VILLANOVA, Pa. — No. 13 Creighton Volleyball’s quest for a fourth straight outright BIG EAST title will have to wait another day, as the visiting Bluejays lost for the first time in a more than a month at Villanova on Friday night. Scores of the match in favor of the Wildcats were 25-21, 26-24, 25-20.
Creighton drops to 22-6 on the year and is 15-2 in the BIG EAST Conference. Creighton can clinch its fourth straight outright title on Saturday with a win at Georgetown or a Marquette loss to DePaul. Both the Hoyas and Blue Demons are 2-15 in league play. Villanova’s win vaults the Wildcats into fourth place at 17-11 (10-7 BIG EAST). VU can clinch a spot in next week’s BIG EAST Championships with a victory on Saturday over Providence, which would earn the Wildcats a rematch with CU next Friday in Milwaukee.
Villanova was paced by 12 kills each from Allie Loitz and Amanda Pedersen-Henry. Loitz added 10 digs and Allison Fitzgerald dug 21 balls. The Wildcats had 49 kills, four aces, 58 digs and two blocks on .304 hitting.
Winters led Creighton with six kills and five digs in the first set, but it wasn’t enough to offset a Wildcat attack that hit .415 and produced 19 kills. Creighton took its only lead at 3-2 and eventually trailed by as much as 16-10. CU narrowed the gap within two at 22-20 but got no closer as a Darcy Wolf kill closed out the set.
Villanova overcame an early 8-3 hole in the second set to seize control of the match. Taryn Kloth‘s sixth kill of the set tied the frame for CU at 23-all. The teams then exchanged sideouts before ‘Nova rattled off the next two points to win a 26-24 set. Bohnet added eight digs for CU.
Marysa Wilkinson had five kills in the final set for CU, but it was too little too late after the Bluejays fell into a 13-4 hole. CU rallied to draw within 18-16, but that’s as close as it got down the stretch. The final three points of the match were service errors.
“I thought we saw a team that was playing for their life and they outworked us,” said Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth.
Creighton will close the regular-season on Saturday at 5 p.m. Central at Georgetown.