- #13 Creighton def. Butler, 3-2 (21-25, 38-36, 25-19, 25-27, 15-11)
- Creighton improves to 22-5, 15-1 Big East; Butler falls to 21-7, 11-5 Big East
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Attendance: 539
- Box score
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – In what could be described as one of the more epic battles in the history of the Big East conference, Butler gave all it could in yet another 5-set match against Creighton, with the Bluejays coming out on top again, 3-2 (21-25, 38-36, 25-19, 25-27, 15-11). The Creighton victory secured at least a share of their fourth straight Big East title and fifth conference title in the last six years. Additionally, the Bluejays’ 124 points scored are tied for sixth most in NCAA history since the scoring format changed to 25 points per set in 2008.
Creighton was led offensively by Taryn Kloth with a season- and match-high of 19 kills, hitting .395 on the day. Jaali Winters pounded 16 kills and contributed 16 digs for a double-double. Winters also filled the stat sheet with 3 blocks, 3 assists and an ace. Marysa Wilkinson added 14 kills on the afternoon and had a match-high of 5 blocks. Wilkinson has now moved into 10th all-time in kills at Creighton with 1,117. Her 5 blocks also pushed her past 400 career blocks. Megan Ballenger added double-digit kills as well with 13. Lydia Dimke had a double-double of her own, dishing out 61 assists and digging 18 balls. Libero Brittany Witt had a match-high of 24 digs to lead the floor defense.
This was Butler’s second five-set loss to Creighton on the season, and has now lost nine straight to Creighton since winning their first ever match together in 2013. Both of Butler’s seniors had double-doubles on the day, with setter Makayla Ferguson distributing 60 assists and digging 12 balls, while outside hitter Whitney Beck hammered 15 kills and dug 17 balls to lead the floor defense. Junior outside hitter Anna Logan led the Bulldogs offensively with 17 kills and also had a double-double with 17 digs. Libero Taylor Takeda finished with 16 digs.
Courtesy of Creighton Athletics
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The No. 14 Creighton Volleyball team clinched a share of its fourth straight BIG EAST Conference title on Sunday with a hard-fought 3-2 victory at Butler. The Bluejays will have two opportunities to make it four outright titles in a row next weekend on a road trip to Villanova and Georgetown.
Scores of the match in favor of CU were 21-25, 38-36, 25-19, 25-27, 15-11. Creighton’s 124 points in the match are tied for sixth-most in NCAA history for a five-set match since the move to 25-point sets in 2008.
Butler led nearly the entire first set before Creighton took its only lead at 20-19 after three straight points that were capped by a block from Marysa Wilkinson and Taryn Kloth. Butler would answer with a 6-1 surge to end the set and take a 1-0 lead on CU.
The second set was, simply put, one of the most competitive in program history. The frame featured 29 ties and 13 lead changes before Creighton ultimately prevailed, 38-36. Creighton didn’t win it until its ninth set point chance, but not until saving five Butler chances to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Down 36-35, Wilkinson had a kill to tie the score and consecutive attack errors by the Bulldogs gave CU the victory. The set was the highest scoring set in CU history since the shift to 25-point sets in 2008, surpassing a 34-32 fourth set win over South Dakota on Sept. 20, 2014. Playing for South Dakota that day was Sydney Dimke, the sister of current Bluejay setter Lydia Dimke.
“It was epic,” said Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth. “I don’t think I’ve ever played or coached in one that long. It was awesome. Both teams were playing so clean. It wasn’t a matter of teams making errors. It was both teams stepping up, and that was impressive to see. Both teams had opportunities, but that was the difference in the match because if we go down 0-2 we’re in a world of hurt.”
Creighton used the momentum of the second set to win the third frame, racing to a 20-9 lead to claim a wire-to-wire 25-19 win.
Creighton went ahead 8-4 early in the fourth set, only to see Butler rally to claim a 16-15 lead for its first advantage since 36-35 in the second frame. CU squandered match point chances at 24-23 and 25-24, and the Bulldogs would win a 27-25 set to force a winner-take-all fifth set.
