Boise State Announces 2011 Volleyball Schedule

Schedule highlights include matches with Washington and Oklahoma.

BOISE, Idaho (6/7/2011) - Shawn Garus, Boise State University’s head volleyball coach, released the 2011 schedule this afternoon which includes 10 home matches. The Broncos will open the season with 14-straight games on the road which includes three regular-season tournaments. Next fall will mark the first year in the Mountain West Conference for the Broncos after spending the past 10 in the Western Athletic Conference. 
“I am excited about our schedule and the challenge of going into the Mountain West,” said Garus. “The league is deeper top to bottom and has a lot of athleticism and talent. We will miss playing Hawaii, one of the top teams nationally in support and success, but welcome the challenge of playing Colorado State and New Mexico the top teams in the Mountain West.”
Garus returns nine letterwinners and two redshirts from last year’s squad that went 21-12 overall and 8-8 in WAC play to earn the No. 4 seed into the league tournament. In addition, he has added five talented newcomers to the 2011 roster, one transfer from the University of Utah, who is eligible to play this fall, and four true freshmen. Overall, Boise State will have an experienced core group of eight upperclassmen, four seniors and four juniors, to depend on for floor leadership. 
In addition to the new conference alignment and the building of new MWC rivalries, the schedule will feature a regional flare with teams like Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, Utah Valley University and Weber State University to mention a few. It also has some top-caliber opponents in perennial top-25 teams like the University of Washington and University of Oklahoma.    “We open the season on the road for the first month, which will be tough,” commented Garus. “But we have an experienced group of players returning that should help us get through the opening stretch of travel. We are playing in three good tournaments which include several top teams nationally. We will be playing perennial top-25 teams in Washington and Oklahoma.”   
The Broncos will open the 14-match road swing at the Southern Utah University Tournament Aug. 26-27 where they will play Pacific, Southern Utah and Drake. Boise State will follow that up with a road match at Eastern Washington on Aug. 31.
September opens with the annual Northwest Challenge beginning held Sept. 2-3 at Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash. This event features Washington, defending Big Sky champion Portland State, Gonzaga and the Broncos. The four teams have competed in this tournament each of the last four years which has been hosted on a rotation between the participants, Boise State hosted last season.     Boise State will then face Weber State in the first match of a home-and-home series this year with the Broncos traveling to Ogden, Utah, for a Sept. 13 encounter. 
The Broncos then travel to participate in the Oklahoma Nike Invitational being hosted by the Big 12’s Oklahoma Sooners in Norman on Sept. 16-17. While there Boise State will play four times opening with Texas Southern University followed by matches against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and ending with an encounter with Oklahoma.  
The 14-game road stretch will end with the first two Mountain West Conference matches in program history when the Broncos travel to play at the University of Wyoming and league power Colorado State University the weekend of Sept. 22-24.
Boise State’s first home match will come on Monday, Sept. 26, when the Broncos host Weber State in the return match. This will be the first contest of a four-game homestand for Boise State.
“Once we get home I think we have a good schedule with a series of three homestands,” said Garus. “We open our home schedule with four-games, we also have a homestand during homecoming and we finish up with four straight to close the regular season. We also have three games on Saturday’s following home football games and I hope we can draw from those fans for support.”
Following the Weber State match Boise State will host two conference contests versus TCU and the University of New Mexico the weekend of Sept. 29 and Oct. 1. The homestand will close with an encounter against Seattle University on Tuesday, Oct. 4. 
The Broncos will then return to the road for four straight when they travel to the Air Force Academy, Utah Valley, UNLV and San Diego State University Oct. 8-15.
Boise State returns home for a pair of contests during homecoming Oct. 20-22 when it hosts Colorado State and Wyoming. The final regular-season road matches will be at New Mexico and TCU the weekend of Oct. 27-29.
The regular season will conclude with four straight at home beginning with Utah Valley to open the month of November when the Wolverines return a trip to Boise on Nov. 1. That will be followed by Air Force on Nov. 4, then San Diego State and UNLV the weekend on Nov. 10-12. 
The Mountain West Championship Tournament will be hosted by the New Mexico Lobos in Albuquerque Nov. 18-20. All eight teams advance to the tournament with the winner getting the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
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