OMAHA, Neb. — The six-time BIG EAST champion Creighton Volleyball team will appear in the NCAA Tournament for the eighth straight season, and ninth time overall, when it takes on Iowa State (17-11) at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, in Minneapolis, Minn. The field of 64 was announced on Sunday night on ESPNU.
Creighton (24-5, 17-1 BIG EAST) earned the program’s first at-large bid since 2013, and third in program history (also 2010), after a season that saw the Bluejays defeat four top-15 teams and win a sixth consecutive regular-season BIG EAST title.
The winner of the Creighton/Iowa State match-up will meet the winner of Friday’s 7 p.m. match between site host and No. 7 national seed Minnesota (23-5) and Fairfield (24-5). Saturday’s Second Round match will take be held at 7 p.m.
Ranked 10th nationally, Creighton will be making its ninth NCAA Tournament appearance in school history, all in the last 10 years. With tonight’s announcement, the Bluejays become the school’s first women’s squad in any sport to reach eight consecutive NCAA Tournaments, and it marks the 33rd straight academic year that Creighton Athletics boasts at least one NCAA Tournament qualifier. Creighton is 10-8 all-time in the NCAA’s, including a 2016 Elite Eight trip and a 2015 Sweet 16 appearance.
The Bluejays are led by 2019 BIG EAST Coach of the Year Kirsten Bernthal Booth, who owns a 370-170 mark in her 17th year at Creighton. Creighton had five women earn All-BIG EAST honors, including Megan Ballenger (2.13 kps., .308%, .98 bps.), Madelyn Cole (11.09 aps., 2.62 dps.), Keeley Davis (3.28 kps.), Brittany Witt (5.09 dps.) and Jaela Zimmerman (3.11 kps., 2.36 dps.). Witt was named BIG EAST Libero of the Year, while Davis was a unanimous BIG EAST Freshman of the Year selection.
The Cyclones finished the regular season 17-11, 8-8 in Big 12 play. Sophomore right side Eleanor Holthaus leads the ISU offense with 3.24 kills per set, which she gets at .255 hitting. Junior middle blocker Candelaria Herrera is one of the most efficient hitters in the Big 12, ranking fourth in the league with her .317 hitting percentage, from which she produces 2.22 kills per set. Her fellow middle, redshirt sophomore Avery Rhodes, leads ISU with 1.06 blocks per set.
Creighton is 5-5 all-time against the Cyclones. The teams last met in the regular-season last year in Omaha, a 3-1 Bluejay victory. Creighton defeated Iowa State in five sets in 2010 in the only previous NCAA Tournament match-up in a match that also took place in Minneapolis.
The BIG EAST had three teams make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015, as Marquette joined Creighton with an at-large bid after both teams lost to automatic qualifier St. John’s in the BIG EAST Championships over the weekend in Milwaukee.