WICHITA, Kan. — Creighton showed signs of its potential but fell in five sets to No. 7 Hawaii on Friday night at the Shocker Volleyball Invitational.
Hawaii (10-1) edged the No. 23 Bluejays 25-17, 25-16, 19-25, 20-25, 15-9.
“I think we could be a great team, and we showed several sustained glimpses of that tonight,” Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said. “I’m aching because we were so close.”
The Bluejays (7-3) started slow in the first two sets, letting Hawaii go on runs with back-to-back errors. They came out with new energy in the third and fourth sets after Booth spoke to them at intermission.
“I told them we had way too many unforced errors,” she said. “We weren’t crisp. It was unacceptable.”
Booth said the team set a new standard for its level of play in sets three and four. The Bluejays stopped making little mistakes and reduced their mental errors.
“What they did, they now have to replicate in the future,” Booth said.
Creighton battled Hawaii point for point in the fifth set before the Rainbow Wahine stepped up with some big kills and great digs.
“That’s what great teams do,” Booth said.
Emily Hartong led Hawaii with 20 kills while hitting .311. Tai Manu-Olevao and Kalei Adolpho added 14 and 13 kills, respectively.
Leah McNary led the Bluejays with 12 kills while Lauren Smith and Jess Bird each contributed 10. Smith hit .348 and Bird .304.
Kelli Browning led the team with eight blocks, and Kate Elman had 19 digs.
Creighton piled up 26 blocks and six aces compared to Hawaii’s eight blocks. Hawaii hit .225 and Creighton .155.
The Bluejays face another tough match Saturday at 5 p.m. against South Dakota. Though the Coyotes lost in three sets to Hawaii, Booth said they played well.
Booth allowed herself to be pleased before she started to focus on South Dakota.
“I thought we showed great resilience,” she said. “We played a high level of volleyball.”
Hawaii (10-1) .............................. 25 25 19 20 15
Creighton (7-3) ............................ 17 16 25 25 9
Hawaii (kills-aces-blocks): Vorster 5-0-2, Manu-Olevao 14-0-1, Uiato 1-0-1, Mendoza 0-0-0, Hartong 20-2-1, Adolpho 13-0-2, Long 0-0-0, Goodman 0-0-0, Tuaniga 1-0-0, Longo 0-0-0, Higgins 0-0-0, Taylor 8-0-1, Kastl 1-0-0. Total 63-2-8.
Creighton: Jereb 7-0-3, Browning 6-0-8, Sicner 6-0-5, McNary 12-0-3, Bird 10-1-2, Smith 10-0-5, Jansen 0-0-0, Neisler 0-2-0, Smith 0-0-0, Elman 0-0-0, Stivers 0-0-0. Total 51-6-26.