OMAHA, Neb. — A non-conference match at CenturyLink Center Omaha against defending national champion Nebraska highlights the 2018 Creighton Volleyball schedule, announced today by head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
The match versus the Cornhuskers is part of a non-conference gauntlet that will see Creighton play 11-of-12 non-conference matches against teams to win 21+ contests a year ago, with 9-of-12 advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
“We feel like we’ve got a team that has a lot of talent, so we are trying to put as many great teams on the opposite side of the court as we can,” said Booth. “We’ve got players that come to Creighton because they want to play a really aggressive non-conference schedule and we are looking forward to the challenge.”
Creighton fans will have two chances to watch the Bluejays before the regular-season gets underway. The team hosts its annual Blue-White exhibition match on August 11th, and also hosts an exhibition match on August 17th against Kansas State.
The Bluejays open the regular season in Los Angeles, Calif., on Aug. 24-25 at the USC Radisson Classic, as a four-year round-robin tournament with Kentucky, USC and Northern Iowa is renewed. CU opens with defending Southeastern Conference champion Kentucky before meeting Northern Iowa later on the opening day of the season, then takes on tourney host USC on Saturday night. Both Kentucky and USC reached the Elite Eight last season, while UNI played in reached the Second Round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
The Bluejays head to Dallas on Labor Day weekend for the SMU DoubleTree Classic. Creighton takes on Arkansas State and NC State on Friday, Aug. 31, before meeting host SMU on Sept. 1. All three teams won 21 matches in 2017, with NC State advancing to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.
Creighton hosts Nebraska on Thursday, Sept. 6, in a 7 p.m. match at CenturyLink Center Omaha. It will be CU’s fifth match ever at the facility, and first since 2015. The Bluejays have played in front of an average of 10,840 fans in the previous four matches at the venue, including 13,081 against Cal Poly in a 2007 contest.
One day later Creighton opens the Bluejay Invitational. The 14th edition of the event sees the Bluejays host Iowa State on Sept. 7 and Wichita State on Sept. 9, with the Cyclones and Shockers meeting on Sept. 8. Both teams reached the Second Round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
Creighton closes out non-conference action on Sept. 14-15 at the Illini Classic as part of a field that includes Lipscomb, Northern Iowa and Illinois. Illinois reached the Regional semifinals last season, while Lipscomb was 16-13. The contest against Northern Iowa will mark the first time CU faces the same team twice in pre-conference play since Texas A&M in 2011.
Creighton begins defense of its four straight BIG EAST regular-season titles on Sept. 21 with a home match against DePaul, then hosts Marquette two days later in a rematch of the 2017 BIG EAST Championship match won by the Bluejays in five sets. Creighton has won 27 straight BIG EAST matches at D.J. Sokol Arena.
CU hits the road four of the next six weekends in league play before closing the season with four straight home matches, including Nov. 16 and 17 home matches against Providence.
The BIG EAST Championship returns to Omaha for the first time since 2015, and third time since 2013, on Nov. 23-24. Creighton has won each of the last four BIG EAST Championships.
“We’re real excited at what our fans are going to get to see this year at home,” said Booth. “Nebraska’s going play us at CenturyLink Center Omaha, and we hope that can be the largest-attended match of the season besides the Final Four. Add to that Wichita State and Iowa State, plus we’re thrilled to return as host of the BIG EAST Tournament.”
The NCAA Tournament begins Nov. 29 and concludes on Dec. 13 & 15 at the Final Four in Minneapolis, Minn.
Creighton finished the 2017 season with a 26-7 season, capturing its fourth straight BIG EAST regular-season and Tournament titles. The Bluejays reached a sixth straight NCAA Tournament, hosting for the first time and reaching the Second Round. The Bluejays return eight letterwinners in the fall, including All-BIG EAST performers Taryn Kloth, Jaali Winters and Brittany Witt.
Season tickets for Creighton Volleyball, which includes the match against Nebraska and the BIG EAST Championship, can be purchased online by visiting www.gocreighton.com/vbtickets. Single-match tickets will go on sale later this summer.