OMAHA, Neb. — Down a set and trailing 20-14, the No. 14 Creighton Volleyball team showed its grit with a 3-1 comeback victory over Iowa State on Friday, Sept. 7.
Scores of the match in favor of CU were 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, 25-16, as the Bluejays improved to 5-3 on the year and dropped the visiting Cyclones to 5-2.
Taryn Kloth had 23 kills and fellow All-American outside hitter Jaali Winters provided a career-best 26 digs to go with 15 kills for her 47th career double-double. Creighton recorded 57 kills, five aces, 79 digs and 9.0 blocks on .176 hitting.
Iowa State was led by 16 kills and 17 digs by Jess Schaben, and 25 digs from Hali Hillegas. ISU hit .156 and had 49 kills, three aces, 77 digs an 13.0 blocks.
The Cyclones opened the match with a 25-22 victory thanks to a 5-2 blocking advantage. The Cyclones scored four in a row on Piper Mauck’s serve to move in front 13-9, and clinched the set on a kill by Avery Rhodes. Kloth had five kills for CU, which hit just .054 thanks to 10 attack errors in 37 swings.
The Bluejays looked out of sorts through much of the second set before rallying. Trailing 12-10, CU inserted newcomers Megan Sharkey and Kari Zumach while switching to a 6-2 offense. The deficit stretched to 18-11 and 20-14 before the tide turned. Madelyn Cole brought CU within two points after a 4-0 serving run that included a pair of kills from Kloth. After a sideout, freshman Annika Welty served up a 3-0 run that knotted the score at 22. The teams traded three straight sideouts to give ISU a set point opportunity at 24-23, but Iowa native Megan Ballenger sliced a kill through the heart of the defense to even the score. Ballenger and Zumach combined on a block to get CU to set point, and an errant set by ISU evened the match at intermission.
Creighton scored the first four points of the third set and never relented. The Cyclones would eventually close to within one at 20-19 before a Ballenger kill and Ballenger/Zumach combo block pushed the lead back to 22-19. Zumach had her fourth kill of the third set to give CU 2-1 lead in the contest. Winters had 11 of her career-high 26 digs in the third set.
Cole unleashed a 6-0 serving run in the fourth set to provide CU with a 12-9 lead, and Kloth followed a short time later with a 4-0 run of her own to grow the margin to 16-10. CU went ahead 20-12 on a kill from Ballenger, and eventually closed the match on a Cyclone attack error. Winters (6) and Kloth (5) combined for 11 of CU’s 13 kills in the final frame and the Bluejay defense limited ISU to .027 hitting.
Iowa State meets Wichita State on Saturday at 4 p.m. as play continues in the Bluejay Invitational. Creighton returns to the court on Sunday at 2 p.m. when it hosts Wichita State.