Creighton (9-6, 3-0 BIG EAST) dominated the first set from the outset, with its only deficit early on at 2-1. Strong early play from Lydia Dimke helped Creighton surge to a 9-4 lead, and it was extended to 13-7 before the Musketeers called a timeout. The margin grew to 19-10 before a Musketeers comeback got the hosts within four at 22-18, only to see CU pull away down the stretch in the 25-18 win. Dimke had 10 assists and four kills in the frame, while Taryn Kloth had five kills to lead all players. CU hit .343 in the first set while holding XU to .179 hitting.
The Bluejays appeared in control of the second set after taking a 17-12 lead, only to see Xavier (7-9, 1-2 BIG EAST) respond with an 8-1 run to move ahead 20-18. From there, Jaali Winters took over. Winters had three kills in the next four points as CU fought back to even, and Dimke’s season-high eighth kill of the match closed out the 7-3 Bluejay run to end the second set.
After the match, Creighton head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth was happy with how her team responded after Xavier took the lead.
“i was really pleased with how we handled that,” said Booth. “We stayed composed and confident the whole time with what we were doing. We hit and served aggressively. End game is something we’ve been working on, and how we finished game two was huge.”
Creighton raced to a 5-2 lead in the third set and later used a 7-0 Brittany Witt serving run to push the lead to 15-6 en route to the sweep.
Creighton hit .337 in the match and finished with 45 kills, 41 digs and three blocks, in addition to four aces and just one serving error. Xavier finished with 38 kills, two aces, 30 digs and three blocks on .186 hitting.
“I think their game plan was to shut down our middles, and that allowed our outsides to get single block scenarios. Jaali and Taryn did a great job to step up to that challenge,” noted Booth.
Winters, the Preseason BIG EAST Player of the Year, led CU with 16 kills in 27 swings to hit a season-best .519 and outduel Xavier’s reigning BIG EAST Player of the Year, Abbey Bessler. Bessler finished with eight kills and three digs on .154 hitting to pace the Musketeers.
Dimke recorded 31 assists, six digs and a season-high nine kills on .727 hitting for CU, while Kloth also added nine kills in the win. Megan Ballenger topped CU with 11 digs, while Marysa Wilkinson had a team-best three blocks.
Creighton returns to the court on Saturday when it heads to historic Hinkle Fieldhouse to take on Butler in a match in Indianapolis that will begin at 5 pm Central. The match will have live stats, but will not have live audio or video.