There were always going to be some bumps in the road for a Creighton team that moved veterans to new roles and is incorporating several newcomers.
The Bluejays found that out the hard way Wednesday, when they were swept by No. 3 Nebraska.
They got rattled at times, coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said, during that nationally televised match in front 11,000. She thought the players were tentative during tense moments — when they instead could have been aggressive. Senior Jaela Zimmerman said refocusing quickly when faced with in-match adversity will be an area of focus now, too.
“Obviously, you wish it wasn’t on this stage that you have to take your lumps, but we’ll learn from (Wednesday) night and we’ll be better for it,” Booth said.
The process has to happen quickly.
No. 19 Creighton (6-1) returns to action Friday, less than 48 hours removed from their first loss of the season.
The Jays first host SMU (2-3), which should be highly motivated after losses last weekend to No. 11 Oregon and Rice (receiving votes). Among those suiting up for the Mustangs will be setter Lily Heim (Omaha Marian) and Kaitlyn Knobbe (Omaha Duchesne).
On Saturday, CU plays Illinois and UNO. The Ilini (3-2) were picked seventh in the Big Ten preseason poll while the Mavs (2-3) pushed Nebraska to five sets last weekend.
So Creighton will have its hands full.
The Jays have to be ready. Zimmerman thinks they will be.
“These games are super important,” she said Wednesday night. “I think our team does a really good job of moving on. We’ll be fine.”
Friday’s match is set for 12:30 p.m. at Sokol Arena. It will be streamed via FloSports.