Creighton (23-9) volleyball traveled south to historic Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas for the NCAA tournament this past weekend.
The Jays opened with a first-round matchup against the Arkansas Razorbacks (16-14) of the SEC and closed the year with a defeat to the host Kansas Jayhawks (25-7) in four sets.
Friday afternoon, the Bluejays and Razorbacks met for just the second time in program history (Arkansas won). The Hogs opened with a 25-22 first-set win, hitting .394 to just .211 for CU. In the second set, the Jays bounced back in dominating fashion, winning 25-14 and holding their opponent to -.048 hitting.
Following the break after the second set, Creighton won the next two sets 25-22 and 26-24, setting up a rematch with Kansas and a berth in the "Sweet 16" on the line. Kelli Browning led the way with a match-high 15 kills, Leah McNary had 14, Jess Bird added nine, and Melanie Jereb and Lauren Smith finished with five apiece. Michelle Sicner provided another double-double with 45 assists and 10 digs. Ashley Jansen recorded 16 digs, while Kate Elman was just behind her with 14. CU out-blocked Arkansas 17.5-6 in the four-set match.
Saturday, the Jays spoiled their third chance in four years at the program's first "Sweet 16." The Bluejays and Jayhawks met earlier in the season, in Omaha, which was won in four by CU.
Like the Friday, the Bluejays lost the opening set, this time 25-20 but bounced back with a 25-22 win tying the match up. Following the break, KU won by the scores of 25-22 and 25-21 to eliminate the Jays from the tournament.
Lauren Smith led the team with 12 kills. McNary recorded 10 and Bird and Browning each finished with nine. Sicner had seven kills alongside 38 assists. Elman added 22 more digs on the weekend with Bird next in line with 10 of her own. CU out blocked KU 11.5-9, but the Jayhawks outhit CU .218 to .176.
Next season, the team returns everyone but Savannah Smith who was honored during the final home game of the regular season after choosing to graduate this spring.
Jays Volleyball Falls in the Round of 32
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