Bronco Volleyball Season Preview

2008 Boise State Broncos...
The Boise State volleyball program opens up its 38th season with a young and talented team. Of the nine returnees from the 2007 season, only three are seniors while head coach Robin Davis and his staff worked hard to recruit six outstanding freshmen to join their 2008 roster.

With the nine returnees, the team chemistry will be strong among the players as well as the coaches. With six starting positions to fill, Davis feels that he has a good blend of returnees to cover those positions in order to have a competitive volleyball team.

“I am very comfortable with how our spring season went,” said Davis. “They have a high level of optimism for the fall. This group has an amazing desire to win and compete in a tough conference.”

In addition to the well-rounded returning group, Davis adds a large class of freshmen to his roster. A highly athletic, highly talented group of athletes, the Broncos’ 2008 freshman class will be fighting for spots in the starting lineup immediately.

“Our job as coaches is to now blend the group of nine returnees and six freshmen to achieve the perfect team chemistry and develop our strongest possible lineup,” said Davis.

The Seniors...
The Broncos possess a senior class made up of three successful athletes who are motivating leaders looking to guide their team to a successful 2008 season. Mandy Klein and Jeanette Jenkins return for their fourth year as Broncos while Maren Ericson enters her second season with the team.

A tough competitor, Klein will be looked upon as a major leader this season returning after two seasons as starting setter. Throughout her years at Boise State her setting has improved and she has become a more balanced setter. During her final spring season, Klein worked hard to improve her serving, defense and all-around game for her senior year.

“Mandy always comes to play,” said Davis. “She will have to compete for her spot for the first time under my coaching here at Boise State with successful setters entering the program. Her leadership capabilities will play a huge role in the team’s success this season.”

Three-year starter Jenkins enters her final season after a solid spring season. A starter since she first entered the program, Jenkins will be an important piece to the team chemistry having the most collegiate playing experience.

“Jeanette worked really hard during the off-season and had the best spring season out of all nine returners,” explained Davis. “She has worked extremely hard on her backcourt game of defense and passing to become a better-rounded player. Individually, she is more confident than ever.”

Ericson has a slightly different story. She enters her second season with the Broncos and her fourth season as a collegiate volleyball player. Playing as an outside hitter last season, Ericson will again fight for a starting position on the left side, but may also look to be a contender as a right-side hitter.

“In Maren’s first spring at Boise State she got to play a lot at the outside position, but shined as an attacker on the right side in the small amount of time that she played that position,” explained Davis. “During a big spring tournament in Salt Lake City, she was a very consistent attacker and did the best job blocking that we’ve seen from her. She will be a competitor for the outside and right-side positions.”

The Juniors...
The Broncos’ junior class features two returners, Jeanene Rose and Katie Lewis, both of whom will play roles in the backcourt this season.

Rose has fought back and is healed after multiple injuries from her sophomore season. Hoping to reclaim her starting spot as defensive specialist now that she is healthy, Rose will be important to the team’s improvements this season.

“Jeanene’s injuries slowed her down last season, but she’s always there to compete and achieve,” Davis said. “I look forward to a healthy Jeanene this fall that will compete for the starting libero and defensive specialist spots.”

Lewis enters the season with a new role after playing the past two seasons as a backup setter. During the off-season, Lewis worked on her backcourt skills and will look to be a contributor as a defensive specialist this season.

“Kati and we (as coaches) felt that the best position for her would be in the back row,” said Davis. “She got to train all spring and showed large improvements on her passing and digging.”

The Sophomores...
The Broncos welcome back four sophomores this season, including Lauren Hamm, Emily Botts, Alisha King and Sadie Maughan.

Hamm returns to the Broncos with one season as starting libero under her belt. A highly talented backcourt player, Hamm immediately moved her way into the Bronco record books as a freshman and will look to be just as successful in her second season.

“Lauren’s freshman year of starting at the important libero position is really going to pay off for her and the team going into her sophomore year,” explained Davis. “She is incredibly gifted with her backcourt play and could be the favorite to win the libero job again.”

Botts enters the season after seeing action in only three games in the 2007 season. Her improvements over the off-season will make her a competitor in the outside hitter, right-side hitter and defensive specialist positions.

“Emily had the perfect spring for her coming off her freshman fall season,” Davis said. “She will continue to play an important utility role for us this season.”

King will return to the outside hitter position after a successful freshman campaign. During the spring season, King became a more consistent and powerful player.

“Alisha made big improvements and started for us most of the spring season,” Davis explained. “She has become very consistent in her attacking. The outside hitter position is open for three players to fill two spots this fall, and Alisha has taken to the challenge to earn her spot.”

Maughan enters her second year with the Broncos hoping to see more action that in her inaugural season. After being sidelined most of the 2007 season, she has worked hard to become healthy during the off-season.

“Sadie getting healthy is the most important thing for her and the team,” said Davis. She was our leading blocker and hitter one month into the season last year, and as coaches we feel she can become our most dominant attacker again this season.”

The Freshmen...
The Broncos welcome six freshmen to their 2008 roster. All six bring a strong talent to the squad and will add much needed depth in some positions. The Bronco freshman class will look to immediately compete for starting positions this fall.

Eliza Pledger joins the Broncos from Wilsonville, Ore., where she played for Wilsonville High School. Standing at 6-feet, 3-inches, Pledger will make an immediate impact at the middle blocker position.

“Eliza is very physical,” said Davis. “She has improved more than we could have expected in the past year since she signed with us. We will be able to use her athletic ability to be much stronger and more physical at the net.”

Hailing from Roseville, Calif., (Woodcreek High), Elizabeth Griffin will add depth to the Broncos’ roster at outside hitter. The 6-foot Griffin will be a great impact player.

Elizabeth is a true outside hitter with good backcourt skills and a great high natural arm swing,” explained Davis. “Physically she is ready to go as a freshman, and if she can adapt to the speed of the game mentally she will be a great impact player.”

A 5-foot, 8-inch setter from Rocklin High School in Rocklin, Calif., Alexandra Diemer looks to challenge for a starting spot this fall.

“Alexandra was a highly recruited setter who has numerous MVP awards from region and area high school teams as well as club teams,” said Davis. “She is a natural leader and is very clear on what she needs to do to compete for the starting setter spot.”

Lydia Blaha joins the Broncos after competing for The Classical Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The 6-foot middle blocker will add needed depth for the Broncos at the net.

Lydia has improved throughout her past club volleyball season,” said Davis. “She is known and feared as a tremendous blocker and may become the best blocker on our roster as a freshman.”

Another 6-foot middle blocker, Kaycee Gow of Hemet, Calif., (Hemet High), will add speed and athleticism to the Broncos’ lineup.

“Kaycee can play middle blocker and right side because she is a pure, fast athlete who has had excellent club training,” Davis said. “Her knowledge of the game and her ability to play at collegiate speed will allow her to compete to play immediately.”

Adding to the Broncos’ backcourt, Amanda Remy will fight for the libero or defensive specialist spots. The 5-foot, 9-inch freshman was the top outside hitter at St. Lucy’s High (San Dimas, Calif.) but will focus on her excellent backcourt skills at Boise State.

“As good as an outside hitter that Amanda was, she is committed to playing back row at Boise State,” Davis explained. “As a freshman, she will probably be the most fiery player, bringing a lot of spirit to the team.”

» «