Boise State Hosts Northwest Challenge
Broncos open season this weekend against Gonzaga, Portland State and No. 4 Washington at Bronco Gym.
Bronco Weekly: Head Coach Shawn Garus
looks forward to the opening weekend for the Volleyball team, where Boise State will be hosting Gonzaga, Portland State and Washington in the Northwest Challenge. Coach Garus also talks about the returning athletes and the incoming freshman.
Aug. 28, 2014
Complete Tournament Notes (PDF) | Tournament Central
WHAT FANS NEED TO KNOW
- Like all Boise State volleyball matches the Northwest Challenge will be held in Bronco Gym on the eastside of campus by Albertsons Stadium
- The parking location for this weekend's Northwest Challenge will be in the west stadium parking lot between Albertsons Stadium and Bronco Gym/Taco Bell Arena. Parking is for the tournament is free in this parking lot only.
Friday vs. Gonzaga
- Facebook Fan Day... Visit us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on match day to see how you can get a $3 ticket.
Saturday vs. Portland State
- Tournament Ticket Day Pass... Purchase a tournament day pass and enjoy all four matches on Saturday for only $6.
- Post Match Autographs ... Stick around after the match for autographs from the entire Bronco volleyball team.
Saturday vs. Washington
- Blue Out... Show your Bronco pride and wear BLUE to the match.
- Face Tattoos... Pick up a FREE face tattoo at the match.
- Ice Cream Sandwiches... Stick around after the match and enjoy a FREE ice cream sandwich with the team.
THIS WEEK FOR THE BRONCOS
- Boise State opens the season at home by hosting the Northwest Challenge in Bronco Gym.
- The Broncos will have three matches during the Challenge starting with the Gonzaga Bulldogs at 5 p.m. on Friday to open the tournament.
- Boise State will also face Portland State the defending Big Sky Conference champions at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by defending Pacific-12 Conference champion Washington at 5 p.m.
- The Washington Huskies enter the season ranked fourth nationally by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
THE NORTHWEST CHALLENGE
- The seventh annual Northwest Challenge is a round robin tournament which features the same four teams annually in Boise State (Mountain West Conference), Gonzaga (West Coast Conference), Portland State (Big Sky Conference) and Washington (Pacific-12 Conference).
- The four schools take turns hosting the tournament on a four-year rotation. Portland State hosted the competition in 2013.
- Last year the Broncos went 1-2 with its lone victory coming over Gonzaga. Washington won the championship going undefeated.
- Boise State is 7-11 all-time in the Northwest Challenge: 4-2 vs. Gonzaga, 3-3 vs. Portland State and 0-6 vs. Washington.
ABOUT THE OPPOSITION
Gonzaga Bulldogs (0-0, 0-0 WCC)
- Gonzaga went 11-16 overall in 2013 and 7-11 in WCC play, its best record in many years.
- The WCC coaches picked the Bulldogs to place eight out of 10 teams in this year's league race.
- Boise State leads the all-time series with Gonzaga by a 18-9 count and is 4-2 against the Bulldogs in Northwest Challenge matches.
- The Broncos have won four straight over the Bulldogs.
Portland State Vikings (0-0, 0-0 BSC)
- Portland State has been a power in the Big Sky since it joined the league in 1996. The Vikings have won four titles since 2007 and are two-time defending regular season champions.
- Last year the Vikings went 21-11 overall and 17-3 (first) in conference play, they just missed the NCAA Tournament losing to Idaho State in the Big Sky Tournament championship match.
- The BSC coaches selected the Vikings, who return two starters, the libero and seven letterwinners, to place sixth out of 12 teams in this year's league race.
- Portland State leads the all-time series with the Broncos by a 17-4 margin. However, the Broncos are 3-3 against the Vikings in Northwest Challenge play.
- The Vikings have won two straight over Boise State.
No. 4 Washington Huskies (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
- Washington enters the Northwest Challenge ranked fourth nationally, the Huskies were also picked to place third in this year's Pac-12 race.
- They return the reigning NCAA Player of the Year in senior Krista Vansant, six starters and eight letterwinners from last year's team.
- Washington went 30-3 overall and 18-2 (first) in league last season, as well as advanced to the NCAA semifinals at Seattle where they lost in straight sets to No. 2 Penn State.
- Washington leads the all-time series 10-5, including 6-0 against the Broncos in the Northwest Challenge.
- Boise State actually dominated the early years of the series winning the first five meetings, but the Broncos have lost 10 straight to the Huskies dating back to 1987.
BRONCO NOTEBOOK: Preseason Notes
BRONCOS IN SEASON OPENERS
- Boise State is 17-18 in season openers since the 1979 campaign.
- The previous two seasons saw the Broncos open against Washington, which was ranked fifth nationally each year, resulting in two losses.
- The Broncos are looking to snap a six-match losing streak in openers.
- Boise State's last victory in a season opener came at home in 2007 when the Broncos defeated UT San Antonio in straight sets during the Bronco Invitational.
