OMAHA, Neb. — The No. 9 Creighton Volleyball team saw its memorable 2018 season come to a close on Saturday night, falling in straight sets in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 22 Washington.
Scores in favor of the Huskies (20-12) were 25-19, 25-21, 25-23. With the win, Washington advances to play the No. 8 national seed, Penn State, next Friday. Match times and a site will be announced in the next 24 hours by the NCAA.
Creighton ends its season with a 29-5 record, tying the program record for wins in a season. The Bluejays had a 21-match win streak, as well as their school-record 15-match home win streak, snapped with the loss.
Washington trailed 17-15 in the first set after Madelyn Cole’s 50th ace of the season, only to respond with a 4-0 run. After the Jays worked to tie the score at 19, Washington closed the set on a 6-0 run that started with a kill by Claire Hoffman, was followed by three consecutive blocks by Lauren Sanders, and concluded with consecutive aces by Shayne McPherson. The Huskies hit .333 in the first set and outblocked CU 5-0.
Washington rode the momentum of its opening set win to take control early in the second set. The Huskies got consecutive blocks by Avie Niece to move ahead 13-8 and kept a five-point edge to lead 19-14 before Kirsten Bernthal Booth‘s second timeout of the frame. The Bluejays went to their senior All-American outside hitters to attempt a rally. Two kills from Taryn Klothand another by Jaali Winters brought CU within two and prompt a UW timeout. A Huskies attack error gave CU a chance to tie before a Bluejay block error and ace from Maria Bogomolova gave the UW a three-point cushion once again at 21-18. Creighton saved one set point before a kill from Samantha Drechsel closed out UW’s 25-21 set two triumph. Drechsel had seven kills and two of UW’s 7.5 blocks in the second set win as the Huskies held CU’s potent offense to .079 hitting.
The third set saw Creighton leave it all on the line in an attempt to extend its season. The Huskies led 17-14 before four straight Bluejay points capped by a Kloth kill gave Creighton an 18-17 lead and brought the crowd to its feet. Kloth’s 10th and 11th kills came on consecutive points as CU’s lead stretched to 21-18. UW forced CU’s final timeout after narrowing the margin to one at 21-20, but Naomi Hickman and Kloth closed on a block to make it 22-20 and UW hit long as CU’s lead grew to 23-20. Washington got a reversal on a challenge, then Sanders had a solo stuff to even the score at 23-all. Another block by Sanders, and a kill by Dreschel saw the Huskies end the match on a 5-0 run.
Drechsel finished with a match-high 14 kills, while Sanders had a hand in eight blocks to pace UW. The Huskies hit .240 and had 41 kills, four aces, 48 digs and 14.5 blocks.
Creighton had 36 kills, seven aces, 39 digs and eight blocks on .113 hitting. Kloth led CU with 11 kills, and Brittany Witt finished with 15 digs.
The match marked the final contest for Bluejay seniors Samantha Bohnet, Taryn Kloth, Kelsey O’Connell and Jaali Winters. The quartet helped CU win four BIG EAST regular-season titles, four BIG EAST Tournaments, and 111 matches over a four-year span while helping the Jays to the program’s first Sweet 16 (2015) and Elite Eight (2016).