Broncos Fall 3-0 to Stanford in NCAA
Dec. 3, 2016

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STANFORD, Calif.  - Sierra Nobley led Boise State with her 18th double-double of the season with 12 kills and 12 digs, both team highs, but it was not enough as the Broncos fell at 9th-ranked Stanford in three 25-11, 25-22, 25-18 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The loss ends Boise State’s incredible year at 26-7 overall, the program’s second most wins in history. 2016 was a season of many first for the Broncos who won their first Mountain West championship, advanced to their first NCAA Tournament, won their first NCAA match and made their first NCAA Tournament second round appearance. The year also saw Boise State win its first match over a nationally ranked opponent against then-No. 17 Santa Clara (Sept. 16), then followed it up with a second win over 20th-ranked Western Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament yesterday.

Boise State battled hard against the Stanford Cardinal throughout, but the Broncos had no answer for the tallest team in the NCAA who held the blue and orange to a season-low 15.7 percent. The Stanford attack finished the night hitting 36.2 percent, the second-best performance against Boise State this season.

“I thought Stanford was fantastic to start off,” said head coach Shawn Garus. “We passed pretty well, we were taking some high swings, but Stanford was just played better. We talked in the timeouts to keep doing what we’re doing and the more we see it the more comfortable we’ll get out there. I think it was 10 or 12 points into the second set that we got a little bit of rhythm going, got some good serving going, got them out of system and it seemed like the match was on. We were playing from behind in the second set, but we were playing much better. But Stanford just didn’t give us much room to breathe, they played just great tonight.”

After Nobley with 12 kills, Janell Walley followed with seven while hitting 27.8 percent. Senior Maddy O’Donnell hit 31.2 percent for six kills,while Kaitlyn Oliver added five kills on a team-best 33.3 percent hitting.

Boise State struggled with Stanford’s height throughout the match, especially in the first set finding it difficult to find lanes to score as the Broncos hit a match-low 7.9 percent. The Cardinal took control early and slowly pulled away from the Broncos winning the opening frame by 14, 25-11.

“I think their blocking was great and serving sets up their blocking opportunities,” said Garus. “It’s a real challenge for our attackers to get balls past the size that they have. We just don’t see that (the height) very often, no body sees the size that Stanford has very often. I thought that as the match wore on that we would get a little more comfortable with that, but Stanford had a answer for everything that we did tonight.”

Stanford open the second set fast racing out to a 10-point 15-5 lead. The Broncos regrouped and attempted to rally pulling to within two points late at 22-20 but could get no closer than two. Boise State hit better in the second set at 27.3 percent and was led by Nobley and O’Donnell with four kills each.

Boise State used a 3-0 run early in the third to take its first and only lead in the match up 5-3. Unfortunately, Stanford rallied with a 9-1 run in which the Broncos could not recover. They did attempt to rally from seven down pulling to within four at 21-17 late before the Cardinal closed it out with a 4-1 run.

Boise State finished the night with 33 kills off 31 assists, two service aces, 39 digs and two blocks.

Stanford had 51 kills on 46 assists to go with one service ace, 50 digs and 11 blocks.

The Broncos lose only one player from this year’s squad and return 13 others, including five starters and the libero next year.

“I think this group of girls is just awesome,” O’Donnell said. “I came to Boise State excited to help build a program and doing it with coach. The girls he’s brought in are incredible athletes and people. It has just been a great run and this is an awesome way to end it. Just being able to play No. 6 in the country (Stanford) and giving them a battle at times is just exciting, but I’m sad it’s over, it was a lot of fun and we broke history together so we will always have that.”


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