#9 Creighton Bluejays Sweep Villanova

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Creighton Athletics No. 9 Creighton Volleyball won its 19th straight match with a 3-0 sweep over Villanova, advancing to Saturday's BIG EAST Championship title match against No. 16 Marquette.

Creighton (27-4) won by scores of 25-17, 25-17, 25-19 while tying a school-record with its 13th straight home win. Villanova is now 17-14.

Jaali Winters had 13 kills and 16 digs, and Taryn Kloth added a dozen kills to pace the Bluejay offense, and Naomi Hickman tied her career-high with nine kills and her season-high with .500 hitting. Brittany Witt finished with a match-high 22 digs and also served up two of CU's five aces. Creighton finished with 50 kills, 69 digs and nine blocks on .259 hitting.

Amanda Pedersen-Henry topped Villanova with eight kills. The Wildcats recorded 28 kills, two aces, 64 digs and six blocks on .088 hitting overall.

Named the BIG EAST Player of the Year on Wednesday, Winters had six kills and five digs to help Creighton take a 1-0 lead in the match. The senior had four kills as the Jays raced to a 14-6 lead, and her fifth kill gave CU a 17-7 advantage. The Wildcats answered with five consecutive points to draw close before Winters' sixth kill of the ended that run. The Wildcats saved a pair of set points before an attack error by Darcy Wolf helped CU take the lead with a 25-17 victory in set one.

The Bluejays bolted to an 8-1 lead to open the second set and maintained a lead of three or more the rest of the frame. Five different Bluejays had three or more kills, and even libero Brittany Witt had a kill after her diving save from the back row landed on the Nova side, untouched, for her first kill of the season. Creighton had 19 kills in the frame, with Madelyn Cole dishing 14 assists to quarterback the CU offense. Witt had nine of CU's 28 digs in the second set as CU held the Wildcats to .089 hitting.

The third set included five ties and four lead changes, but Creighton went ahead 11-10 on a kill from Hickman and never trailed again. Kloth had five kills and Hickman served up a pair of aces in the final frame as the Bluejays completed their school-record eighth straight sweep.

The win assures No. 9 Creighton will host No. 16 Marquette in a title game rematch of last year's five-set thriller won in Milwaukee by the Bluejays. This year Creighton swept MU in three sets in Omaha and outlasted the Golden Eagles in four sets at the Al McGuire Center. Marquette advanced to the final with a 3-1 win over third-seeded St. John's.

Saturday's title tilt will begin at 4:00 p.m. from D.J. Sokol Arena and be televised by FS2.