Creighton senior Jaela Zimmerman set a career high with 21 kills, leading the Jays to a 3-1 win over Illinois on Saturday at Sokol Arena.
The Jays (8-1) looked impressive early and built a 2-0 lead with a couple convincing set wins. But the Illini responded well.
CU erased a 23-20 deficit in the third set and held off three set points before Illinois (5-3) won the game. The fourth set was a battle after the Illini used an 8-0 run to erase a 23-16 deficit — the action went back and forth as the score climbed into the 30s.
“We were focusing on passing, and just taking a deep breath and knowing that we’ve got each other’s backs,” Davis said. “And hyping each other up.”
But Creighton secured three straight points to clinch Set 4, getting kills from junior Keeley Davis and senior Annika Welty and winning on an Illinois attack error.
The 25-18, 25-16, 25-27, 33-31 victory for CU marked its first win over Illinois. The Jays had been 0-5 in this series.
Zimmerman recorded 10 kills in the fourth set and added 15 digs. Creighton had four other players finish with double-digit digs.