Shawn Garus, Boise State Head Coach
Aug. 10, 2013
BOISE, Idaho – Boise State’s volleyball team became the third Bronco sports program to open summer practice this week, football opened Monday and soccer started on Wednesday. Volleyball begins practice with three sessions on Saturday, Aug. 10, in Bronco Gym. Coach Shawn Garus welcomed 16 student-athletes on Thursday when the team reported to campus. In all, Boise State brings back nine veterans from the 2012 campaign and brought in seven newcomers to bolster the roster’s depth.
“I am really excited to get to work with this team, they are a good group of talented young ladies,” said Garus. “I feel we have a solid core group of returners to lead the team this fall, and the newcomers are all athletic with the potential to make an immediate impact. I expect a battle for each starting position entering the season opener against Washington in a few weeks.”
Alyssa Gammel is one of several returners who are expected to make an impact again this season. The junior outside hitter is the top veteran back in terms of points scored (450) and kills (399) from the 2012 campaign. Other experienced upperclassmen joining Gammel on the squad from last season are Brittany Reardon (redshirt-junior, middle blocker), Taylor Murphey (junior, outside hitter) and Casey Rose (senior, setter). Together with the other five returners and seven newcomers the Broncos should be ready to challenge the top teams in the Mountain West Conference.
“The nine returners bring us the experience of the last two seasons in the Mountain West,” commented Garus. “They know what to expect from the league and have the maturity we need to lead the newcomers in their first season with the program.”
Awaiting the Broncos after the preseason workouts is a schedule that begins with the annual Northwest Challenge in which Boise State will open against a perennial top-25 program in the Washington Huskies. The 2013 season also marks the third for Boise State in the Mountain West which will feature a different look for the third time.
The league had eight members in 2011 then went to nine for the 2012 campaign when TCU left the conference and was replaced by Fresno State and Nevada. In 2013 the MW welcomes former Boise State rivals from the Western Athletic Conference in Utah State and San Jose State giving the league 11 members for volleyball.
“I think the league is very deep now with the new additions, both are solid programs,” said Garus. “This league sent two teams to the NCAA last year in Colorado State and San Diego State who tied for the title. It was a very competitive conference in 2012. Now add Utah State which won the WAC last year and San Jose State who is definitely capable of finishing at least in the middle of the pack and we are looking at a very interesting league season this fall.”
The larger, odd number in membership presented a challenge for the schools in scheduling. They approached the situation by deciding to play a double round robin with everyone in the conference, making for an expanded league schedule of 20 matches. Once again there will not be a postseason conference tournament.
“The longer league season means a shorter preseason schedule in which to prepare your team for conference,” said Garus. “The conference season will go on forever and will be challenging. I feel like we will need to approach it by breaking it down into smaller parts, a first half and second half. We may even have to re-establish goals midway through depending on how things go in the first portion. It is definitely going to be challenging for everyone in the conference and a new experience.”
But before the Broncos worry about the schedule, which opens on August 30 against Washington in the Northwest Challenge at Portland, they will first focus on getting to know each other. The team has three weeks to figure out how to incorporate the seven newcomers into the system and what role each person will play.
“The next three weeks are going to be fun and exciting for our staff,” commented Garus. “We have a very talented squad with good size. All 16 are very capable of stepping into an impact role come the Washington match. It is good to be in a position where everyone will be challenged for playing time.”
NOTE: Staff Changes
Shawn Garus announced a shuffling of his staff. Alisha Young who was an assistant coach last year has returned to the Director of Operations position she held for the 2011 season. Boise State alum Breann (Nesselhuf) Crowell moves from graduate manager in 2012 into the assistant coaching position.