- The Broncos are 9-4 all-time when opening at home.
MOUNTAIN WEST PRESEASON POLL
- The conference coaches picked Boise State to finish sixth out of 11 teams in this year's MW race, two spots better than their eighth-place finish in 2013.
BOISE STATE'S CONFERENCE AFFILIATION
- This is Boise State's fourth year as a member of the Mountain West Conference.
- The Broncos are 22-28 in MW play since joining the league for the 2011 season.
- Last year the teams played a complete double round robin where they played everyone twice in the season for 20 conference matches.
- In 2014 the coaches voted for an 18 match conference season where they play eight schools twice and the other two once each. Boise State's 2014 single-match opponents are San Diego State (home) and UNLV (away).
- The MW does not sponsor a postseason tournament, choosing instead to send its regular-season champion to the NCAA Tournament.
- The Broncos have a tough nonconference schedule this year facing two teams that finsihed ranked in the AVCA top-12 nationally in Washington (#5) and Missouri (#12).
- Of the 22 teams Boise State will face in 2014, five finished in last year's RPI top-50 in No. 3 Washington, No. 5 Missouri, No. 23 Colorado State, No. 37 Tulsa and No. 46 Central Arkansas; 10 finished in the top 100, while 16 were in the top 150. The Broncos were 146 in the final RPI released by the NCAA.
- Four of the 12 nonconference opponents won their league's regular season title, Washington (Pac-12), Missouri (SEC), Portland State (Big Sky) and Central Arkansas (Southland), three others finished in the top three of the league.
- Four Boise State opponents advanced to the 2013 NCAA Championship Tournament in Washington, Missouri, Central Arkansas and Colorado State, with Washington reaching the national semifinals.
- Shawn Garus is in his sixth season in charge of the Broncos where 76-80 (.487) to go with a career record 191-200 (.489) in 13 seasons.
- What's Back: Boise State returns eight letterwinners, all of which started a minimum of 11 matches in 2013, and two redshirt freshman from last season's squad.
- Returning Starters: The Broncos also return four starters (all seniors) and the libero. The starters back are: Aly Duffin (middle blocker), Alyssa Gammel (outside hitter), Taylor Murphey (outside hitter) and Brittany Reardon (middle blocker). The libero back is sophomore Hannah Hubbard.
- Other Key Returners: There are also three other key veterans back that started at least 11 matches each, junior Sarah Baugh (setter), redshirt-junior Katelyn Kinghorn (outside hitter) and sophomore Maddy O'Donnell (middle blocker).
- Redshirts Back: The Broncos return two redshirts from 2013 as well in Laney Hayes (middle blocker) and Kaitlyn Oliver (middle blocker).
- What's New: The Broncos added four new faces to the roster, one transfer and three true freshmen. The transfer is Erienne Barry (R-Fr., S), while the three freshmen are Jaymee-Lee Bulda (Fr., S), Sierra Nobley (Fr., OH) and Maddi Osburn (Fr., L/DS).
- Offensively: The Broncos return 78 percent of its kills from last fall including six of its top seven leaders in kills.
- What's Back: Boise State returns its top kills leader in Alyssa Gammel who recorded 286 for a 2.95 kills per set average (14th MW). Taylor Murphey was third on the team with 263 (2.37 kps) followed by Brittany Reardon in fourth with 198 (1.94 kps).
- The Serve: Boise State lost its top server from 2013 in then-senior Casey Rose who had 34 service aces. However, sophomore Hannah Hubbard returns after ranking second on the team with 25 for a 0.22 per set average (13th MW), followed by Sarah Baugh with 18 and Alyssa Gammel with 16.
- Assists: The Broncos return junior Sarah Baugh at setter a season after she finished with 630 assists, one behind then-senior Casey Rose with 631.
- Hitting Percentage: Boise State returns the school record holder for career hitting percentage in Brittany Reardon who has hit .348 during her first three seasons. She set the school single season record last year hitting 37.8 percent (3rd MW/35th NCAA), followed closely by Aly Duffin who hit a second-best 37.5 percent (4th MW). Maddy O'Donnell, a freshman last year, actually hit 40.2 percent on the year to lead the conference, but fell just short of the minimum attempts to be ranked in the school record book.
- Blocks: Boise State returns 71 percent of its blocks from last season including its top five blockers.
- Block Leaders: Brittany Reardon led the team in 2013 with 87 blocks to average 0.85 per set. Aly Duffin was second in blocks with 64 (0.81 bps) followed by Taylor Murphey with 59 (0.53 kps) and Katelyn Kinghorn with 46 (0.42 kps).
- Digs: The Broncos return 68 percent of their digs including three of its top five players.
- Dig Leaders: Libero Hannah Hubbard led the team in 2013 with 428, the sixth-best season ever at Boise State, for a 3.82 per set average (6th MW). Alyssa Gammel was second with 241 (2.48 dps).