Boise State Wins Classic Over CSU 3-2

Nov. 16, 2016

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BOISE, Idaho  - In a battle for first place in the Mountain West Boise State volleyball rallied from 2-1 down to win a classic battle with seven-time defending champion Colorado State in five 25-23, 27-29, 10-25, 25-13, 15-10 to take control of the league race with two matches remaining.

In front of a sell out, standing room only crowd of 1,461 fans in Bronco Gym Sierra Nobley and Maddy O’Donnell led the team combining for 38 kills with 21 and 17, respectively.

“I’m really proud of the effort from everybody,” head coach Shawn Garus said. “I feel like our team did a great job of playing with the expectation that they were going to win. Last year when we had Colorado State here, we probably over-celebrated at times and overly hung our head at times. Today was just a really steady, solid performance. Even though we didn’t play our best in the third set, I thought the team was just showing a lot of maturity and a lot of confidence.”

The first win over Colorado State in the series breaks the tie a top the league standings and propels the Broncos into sole possession of first place at 14-2 and 23-6 overall. The victory extends Boise State’s win streak to 12.

The victory in the lone meeting of the year between the two teams gives Boise State the tiebreaker with CSU heading into the final two matches of the regular season. All the Broncos need to do now is win one of its last two contests Friday at Wyoming or next Tuesday at home versus Air Force to earn its first ever berth into the NCAA Tournament.

“We do have the drivers seat right now, but we still need to do our job, we need to refocus,” Garus commented. “We travel tomorrow for a really tough Wyoming team and then come back home to play our last match against Air Force on Tuesday. It’s not going to be easy. I think the girls will be so fired up that it will be hard to refocus, but it’s the next task for this team, and they’ve overcome everything else so far, so I’m confident we’ll find a way to get it done.”

Nobley recorded her 16th double-double of the season with a team-high 21 kills to go with 13 digs. The junior from Scottsdale, Ariz., also recorded a team-high three service aces to go with two block assists.

O’Donnell followed with a season-high 17 kills while hitting an impressive 50 percent against one of the top defensive teams in the league. She added three assists, eight digs and two block assists in the winning effort.

Tied at 4-4 in the first set, Boise State rolled off a 10-3 run to take momentum in the period up 14-7. Up seven several times the Broncos were forced to hold off the Rams who refused to go away as they battled back to within one twice including at 24-23.

Boise State’s Nobley put the set away with a big smash that went off the block for the decisive point. Nobley had eight kills in the opening period including the final two points for Boise State.

With set two tied at 2 all, Boise State rolled off another run at 6-1 to take a 9-3 lead, then extended it out to seven at 14-7. The blue and orange led 17-11 when Colorado State rallied taking 22-19 lead on a 11-2 run.

The two teams went back and forth going into extra points where the Broncos had four set points only to see CSU rally for a 29-27 victory.

The third set was all Colorado State as the Rams used a 9-2 run to break a 5-5 tie and turn it into a 14-7 advantage. Boise State never recovered falling 25-10.

“We got blown out in the third set, and our team didn’t panic at all,” said Garus. “I took out our setter and told her to relax and that she was going back in and that we were winning this match. They believed it completely. I told the girls that were on the sideline once it got to 23, 24 to keep it positive when we go to the other side. Nobody panicked and we came back and blew them out in the fourth set to take the momentum back. It’s a sign of a mature team that they can get their butts kicked at home and come right back without skipping a beat and play even better.”

Boise State rallied to win the fourth set in impressive fashion 25-13. O’Donnell recorded six kills while hitting 50 percent in the period and had one block. Sabryn Roberts added five kills, while Nobley tallied all three of her service aces in the set to go with two kills and one block.

“Welcome to college volleyball,” said Garus. “The momentum can change at any moment. I thought Colorado State served well. We looked a little rattled during the third set. It’s unfortunate with this rally style of scoring that there are not a lot of comebacks. When we’re down eight, nine points, it’s kind of over at that point. We just tried to stayed composed and be ready for the next set, and the girls believed in that. We talked about that in practice, we simulate that in practice and the girls executed that tonight.”

Roberts finished the contest with 14 kills and two digs. Janell Walley turned in her first career double-double and was the fourth Bronco to reach double-figure kills with 10 in addition to 15 digs. The freshman hit 42.9 percent against the Rams and had four blocks.

The fifth set was tight initially as the teams traded points. Tied at six all, Boise State began to surge with a 4-0 run to go up 10-6. Walley had two kills and a block during the run to spark the Broncos.

Before Colorado State know it the Boise State run had stretched out to 8-1 and the Broncos were staring at match point up 14-7. CSU attempted to rallied pulling to within 14-10 when Nobley put the match away with a cross court smash to hand the set 15-10 and match 3-2 to Boise State.

Kaitlyn Oliver tallied six kills and tied Walley for the team-high in blocks with four.

Jaymee-Lee Bulda dished out a career-high 58 assists as the team hit 28.4 percent versus Colorado State who has been holding teams to 17.2 percent on the year. Bulda also had two kills, one service ace and eight digs in the win.

Maddi Osburn tallied a team-high 17 digs to give her a league high 500 on the year, the third most in program history. With two regular season contests remaining she is eying the school record for digs in a season which is 521.

In the Broncos first five-set match of the year, they finished with a season-high 70 kills off 68 assists, also a season best. Boise State had five service aces, 74 digs and six blocks.

Colorado State countered by hitting 21.3 percent for 54 kills on 49 assists. The Rams turned in eight service aces, 64 digs and 11 blocks. Jasmine Hanna led CSU with 20 kills and five blocks, followed by Kirstie Hillyer with 11 kills and four blocks.

“I thought the crowd was great, as good as I’ve seen in Bronco Gym,” Garus said. “I was really excited so many people came out to see that style of volleyball. The level of athletes on both sides was really special. I’m pretty sure this was the biggest moment for Boise State volleyball, maybe ever. I’m really proud this group of athletes has a chance to accomplish something that nobody else has done here, maybe hang a banner someday. That would be really special and I’m really proud of everyone in our program.”

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