MILWAUKEE, Wis. — The five-time defending BIG EAST Tournament champion Creighton Volleyball team was stunned in the semifinals of the 2019 event, falling in straight sets to fourth-seeded St. John’s on Friday.
Scores of the match in favor of St. John’s were 25-17, 25-23, 26-24. Creighton, which had won 30 of its last 31 sets played against the Red Storm, fell to 13-2 all-time against the Red Storm.
Rachele Rastelli led SJU with 13 kills, while Efrosini Alexakou added 10 kills and 12 digs. The Johnnies had 40 kills, 43 digs, one ace, eight blocks and hit .188 overall.
Creighton was paced by a match-high 14 kills from Jaela Zimmerman and a career-high 13 digs by Keeley Davis. Brittany Witt also had 13 digs and now stands 16 digs shy of Kate Elman’s school-record of 2,054 career digs. Creighton had 36 kills, 41 digs, three aces and seven blocks while hitting .098.
Creighton surrendered a 7-0 run in the first set to fall behind 13-5 and never threatened that set.
The Bluejays played for much of the final two sets, only to rally late and tie the score at 23 in each frame. Unlike the regular-season meeting in Queens, when CU swept the Johnnies after surviving set points in two different sets, the Bluejays could not complete the comeback.
St. John’s had a match point chance at 24-23 in the third set before a Zimmerman kill prolonged the third set. After a Red Storm kill, a ball Zimmerman hit was ruled long. Bluejay coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth challenged the call seeking a touch, but the original call was upheld as the Red Storm completed the upset.
With the win, St. John’s advances to play second-seeded and 12th-ranked Marquette. The Golden Eagles swept third-seeded Villanova in the first semifinal of the day. Marquette won both regular-season meetings against SJU.