The Creighton volleyball team took one more step forward towards the NCAA Tournament as they dominated Wichita State in the MVC Tournament semifinals with a 25-21, 25-19, 17-25, 25-12 victory. We were there to cover the action with our live blog. They now advance to Saturday’s finals against Northern Iowa who took out Illinois State in the second semifinal.
“It’s a huge win, not only because we played very well, but we advance to the Valley championship, and we hope this will solidify our bid for the NCAA Tournament,” said head coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth after the win.
Allie Oelke led the way with 16 kills and Nayka Benitez had a season high 33 digs. Alicia Runge and Karisa Almgren had 11 and 10 kills respectively while Megan Bober had 43 assists. Almgren seemed to get the kills at the most important times for the Bluejays who have improved to 20-12.
Wichita State looked a little slow even after having a bye in the first round. It is hard to tell whether that helps or hurts a team. Coach Booth had her own view on it. “I think there are arguments both ways. But I think there is definitely something to be said to have a match under your belt. The flip side is that playing back to back and even playing three matches is even more fatiguing.”
A tough task may be in store for the Bluejays as they face Northern Iowa in Saturday’s final. UNI has not lost an MVC contest in two seasons and they play on their home court in the McLoed Center. The Bluejays are also 3-37 against the Panthers. “We actually played them tough at our place and was 27-25 in two of the three. We will have to matchup well defensively and then come strong offensively.”
The Bluejays advance to the MVC tournament title game for the first time in school history. They are also looking for their first trip to the NCAA Tournament which they can achieve with the MVC Tournament title. If the Bluejays lose on Saturday, they still have an outside chance of getting into the NCAA Tournament with an RPI headed into this weekend of 39 and defeating Wichita State, which was sitting at 18.
Creighton fans can watch the game on Fox Sports Midwest on Saturday at 3:30. For those in Omaha, it can be seen on Cox Channel 2.