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Creighton Volleyball sweeps Red Storm

Creighton Volleyball sweeps Red Storm

QUEENS, N.Y. — The No. 14 Creighton Volleyball team survived a tough road test at St. John’s with a 26-24, 27-25, 25-19 victory at Carnesecca Arena on Friday night in Queens, N.Y.

Winners of five straight matches, Creighton is now 10-3 on the year and 3-0 in BIG EAST play. The Bluejays improved to 100-9 all-time in BIG EAST regular-season play with the victory, including 22 straight triumphs. Picked third in the league’s preseason poll, St. John’s falls to 9-7 and 1-2 in league action.

Creighton senior Brittany Witt led all players with 22 digs, and Erica Kostelac had a club-best 12 kills. Creighton hit .241 and had 45 kills, five aces, nine blocks and 44 digs.

St. John’s was paced by 12 kills from Efrosini Alexakou. The Red Storm had 39 kills, five aces, seven blocks and 42 digs on .182 hitting.

Creighton showed the resolve you’d expect from a five-time defending league champion to pull out each of the first two sets.

“Games one and two could’ve gone either way, and you could say they had the upper hand in both,” said Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth. “It was great to come up with big plays at the end of each set. We showed great composure….you can’t simulate those situations in practice and we made some big plays.”

In the first set, CU didn’t take its first lead until 18-17, and would still find itself on the short end of the scoreboard at 23-20 late in the frame. But setter Madelyn Cole won a joust, Naomi Hickman and Jaela Zimmerman teamed up for a block, and a Red Storm ball handling error knotted the set at 23-all. The teams would trade attack errors before a kill by Zimmerman gave CU a second set point, and this time the Jays capitalized when St. John’s Kayley Wood sailed an attack wide.

The Bluejays had to save a set point in the second game of the night. CU broke a string of 12 straight sideouts with consecutive points to move ahead 23-22 before St. John’s responded with back-to-back points to move ahead 24-23. Kostelac denied the Red Storm of an equalizing win with a kill. SJU saved a set point of its own after a Kostelac ace, but CU eventually took the set after a kill by Keeley Davis and an attack error by Jovana Askovic.

Creighton finally got some breathing room in the third set, building a 16-11 advantage. SJU closed within two at 20-18, only to see Creighton close the show with a 5-1 run capped by a block by Cole and Megan Ballenger on match point. The third set alone saw Witt gather 11 digs and Davis (5) and Hickman (4) combine for nine kills.

The Bluejays visit Seton Hall on Saturday at 6 p.m. Central.

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