DENVER – The University of Denver volleyball team pushed No. 24 Creighton to the brink, as it rallied from a 2-0 deficit, before eventually falling 3-2 in five sets (25-22, 25-18, 21-25, 23-25, 15-11) on Friday night at Hamilton Gymnasium.
The Pioneers (5-4) have dropped three consecutive matches – all three against opponents either ranked in the AVCA Top 25 or receiving votes, while the Blue Jays improve to 7-1 overall.
DU kept the first set close, leading 9-7 after the first 16 points, prior to Creighton going on a six-point run. The Blue Jays would rally to triumph 25-22 in the opening stanza. Senior Brea Muhle (Columbus, Neb.) paced Denver with four kills in the first frame and a .500 kill percentage.
The Pioneers opened the second game scoring the first two points and leading 5-4 after the opening nine, as they capitalized on some early Creighton miscues. The Jays would go on to score five straight points to bring the score to 9-6. Sophomore Sarah Schmid (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) would keep Denver in striking distance with three blocks in the set, but Creighton proved to be too much and claimed the victory 25-18.
Denver would begin to fight back with its 25-21 win in the third. Junior Bailey Karst (Aurora, Colo.) recorded 12 assists in the third stanza to help the Pioneers pull within a game of the Blue Jays. The Crimson and Gold rallied from an 8-4 deficit early on and trailed by as many as five before taking the set.
Senior Colleen King (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) would lead the Pioneers in the fourth set with five kills as DU won it 25-23. Both teams kept the frame close as neither team led by more than four points.
Denver’s upset bid over Creighton came to an end in the decisive fifth set, falling 15-11. DU scored the first two points of the set and led 7-6 after 13 points. Creighton would clinch the match on a kill by Jess Bird.
King paced Denver with a match-high 16 kills, hitting .308 (16-4-39) overall. Muhle finished hitting .389 (10-3-18) for the Pioneers.
The Blue Jays were led by Leah McNary, who ended the night with a team-high 15 kills.
Denver goes on to host Cal State Northridge to on Saturday, Sept. 14 to close out the Denver Invitational at 3 p.m. (MT).
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