Creighton volleyball coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said outside hitter Natalie Hackbarth’s best quality is her high-energy presence on court, which in turn makes her teammates better.
The 6-foot-1 junior also displayed a powerful swing Friday evening as the Blue team picked up a convincing win over the White team in the Blue-White scrimmage at D.J. Sokol Arena. The Blue squad prevailed 25-17, 25-18, 25-20 in the first three sets, and then won 25-16 in an additional set.
Splitting time between both teams — as did eight of the 14 players — Hackbarth pounded 16 kills while hitting .351.
“The coaches have looked to me to step up a little bit more, which is a transition from last year considering I was in a supporting role last year,” said Hackbarth, who made 16 starts in 2011.
Booth said her team made some positive strides Friday, but also has work to do.
“I wanted them to play great defense, and I thought they did that,” Booth said. “I’ve got a whole list of things where we’ve got to get better, but for our first go-around I’m pleased with things.”
Creighton’s freshmen performed well in their first contest. Outside hitter Melanie Jereb of Cary, Ill., finished with eight kills and 19 digs, while defensive specialists Kate Elman and Ashley Jansen of Omaha Marian recorded 16 and 11 digs, respectively.
“(The freshmen) are stepping in and making big plays that we need, so it’s awesome having them step in and be ready to go,” said senior setter Megan Bober, who neared a triple-double with 36 assists, 11 digs and eight kills.
Bober said she is looking forward to the final week of the preseason and hopes to build off the scrimmage. The Jays play Central Florida, South Florida and Wisconsin next weekend in the University of South Florida Invitational.
“It’s exciting that we have a week of practice to work on the things we saw tonight and get better and get ready for next weekend,” Bober said. “We can still get a lot better.”
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