CU comes up short in Bluejay Invitational

The Bluejays suffered their first setback of 2013 in the championship match.

No. 19 Creighton (4-1) finished the Bluejay Invitational 2-1 after sweeping Northern Colorado on Friday and South Florida in the early afternoon on Saturday, before falling to Cal in the tournament final.

Melanie Jereb and Leah McNary made the all-tournament team for Creighton.

The Bluejays opened the tournament with a three-game sweep of Northern Colorado, winning 25-14, 25-16, 25-16.

"We did many good things tonight on offense and defense," said head coach Kristen Bernthal Booth after Friday's win. "I think the errors were a direct result of this being the home opener, but when we got going we were tough to defend."

After spending their opening weekend in Bowling Green, Ohio, Coach Bernthal Booth's squad was excited to see some friendly faces in the crowd.

"It's exciting to be at home, playing in front of our home crowd after starting on the road," said outside hitter Leah McNary.

In the first game on Saturday, CU dispatched USF in just an hour and 19 minutes, as the hosts won by scores of 25-15, 25-22 and 25-14. Leading the way for the Jays on offense were Jereb and Lauren Smith with eight kills apiece. Kelli Browning added six, and Jess Bird pitched in five.

Michelle Sicner continued to orchestrate the offense with 29 assists. Bird recorded 18 digs, while setter Kate Elman contributed 10 of her own. At the net, Creighton was tough on the opposition with 16 block assists -- four solos -- with Browning and McNary leading the defense.

The Bluejays faced the California Golden Bears, of the PAC-12 Conference, in the finals on Saturday night. Both teams rolled into the finals having not dropped a set in their first two games of the tournament. Entering the match, the Jays hadn't lost a home match since September 1 of last season, which spanned 13 games.

Cal (5-0) forced the tempo during the match and took control of the net, winning in three games 26-24, 25-21 and 25-14. The opening set featured ties at 16, 17, 19, 20 and 24 before the Bears closed with two straight points.

Set two again had the Golden Bears racing out of the gate, building a 9-4 early lead and expanding the margin to six. The Jays got within two at 21-19 before California finished the set off, winning 25-21. Mistakes hurt Creighton all night as they made an uncharacteristic amount of errors, which lead to their demise on Saturday.

In the final set, things were close early before Cal broke away and won 25-14. The Bears featured local product sophomore Lillian Schonewise from Papillion La Vista South who four kills and five block assists.

Next up for CU is Kansas on Tuesday night at D.J. Sokol Arena starting at 6 p.m.

Bluejay Invitational All-Tournament Team
Cal: Adrienne Gehan (MVP), Lara Vukasovic, Joan Caloiaro. Creighton Melanie Jereb, Leah McNary. Northern Colorado Merideth Johnson. South Floriday Erin Fairs.

Creighton vs. Northern Colorado box

Creighton vs. South Florida box

Creighton vs. Cal box

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