bailey Nelson and Allison Dennemann each had nine kills to pace the Blue Demon offense. The Blue Demons had 43 kills, 51 digs, seven blocks and eight aces on .092 hitting.
Creighton and DePaul will meet again on Saturday in another 11 a.m. start at D.J. Sokol Arena.