Broncos Win Classic Match in Five Sets
Broncos extend win streak to four with win over Spartans.
 
BOISE, Idaho - Boise State volleyball won a classic five-set battle Friday night over San Jose State in the fourth match of the day in the Boise State Invitational at Bronco Gym. The match was a battle from the first serve to the last point as the Broncos held off their former Western Athletic Conference rival Spartans for the 3-2 win. Liz Harden had an outstanding match hitting .389 with a season-high 26 kills. The 23-25, 25-19, 25-19, 24-26, 16-14 victory was the second of the day and fourth straight for Boise State as it improved to 5-4 on the year.

"This was a great match for us, it was exciting to play and for the fans to watch," said coach Shawn Garus. "That is what collegiate volleyball is all about. I was really proud of the way our team battled tonight with all the momentum swings. They were pushed to the end and hung in there for a great win. I was really happy with (Liz) Harden's performance tonight, she was solid throughout."

The match opened with a tightly contested first set that went back and forth before the Spartans rallied to claim a 25-23 win. The set saw 13 ties and eight lead changes as the two teams battled to the wire. Boise State rallied from three down to take a 23-19 lead only to see San Jose State score the final six points for the victory.

Boise State came out fast in the second set as the Broncos scored the first two points and four of the first five to take the momentum. They never trailed in the set and led by as many as seven points. Boise State hit .257 percent in the set and was led by Harden who hit .400 with five kills in the frame.

Set three opened with San Jose State taking the early lead. With the set tied at 10 Boise State started to take control maintaining a two to three point lead for most of the way. Late in the frame Boise State stretched its advantage to six points on two occasions, the first at 20-14 and the last came at the end with a 25-19 win. Harden led the Broncos with five kills in the set as Boise State took a 2-1 match lead.

San Jose State led most of the way during set four eventually taking it 26-24. The Spartans maintained a two to three point advantage for the majority of the period. Late in the set Boise State rallied to tie it at 20. The teams then traded points and were tied at 24 when San Jose State managed to score the final two points for the win, tying the match at 2-2. Harden hit .404 percent with nine kills to lead the Broncos.

The decisive set saw the Broncos jump out to a 3-0 lead and then maintain a small advantage until the Spartans tied it at 7-7. Once again the teams started to trade points. With Boise State up 10-9 the two teams began a series of two-point runs. San Jose State struck first taking an 11-10 lead. They exchanged the lead four times and were tied at 14-14 when the Broncos clinched the match on two-consecutive points to close it out for a 16-14 victory in set five. Harden led in kills with three, while Brittany Reardon and Taylor Murphey came up big combining for three blocks late in the set.

Harden finished the night hitting .389 percent with a season-high 26 kills, one short of her personal record. Gammel was next with 12 kills to go with one service ace, 12 digs and three blocks. Fiona Jones added nine kills, 14 digs and one block followed by Leah Stevens with eight kills and four blocks. Reardon chipped in seven kills and team-high five blocks. Casey Rose led in assists with a season-high 28, Sarah Baugh recorded 21. Kersti Whitney led the defense with 24 digs.

Boise State finished the night hitting .225 percent while holding San Jose State to .195. The Broncos had 70 kills, 60 assists, nine service aces, 73 digs and 9.5 blocks. The Spartans countered with 57 kills, 53 assists, four aces, 78 digs and 12 blocks. Alex Akana led the Spartans with 17 kills and five blocks followed by Mary Alice O'Reilly with 13 kills and team-high six blocks.

The Broncos will be back in action Saturday afternoon in the final match of the Boise State Invitational when they take on future Big West rival UC Irvine for the tournament championship. The Anteaters also went 2-0 today defeating San Jose State 3-1 and Southern Utah 3-0.

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