The Saint Louis volleyball team fell to Creighton 22-25, 18-25, 21-25 in its home opener at Chaifetz Arena on Friday evening. Despite 11 serving errors by the Bluejays, the Billiken offense struggled in its first match of the Marcia E. Hamilton Active Ankle Challenge.
The Billikens were the first team to gain a significant advantage in the opening set. With Andrea Beaty at the service line, SLU put together a 6-0 run. Carly Marcum’s kill knotted the score at 4-4 before a Bluejay hitting error and a Beaty service ace put the Bills up 6-4. Megan Boken added back-to-back kills before another hitting error by Creighton completed the spurt.
The Bluejays responded with a 5-0 run to pull even at 9-9. Saint Louis was down 11-10 when a CU serving error kicked off a four-point run, which included an Ashely Gaillot ace and a kill from Alyssa Deno. The Billikens held onto a two to three-point lead until the Bluejays came storming back with a 4-0 charge to move ahead 20-18. SLU got as close as one point on two occasions but was never able to pull even.
Set two got away from the Billikens quickly as Creighton raced out to a 6-0 lead powered by three kills from Alicia Runge. A kill from Marcum and a Bluejay hitting error got SLU on the board. Saint Louis managed to stay within four points before CU broke away. Creighton’s advantage grew as large as eight points in set two. The Bills had just six kills in the second set along with five hitting errors.
In the third set, the teams endured 11 ties before either squad led by more than two points. A Boken kill broke a 15-15 stalemate and the Bills earned their largest lead of the set when a Creighton hitting error was followed by an ace by Beaty to make it 18-15. A double block by the Bluejays halted the rally before Hannah Kvitle recorded a kill to keep the margin at 19-16.
But Creighton scored the next seven points to take control of the set. Neither team hit well in the third set with the BIllikens managing just eight kills to go with 10 errors and Creighton posting 11 kills and nine errors.
Deno recorded a team-high seven kills to go with a career-high 15 digs. Boken chipped in six kills and a team-best 16 digs, while Marcum tallied five kills and a career-best four blocks. Kvitle dished out 23 assists, while Andrea Bolt and Beaty added 12 and 10 digs, respectively. Runge led all players with 15 kills, while Karisa Almgren added 12 kills.
Megan Bober finished with a double-double of 37 assists and 11 digs. Meanwhile, Nayka Benitez registered a match-high 18 digs and Savannah Smith put up a match-best seven blocks.
In the tournament opener, Wake Forest downed Iowa 25-19, 25-18, 21-25, 25-22. Kadija Fornah led the Demon Deacons with a match-high 17 kills and completed a double-double with 11 digs. Rachael Bedell paced the Hawkeyes with 12 kills, while Mallory Husz added 11.
SLU returns to action this morning at 9:30 against Wake Forest.