Creighton volleyball out for a little Payback in Big East tournament

It had been two months since Creighton lost a volleyball match. More than a month since the Bluejays dropped a set.

Both occurred last Sunday, when Marquette swept the Jays in Milwaukee. Now Creighton enters the postseason motivated to bounce back.

“Obviously, you never like to lose, but I think there are some great things we can learn from it,” Coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “Everything we want to accomplish is still in front of us.”

The win gave the Golden Eagles (26-2, 17-1) a share of the Big East regular-season title as well as the top seed for the league tournament, which began Wednesday at Sokol Arena.

Well. 14 Marquette and No. 15 CU (25-4, 17-1) will be favored to meet again in Saturday’s final. But first, Creighton will play Xavier — a four-set winner over Butler in Wednesday’s first round — in Friday’s 7 pm semifinal after Marquette meets UConn — which outlasted St. John’s in five sets — in the other semi.

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“Especially after this past weekend, we’re all excited to get back on our home court with our fans and hopefully have a shot to play two great matches,” setter Kendra Wait said.

Booth said her team never really got in rhythm last Sunday. She added that “Marquette had a lot to do with that” as the Eagles were able to feed off their home crowd.

“I think Marquette played very comfortable at their place, probably the most I’ve seen them play comfortably, she said. “So there is something about your home court.”

The Jays will be relying on that intangible this weekend. Their only loss at Sokol has been to Kentucky during Labor Day weekend.

Winning the title Saturday could mean the Jays will get to host during the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament. The same could be the case for Marquette.

CU should also have a healthy Norah Sis. The outside hitter returned from injury last weekend, and led the Jays in kills in both matches.

“I thought she looked like Norah, and I think teams were committing to Norah like they normally commit to Norah,” Booth said.

The sophomore from Papillion-La Vista South was named the Big East player of the year on Tuesday. She led the league in kills per set (4.19) and points per set (4.61).

Teammate Ava Martin was the Big East freshman of the year — the third time in four years Creighton has had the freshman of the year.

Also named all-league from CU were Wait, who has 17 double-doubles, and Kiana Schmitt, who averages 1.23 blocks per set and is hitting .361.

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