SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Creighton was simply too much.
The Bluejays rolled in the first two sets, then rallied from a 19-12 deficit in the third to down Wichita State 25-18, 25-20, 25-23 in the championship match of the Missouri Valley Conference Volleyball Tournament on SAturday at Hammons Student Center.
The tournament title is the first for Creighton, to go with the first regular-season title the Bluejays won last week.
And Saturday’s match was a far cry from the five-set epic Creighton took from Wichita State nine days ago on the Shockers’ home court.
“I never felt we had any energy,” WSU coach Chris Lamb said. “Big picture, we came in trying to win this and improve our status (for the NCAA Tournament), and I feel we did that. But we were flat tonight and I’m not happy about it.”
The Shockers had 22 kills and 20 hitting errors in the first two sets, hitting just .026 as Creighton controlled thing at the net with 10 blocks.
“Wichita State is too good to be in system. If they’re in system, they’re almost impossible to stop because they have so many weapons,” Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “Against both Missouri State and Wichita State last weekend, we got exploited on some blocking fundamentals. So we got in the film room and said ‘we need to fix this.’ ”
MVC defensive player of the year Kelli Browning had four blocks for the Bluejays (28-3). Michelle Scner added three. Five Bluejays finished with more than one block.
It was enough to slow down WSU, which hit .076 for the match. Ashlyn Driskill led the Shockers with nine kills while Emily Adney had eight and Chelsey Feekin finished with seven and Ashley Andrade had six.
Feekin added 21 assists and 14 digs and was named to the all-tournament team along with Elizabeth Field.
WSU did its best to extend the match in the third set, bolting to a 7-2 lead, and led 19-12 on a kill from Adney.
It was still a 21-15 lead for the Shockers when Creighton scored three straight to get within 21-18, and after a Bluejays hitting error made it 22-18, Creighton concluded the match with a 7-1 run and ended the match with a service ace.
Leah McNary led Creighton with 11 kills on .333 hitting. Melanie Jereb added 10 kills. Valley player of the year and tournament MVP Megan Bober finished eight kills, 26 assists, 10 digs and two blocks.
Still, Lamb felt, the Shockers (22-9) had done enough to assure themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament. The selection show starts at 3 p.m. today on ESPNU.
The Shockers came into the MVC Tournament squarely on the tournament bubble, but wins over Missouri State in the first round and Northern Iowa in the semifinals, along with the five-set loss to Creighton last week, helped bolster WSU’s resume.
“You’ll have to give me a good argument why we’re not better than some of these other bubble teams,” Lamb said. “I think we’re better than Santa Clara. I think we’re better than UNI. If we don’t get in, I’ll have a tough time understanding the committee’s math.”