Both teams are now 2-2.
“The scores aren’t necessarily indicative of how good Arkansas State is,” said Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth. “They’re a very good team. In the first two games, we played really clean. Unlike last week where we thought we made a lot of unforced errors, we were much cleaner this morning in all aspects, but particularly in the serve-and-pass portion. I thought Arkansas State played a great third game and we maybe came out a little bit flat, and that’s a great learning experience for us for us. Every team we play is good and we need to play at a high level every time to be successful.”
For the first time in 2018, Creighton won the first set, pulling away for a 25-15 victory. The teams were tied at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, but the Bluejays would end the set on an 18-8 run. Jaali Winters had more kills (7) than the entire Red Wolves squad (5), and the Jays hit .323 compared to ASU’s .000. Samantha Bohnet opened with five digs in her first start of the season as the Bluejays used three different 4-0 runs in the set one triumph. The Bluejays held a 15-5 lead in kills and a 19-9 edge in digs during the opener.
Creighton never trailed in the second set, blitzing Arkansas State with a 25-13 decision. The Bluejays stretched a 13-10 lead to 21-10 on Madelyn Cole’s serve, with Jaela Zimmerman providing three kills during the set. Winters had six kills in the second set and continued to have more kills (13-12) than ASU after two sets.
The third set featured 22 ties and 7 lead changes, and saw CU save a pair of set points when trailing 24-23 and 25-24. CU scored four of the final five points in the contest, capping the match on a kill from Winters. Winters, Taryn Kloth and Megan Ballenger each had four kills in the third set, while Brittany Witt added six of her match-high 13 digs.
Winters had her 87th career match with 10+ kills and her 45th career double-double in the victory as she finished with 17 kills and 12 digs. Madelyn Cole also had a double-double for the third time in four matches as a Bluejay, recording 37 assists and 11 digs. Creighton hit .269 and had 44 kills, one ace, 59 digs and 9.5 blocks.
Arkansas State was paced by 14 kills in 47 swings from Carlisa May. The Red Wolves hit .091 and finished with 29 kills, one ace, 39 digs and 9.0 blocks.
Scores of the match in favor of CU were 25-19, 25-21, 25-22. It was Creighton’s second 3-0 sweep of the day, joining a blanking of Arkansas State earlier in the morning.
“NC State is incredibly physical and they have some big time hitters so serving was really key, and I thought we served a good match,” said Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth. “They hit at a higher clip than I would like but I thought we hit at a really high clip as well. There’s still many things to work on but I like the trajectory of this group and I think NC State has a chance to be really good later this year as they continue to improve.”
Creighton (3-2) won the first set over NC State thanks to .438 hitting. CU put down 17 kills, including seven from Jaali Winters and four from Kloth’s. Kloth’s second kill of the match provided CU with a 9-6 lead and made her the 14th player in program history to reach 1,000 in her career. The Bluejays pulled away from a 16-13 lead with six straight points on Madelyn Cole’s serve. North Carolina State saved four set points before a Kloth kill closed out CU’s 25-19 victory.
“Taryn’s a special player,” noted Booth. “She’s got one of the best arms that we’ve had at Creighton and with her height it makes for a player that’s difficult to stop. It’s exciting to see her develop over the last four years into one of best outside hitters in THE country and I hope she has the amazing senior season that she deserves.”
The Bluejays won their fifth consecutive set to start the weekend with a 25-19 victory in the second set. CU never trailed in the frame, hitting .345 and getting five kills from Kloth. CU compiled four different scoring runs of three or longer to slowly move ahead, and won the set on a serving error by NC State (2-2).
Creighton closed out a close sweep, scoring four in a row late in the third set to move ahead 22-17. Freshman Jaela Zimmerman, who had season-highs with eight kills and four blocks, had consecutive rejections to key the surge. The Bluejays squandered three match points before closing out the victory on an NC State attack error.
Kloth led all players with 14 kills in the match, while Naomi Hickman had a career-high seven blocks. The Bluejays hit .337 with 41 kills, four aces, 42 digs and eight blocks on .337 hitting overall.
NC State was led by 13 kills from Jade Parchment. The Wolfpack hit .237 and had 46 kills, one ace, 38 digs and four blocks.
Creighton concludes action in Dallas on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., against tournament host SMU.