>> Video Below: CU coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth after the match
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Leah McNary pounded a career-high 23 kills on .458 hitting as No. 23 Creighton won a 25-20, 17-25, 25-27, 25-18, 15-13 thriller over Missouri State in front of 636 at the Hammons Student Center on Saturday.
The victory pushed the Bluejays’ winning streak to 14 matches and was their second five-set match in 24 hours. Creighton (26-3, 17-1 MVC) won at Wichita State in five sets Friday night.
The first set offered much in the way of offense. The teams combined for 30 kills and just 30 digs. Melanie Jereb served a 6-0 run that gave the Bluejays an 8-4 lead that they would not relinquish. McNary had six kills on six swings in the set, and Kelli Browning had four blocks as Creighton grabbed the early lead.
Missouri State called a timeout that would change the complexion of the second set. Down 12-9, the Bears went on a 12-4 run after the timeout and took the set 25-17.
Creighton turned a 19-14 deficit into a 24-23 lead in the third, but weren’t able to close it out. After some back-and-forth play tied the game at 25, Megan Bober was blocked at the net by Missouri State’s Andrea Beaty. Bober then had a handling error that resulted in a 27-25 loss for the Jays.
Creighton answered in the fourth set after falling behind 8-5. The Jays went on a 5-0 run that put them ahead for good. Ashley Jensen then engineered a 4-0 run that built Creighton’s lead to 16-11. Missouri State would get no closer than four points the rest of the way. Heather Thorson ended the 25-18 set with two consecutive kills.
The Jays struggled in the early parts of the deciding set, falling behind 8-5 as the team’s changed sides. Creighton would start its comeback two points later with the score 9-6. Bober responded after her struggles in the second set with a block that tied it at 10. The Jays took their first lead of the set when Missouri State committed an attack error to make it 12-11. After some responses from the Bears and a McNary kill, the score was again tied at 13. Thorson got a kill to get match point, and Jereb took advantage of a busted play to score the winner. The 15-13 set victory gave CU its 26th win of the season.
Besides the 23 kills from McNary, Browning had a double-double with 17 kills and 12 blocks. It was her fifth double-double of the season.
Jereb finished with 12 kills as Bober had a complete night with 48 assists, six digs, five blocks and four kills. Kate Elman had a team-best 27 digs.
Missouri State was led by Ashley Mason, who had a match-best 29 digs on the Bears’ senior night.
Creighton returns to Springfield next week for the Missouri Valley Conference tournament.
The Bluejays will start play Friday at 5 p.m. against the winner of the Southern Illinois/Illinois State matchup, which takes place Thursday.
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>> Video: CU coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth after the match: