INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Fourteen kills in the final two sets from senior Taryn Kloth helped No. 10 Creighton Volleyball rally to earn a hard-fought 3-2 victory at Butler on Friday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Scores of the match in favor of Creighton were 25-19, 24-26, 28-30, 25-18, 15-11. It was the third straight match between the Bluejays and Bulldogs to go five sets, with Creighton winning each of those.
“Credit Butler. I thought they played a great match,” said Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth. “As we know they’re a great blocking team and they displayed that tonight. I thought as things started to go their way we got a little passive with our serving and that led to more problems because they were in system a lot. As we got more momentum in sets four and five we served better and that was critical. Obviously we’ll see things we need to do better, but we have an opportunity to learn from the match and I’m thankful we showed great grit to figure out a way to win.”
Creighton (11-4, 3-0 BIG EAST) won the first set, taking a 25-19 decision. The Bluejays raced to a 14-8 lead and never trailed again while holding Butler to -.071 hitting.
Butler (4-11, 1-2 BIG EAST) used a 5-0 run and led 14-8 midway through the second set, before the Bluejays switched to a 6-2 offense as Megan Sharkey and Kari Zumach that helped change CU’s luck. Creighton kept chipping away and eventually would use a 5-0 run of its own to build a 23-21 lead. Butler tied it on consecutive kills by Brooke Gregory, and after the teams’ traded three sideouts the Bulldogs won the frame on a back row attack error by the Bluejays. The call was disputed by the CU staff, but Hinkle Fieldhouse does not use the Challenge Review System and the Jays were unable to challenge set point. Butler, which tied a school-record with 23 blocks last Saturday at St. John’s, had six blocks in the second set and outblocked CU 16.5 – 4.0 overall.
Both teams had chances to take a 2-1 lead in the match before Butler ultimately won a 30-28 decision in a third set that featured 20 ties and eight lead changes.CU’s chance came with a 25-24 lead, but Butler extended the frame before the host Bulldogs eventually converted its fifth set point opportunity. Five different Bulldog players had multiple kills, including five from Melody Davidson.
Kloth had eight kills and an ace in the fourth set, a 25-18 win, to help CU force a fifth set. CU trailed 11-10 in the fourth before Kloth authored a 6-0 run that put the Jays in front for good.
The Jays fell behind 5-2 in the final set and still trailed 8-6 as teams switched benches before making their rally. CU evened the score at 9-all on an ace by Brittany Witt. Kills from Zumach and Kloth pushed the Bluejay lead to 12-10, and the Jays converted their second match point chance when Kloth’s 26th kill hit off a defender before soaring into the crowd to end the contest. It was her sixth kill of the set
“The last half of the match Taryn (Kloth) played all six rotations and she was a force in the front and back row,” noted Booth. “(Brittany) Witt was covering a lot of ground as well. In a five-game match that wasn’t very offensive for either team, there were a lot of long rallies.”
Kloth’s 26 kills tied her career-high previously done on Sept. 6 vs. Nebraska, while her 17 digs were a career best, as the reigning BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week had her first double-double of the season. Witt added a season-best 27 digs. Creighton had 59 kills, five aces, 90 digs and four blocks on .182 hitting.
Butler was led by 10 kills each from Natalie Ravenell, Shanice Horn and Bri Lilly. Lilly added 11 blocks. The Bulldogs hit .168 and finished with 52 kills, three aces, 74 digs and 16.5 blocks.
Creighton returns to action on Saturday at 4 p.m. Central with a match at Xavier.