OMAHA, Neb. — Playing much of the match without senior captain and All-American Jaela Zimmerman, freshmen Norah Sis and Kendra Wait had double-doubles as the 20th-ranked and 14th seeded Creighton Volleyball team swept Ole Miss in the First Round of the 2021 NCAA Volleyball Tournament. Sis had 16 kills and 10 digs on .444 hitting while Wait owned 31 assists and 14 digs in their NCAA Tournament debuts.
Scores of the match were 25-21, 25-15, 25-13. The contest was the first NCAA Tournament trip since 2010 for Ole Miss (21-9), which is still seeking its first win in the postseason in four trips.
With the win, Creighton (31-3) advances to play Kansas (17-11) on Friday at 7 p.m. inside D.J. Sokol Arena. The Jayhawks swept Oregon (25-19, 25-21, 25-22) in the first match of the day in Omaha. Creighton and Kansas will be meeting for the third time in the NCAA Tournament (all in the Second Round), as KU won in four sets in 2013 and before CU won a five-set thriller in 2016. Both of those matches happened in Lawrence.
Creighton never trailed in the first set, building leads of 4-1 and 12-7. The Rebels closed within 22-20 late before Naomi Hickman and Sis came up big with a block of Katie Corelli to force an Ole Miss timeout. Wait followed with an ace to get to set point, which CU converted on its second chance when Ole Miss sailed a serve long. Sis had four kills in five swings and Zimmerman pumped in five more to headline a Creighton attack that hit .423. Ole Miss hit .312 and had five kills from Anna Bair.
Zimmerman was red-hot to open the second set with five kills within CU’s first eight points. But Zimmerman would be blocked to end a long rally with CU leading 10-9 and did not return after being helped off the court by medical personnel. A shaken Bluejay squad would be aced on the subsequent point but regrouped to move ahead 15-12 at the media timeout after a thunderous back row kill from Sis. CU’s defense stepped up down the stretch as the Bluejays took a 2-0 lead on a kill from Davis that made it 25-15. Creighton had 29 digs in the second set, including eight from Wait and seven by Abby Bottomley, as the Rebels hit just .043 in the frame.
The Bluejays cruised to a 9-2 lead to begin the third set, which included the 50th ace of the season from Keeley Davis, and didn’t look back, much to the delight of the crowd of 2,351. Sis had six kills and three digs in the finale and Bottomley had five more digs to move into a tie for eighth place in NCAA history with 2,694 career digs.
In addition to double-doubles by Wait (31 assists, 14 digs) and Sis 16 kills, 10 digs), Bottomley led all players with 15 digs and a pair of aces. Creighton had 46 kills, four aces, 49 digs and seven blocks on .358 hitting.
Ole Miss was led by 10 kills from Bair, while setter Kylee McLaughlin contributed 28 assists and 12 digs. The Rebels had 34 kills, three aces, 44 digs and three blocks on .148 hitting.