Creighton trailed 6-4 early in the fifth set, only to score the next six points on Brittany Witt‘s serve to take control. Butler saved three match points before the clinching point came via a Jaali Winters kill.
“The match was so back-and-forth, anytime you had an opportunity score a couple points, you had to seize it,” said Booth. “We were fortunate in the fifth game that happened for us. Brittany came out of the timeout to hit a serve that fell in on the baseline, and had that gone differently, things could have changed quickly.”
Kloth had season-highs with 19 kills and five blocks, hitting .395 while adding five digs. Winters (16 kills, 16 digs) and Dimke (61 assists, 18 digs) provided double-doubles, and Wilkinson (14) and Megan Ballenger (13) also had double-figure kills. Witt led the defense with 24 digs.
Creighton had 76 kills, seven aces, 80 digs, 10 blocks and hit .283 for the day.
Butler was led by 17 kills and 17 digs by Anna Logan, while Bri Lilly added 16 kills on .448 hitting. Also posting double-doubles were Makayla Ferguson (60 assists, 12 digs) and Whitney Beck (15 kills, 17 digs). BU had 72 kills, five aces, 79 digs and nine blocks on .238 hitting.
Creighton next plays at Villanova next Friday at 6 pm Central on BEDN.
“We’re thrilled to have at least a share of the BIG EAST title,” said Booth. “It’s been a goal for the team, but we want to earn it outright and just as important, we want to put ourselves in a position with the opportunity to host in the NCAA Tournament. Each of these games are critical for that to happen.”
Courtesy of Butler Athletics
INDIANAPOLIS – The marathon match between Butler and #14 Creighton ended with the Bluejays coming out on top 3-2 (21-25, 38-36, 25-19, 25-27, 15-11). Each Butler senior ended the match with a double-double performance, but the nationally-ranked Bluejays would use 7-0 scoring run in the fifth set to notch their 22nd win of the season. The setback moves Butler to 21-7.
The Butler Athletic Department recognized Makayla Fergusonand Whitney Beck before the match for Senior Day. Ferguson ended the day with a season-high 60 assists and 12 digs while Beck recorded 15 kills and 17 digs.
Joining Ferguson and Beck with a double-double performance was outside hitter Anna Logan. She led all players with 17 kills and 17 digs. BU also got a lift offensively from Bri Lilly who posted 16 kills.
Creighton was led by Jaali Winters with 16 kills and 16 digs. Lydia Dimke was also a huge factor in the outcome with 61 assists, 18 digs and seven kills. The Bluejays hit .283 as a team. Marysa Wilkinson and Megan Ballenger also reached a double figure kill total to help defeat Butler.
Butler set the tempo in the first set by claiming a 25-21 win. They broke a 21-21 tie to score the final four points of the opener and therefore grabbed the 1-0 lead.
The two evenly matched teams went above and beyond expectations in the second set. Neither team would flinch at 25-25 as the conference foes moved into extra points. The scoreboard moved all the way to 36-36 before the Bluejays would move forward.
Bri Lilly tried to find some room in the back left corner of the court, but her attempt missed long to give CU the one-point lead at 37-36. The set would go to Creighton on the next serve as Ferguson’s attempt to beat the Bluejay defense up the middle hit the net and moved to the floor.
Creighton not only tied the set at 1-1, but they were able to steal the momentum Butler had built up from Senior Day and winning the first set. The third set would feature a slow BU start as Creighton jumped out to a 5-1 lead. The Bulldogs would never lead in the third as Creighton moved up 2-1 with a 25-19 win.
A second slow start would follow in the fourth set, but the Bulldogs would fight back to knot the score at 9-9. Neither team would be able to pull away as the scoreboard read 25-25 in crunch time. Bri Lilly would come up huge by recording back-to-back kills which kept Butler alive for a fifth and final set.
The final set of the day started off with back-and-forth action, but a 7-0 scoring run would push Creighton on top 11-6. The five-point cushion was too much to overcome giving Creighton the 3-2 win.