Broncos Claim Outright MW Championship
Nov. 22, 2016

 

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BOISE, Idaho- It was a night of celebration for the Boise State women’s volleyball team, Tuesday night at Bronco Gym.

The festivities began with a senior night celebration for middle blocker Maddy O’Donnell, included a school record for digs in a season by junior libero Maddi Osburn midway through the second set, and ended with the presentation of the 2016 MW Championship Trophy following Boise State’s 3-0 sweep, 25-15, 25-15, 25-20, over the Air Force Falcons.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to end it,” O’Donnell said. “I think its four years of hard work that has paid off. Obviously I’m the only senior, but (Kaitlyn) Oliver and Laney (Hayes), we came in together. To put in so much work and effort and see it pay off this big in the end has been so exciting.”

1,562 fans were in attendance – the largest home crowd since Boise State volleyball moved back into Bronco Gym in 2000.

Boise State (25-6, 16-2) will ride a 14-game win streak – third longest in school history and which began with a sweep of Air Force – into the NCAA Tournament. Twelve of Boise State’s wins during their current streak came by a sweep.

The 25 wins this season are the second most in school history for a single season and gives the Broncos back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1990.

“I’m excited about where the program is at, but I’ve also been thinking a lot this past week about how many alumni helped us get here,” Boise State head coach Shawn Garus said. “I wish they could all understand how important they’ve been to our current players. The current players may have won the conference this year, but we wouldn’t have been able to have done it without some of the alumni in the past who have really helped us be ready for this moment.”

“Coming in as a freshman, we were definitely underdogs as a team, but we had a lot of potential,” added junior Sierra Nobley. “I think this showed how hard we’ve worked for it. Last year we missed it and it really motivated us to get into the gym during the spring and the summer. I think that really prepared us. This is a talented group of girls, but I think our work ethic is what did it for us.”

Air Force (10-21, 1-17) jumped to a 4-2 lead in the first set, but Boise State used a 7-0 run to take a 9-4 lead. The Broncos continued to pull away from the Falcons, going up 17-8. Air Force battled back with three straight points to trim Boise State’s lead to 17-11 before a kill from the back row by Nobley ended the Air Force rally.

The Broncos were able to close out the first set, winning handily, 25-15. Nobley had seven kills in the first set while redshirt junior middle blocker Kaitlyn Oliver added a pair of blocks.

The Falcons battled with Boise State to keep the start of the second set tight, taking a brief 10-9 lead. The Broncos battled back with kills from O’Donnell and Nobley and an attack error from Air Force led to an 11-2 run for Boise State to go up 20-12 before Air Force called a timeout.

Boise State again was able to close out the set, winning 25-15 off a service error from Air Force’s Savannah Banyai.

Osburn set the school record for digs in a season midway through the second set. Her 522nd dig of the season was her seventh on the night and led to a 19-12 lead for Boise State.

The Nampa, Idaho, native finished the night with nine digs to give her 524 this season, achieved in 108 sets of action. The previous record of 521 was held by Jackie Stroud in 109 sets during the 2006 campaign.

The Broncos opened the third set with stellar defensive play at the net by O’Donnell and Walley to take a 3-1 lead. Boise State continued the defensive effort throughout the set and to continue the build their lead to 13-5.

Boise State finished with nine blocks in the match, including six in the third set.

On the night, Kaitlyn Oliver led the team with five blocks. O’Donnell and Walley each added four.

Air Force used a 10-5 rally to pull within three points at 18-15, forcing Boise State to call a timeout. Boise State closed the match out, winning 25-20 with a block by O’Donnell.

Nobley and Sabyrn Roberts lead the team with 14 and 10 kills, respectively. Jaymee-Lee Bulda added 31 assists and six digs.

Boise State is currently ranked 29th in the latest NCAA RPI rankings. The NCAA selection show will be Sunday, Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. (MT) on ESPNU.

“I think the NCAA tournament is going to be a blast, but a coaching friend of mine told me it goes fast,” Garus said. “We need to get our kids honed in on specifics, because it’s one-and-done. We need to be really sharp and ready for that first opponent, or we’re going to be out really early. I’m excited for them to take a few days off and rest, but I want them to get right back in it and get ready to attack whoever that first opponent is.”


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