Creighton Wins Valley Tourney Opener

The fourth-seeded Creighton Volleyball team defended its home court with a 3-0 victory over fifth-seeded Drake on Thursday night before 922 fans at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
The win was Creighton’s (14-16) school-record 10th home victory of the season, and sets up a date with top-seeded Northern Iowa (28-2) on Friday at 6 pm. The Panthers, winners of 26 straight matches, have eliminated Creighton at the MVC Tournament each of the last four seasons.
Creighton won the first set going away, 25-14, before taking a 26-24 second set. CU clinched the match with a 25-22 victory.
The second set victory provided the Bluejays a boost and allowed them to take a 2-0 lead into intermission. Creighton led 22-19 before Drake used a 4-1 run to knot the score at 23. The Bulldogs would get a sideout with Creighton leading 24-23, but Laurel Sanford had a kill, then combined with Alicia Runge for a block to give CU a 2-0 lead.
Jessica Houts leads Creighton with 12 kills, while Megan Bober had 35 assists, seven digs and three blocks. Allie Oelke had her 12th double-double of the season, finishing with 10 kills and 12 digs. Oelke now owns a double-double in all four MVC Tournament matches of her career. Creighton finished with 43 kills, six aces, 59 digs and 10 blocks.
Creighton hit .246, while Drake hit .112 after a -.139 first set.
Drake (22-112) was keyed by nine kills each from Emily Heffernen and Angela Bys, while Alana Wittenburg had a match-best 18 digs in the back row. Drake had 37 kills, one ace, 53 digs and seven blocks on the evening.
This was Drake’s first appearance in the MVC Tournament since 1998.
Third-seeded Wichita State will play second-seeded Missouri State in the 4 pm semifinal. The Shockers advanced with a 3-1 victory over sixth-seeded Southern Illinois in the first quarterfinal of the holiday afternoon.