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Creighton Athletics | September 4, 2021

Creighton volleyball hands defending champion Kentucky first loss as Booth earns 500th career win

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Creighton volleyball handed the defending national champion its first loss of the season as the Bluejays swept No. 3 Kentucky on Saturday morning at the Bluegrass Battle in Lexington, Ky. The win was Kirsten Bernthal Booth's 500th as a collegiate head coach.

Scores of Creighton's fourth straight victory over Kentucky were 25-19, 25-22, 27-25. The victory also matches Creighton's best start in history (5-0), which was also done in 2006.

The win over No. 3 Kentucky matches the highest-ranked team that Creighton has ever beaten, having also won at No. 3 Washington in 2017.

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Creighton dominated the first frame to hand Kentucky its first set loss of the season, hitting .372 while pounding 19 kills in a 25-19 victory in the opener. Keeley Davis authored a 6-0 serving run to put the Jays in front 14-7, and Naomi Hickman was part of three blocks down the stretch as the Jays held off UK. Norah Sis led CU with seven kills, Kendra Wait dished 14 assists and Abby Bottomley added seven digs for the Bluejays.

The second set featured 14 ties before Creighton pulled away late. With the score deadlocked at 21 all, Jaela Zimmerman gave CU the lead with her ninth kill of the day. The Jays went up two on a Reagan Rutherford hitting error that withstood a UK challenge, and Sis pounded her 11th kill to get the Jays to set point. Zimmerman's back row kill gave CU the 25-22 win and 2-0 lead in the match. Creighton had 17 kills and hit .333 in the second frame, and Zimmerman had seven kills in the game.

Creighton blitzed to a 10-3 lead early in the third set, but a 5-0 run late in the frame helped Kentucky retake a 21-19 lead. The Wildcats led 23-20 before the Jays countered with a run of their own. Abby Bottomley's ace knotted the score at 23 and forced UK's final timeout. Creighton survived a Kentucky set point on a kill from Zimmerman, then earned its first match point on Zimmerman's match-high 18th kill of the day. Kentucky delayed CU's celebration momentarily with a block to tie it at 25, but kills from Kiana Schmitt and Sis ended the match, as the Jays knocked off a defending national champion for the first time in program history.

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Sis and Zimmerman each posted double-doubles for Creighton in the win.

Creighton returns to the court tonight at 4 p.m. CT when it closes Bluegrass Battle action with a match vs. Northern Iowa.

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