Boise State Volleyball Opens Season Friday
Crystal Inn Thunderbird Invitational, Tournament Notes
Boise State opens the 2011 campaign this Friday when they travel to the Crystal Inn Invitational hosted by Southern Utah University in Cedar City. The event will feature four three teams in a round-robin format. In addition to Boise State, the other three teams include: the host Southern Utah, the University of the Pacific and Drake University.

The tournament opens with the Broncos taking on old Big West Conference rival the Pacific Tigers at 11 am (Mountain) in Centrum Arena on the campus of SUU. This will be the first match of the season for both schools.

The Pacific match is the first of two on Friday for Boise State who will take on their host the Southern Utah Thunderbirds out of the Summit League at 7 pm. The opening weekend will conclude with an encounter with the Missouri Valley Conference's Drake Bulldogs at 3 pm on Saturday.  

Crystal Inn Thunderbird Invitational
When: Aug. 26-27
Hosted By: Southern Utah University
Where: Cedar City, Utah (Centrum Arena)
Live Stats:

Match #1
Friday, Aug. 26 at 11:00 a.m. (Mountain)
Vs. Pacific Tigers (0-0, 0-0 BWC)
Big West Conference
Series: UOP Leads 8-1

Scouting The Pacific Tigers
Boise State and Pacific have met nine times previously with the Tigers owning an 8-1 advantage in the series, as well as an eight-game winning streak. The Broncos and Tigers were once league rivals in the Big West (1996-2000) but were in opposite divisions within the conference for the first four years, Pacific went 7-0 during those years against Boise State. The two teams have not played since a non-league match on Sept. 1, 2001 when UOP won 3-0.  The Broncos lone victory was on Sept. 24, 1982 by a 2-1 margin.

Pacific was picked to place fifth out of nine teams in this year's Big West race by the conference's coaches. The Tigers return six starters and seven letterwinners from last season's 19-11 campaign when they went 9-7 in league play to place fifth. They are coached by Greg Gibbons (UOP 19-11) who is in his second season at Pacific.

Match #2

Friday, Aug. 26 at 7:00 p.m.
at Southern Utah Thunderbirds (0-0, 0-0 SL)
Summit League
Series: First Meeting

Scouting The Southern Utah Thunderbirds

Southern Utah and Boise State have never met on the court in volleyball. The Thunderbirds are in their final season as members of the Summit League before moving into the Big Sky Conference next year. Southern Utah was projected by the conference's coaches to place fourth out of 10 teams during the 2011 league race. The Thunderbirds return four starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's 15-15 squad that went 12-6 in conference to place fourth.  Leading the way for SUU is 2010 first-team all-league selection Analaine Pelaez , who led the league and ranked 32nd in the nation in kills, averaging 4.07 per set last season. Thunderbirds are coached by Debby Baker  who is in her third year and has gone 24-35 in two previous seasons at Southern Utah.

Match #3
Saturday, Aug. 27 at 3:00 pm
Vs. Drake Bulldogs (0-0, 0-0 MVC)
Missouri Valley Conference
Series: First Meeting

Scouting The Drake Bulldogs
Drake is another team in which Boise State has never met on the volleyball court. The Missouri Valley Conference coaches picked the Bulldogs to finish sixth out of 10 teams during the 2011 race. Drake return four starters and eight letterwinners from last year's 23-11 squad that placed sixth in the MVC with a 8-10 league mark.  The Bulldogs are under the direction by first-year head coach Tony Sunga.

New Era Begins Friday
A new era for Boise State University volleyball will be ushered in when the Broncos take the court against the University of the Pacific this Friday at the Crystal Inn Thunderbird Invitational in Cedar City, Utah. It will mark the first match for the program as members of the Mountain West after spending the previous 10 years in the Western Athletic Conference.  Boise State joins the US Air Force Academy, Colorado State University, the University of New Mexico, San Diego State University, TCU, UNLV, and the University of Wyoming as members of the new Mountain West.

Scouting the Broncos
Boise State is entering its first season in the Mountain West after spending the last 10 in the Western Athletic Conference. The Broncos were picked to place sixth during its inaugural year in the league. The Blue and Orange returns five starters and nine letterwinners from last year's 21-12 squad that went 8-8 in the WAC to place fourth.  

Broncos to Watch
Breann Nesselhuf, senior setter: Boise State returns All-WAC honoree Breann Nesselhuf for the 2011 campaign. The senior setter ranks sixth in career assists with 2,275, placing her fourth in career average at 9.74. She is also ranked second for season assists with 1,331 and seventh in season average at 10.82 in 2010.

Elizabeth Griffin, senior outside hitter:  Griffin enters her senior campaign ranked 10th for career points with 529.

Amanda Remy, senior libero: Remy recorded 434 digs as a junior in 2010 to rank  third for digs in a season, she ranks ninth in dig season average at 3.47.

Fiona Jones and Liz Harden, junior outside hitters:  Jones and Harden are the top two scorers returning for the Broncos this year.  Jones recorded 331 points to rank third last year, while Harden was fourth with 278.

The Man in Charge

Shawn Garus, Head Coach: Garus is in his third season in charge of the Broncos where he has gone 29-34 overall. After a 8-22 mark during his first season, Garus guided his team to an outstanding turnaround in 2010 with a 21-12 record. The 21 victories last year was the most since 1990 when the team went 23-12. His career record is 144-154 in 10 seasons.

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