Broncos Travel to Sacramento State Invitational
What's Happening this Week
Boise State hits the road for week two as the Broncos head to Sacramento, Calif., for the Sacramento State Invitational Friday and Saturday.

The Broncos will play three matches at the tournament in northern California beginning Friday night against the host Sacramento State Hornets (1-2) at 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time). Sacramento State is a member of the Big Sky Conference.

Boise State's Saturday starts off with the Saint Mary's Gaels (1-2) from the West Coast Conference in the first match of the day beginning at 11:30 a.m. (MT). The Gaels are receiving top-25 votes.

The competition ends Saturday evening when Boise State plays the Morgan State Bears (0-3) from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference at 6:30 p.m. (MT).

All six of the tournament's matches will be held in Sacramento State's  Colberg Court (1,200).

This is Boise State's first trip to play in the Sacramento State Invitational. However, the Broncos' series records with each of the schools are: 1-3 versus Sacramento State, 2-1 against Saint Mary's and 1-0 versus Morgan State.

TICKETS  - you can purchase one-day passes for: Adults are $10, Youth (ages 13-18) are $6, Kids ages 12 and under are Free. All tickets can be purchased at the door.

LIVE STATS -  will be available on Sacramento State's athletic website:  http://www.hornetsports.com/livestats/wvball/xlive.htm.


Boise State Quick Notes

Last Week at the Northwest Challenge
Boise State opened 2012 at the Northwest Challenge in Seattle, Wash., going 1-2 at the tournament.

Sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Gammel lead the Broncos with 42 kills while hitting .196 percent. She was the only Bronco named to the all-tournament team. Liz Harden, a senior outside hitter followed with 26 kills, redshirt sophomore Brittany Reardon added 22 kills while hitting .286 percent.

In the opener against No. 14 Washington the Broncos struggled hitting (.129 pct.) in a straight set loss 19-25, 17-25, 21-25. Gammel led the team with 11 kills followed by Harden's 20.

The second match was a heartbreaking loss as a Bronco rally came up short to Portland State in five sets 21-25, 25-13, 18-25, 25-22, 14-16. Boise State won the second and fourth sets to force a fifth in which they were up 14-13 before surrendering the final three points to Portland State. Gammel recorded a team-best 20 kills followed by Harden with 12 and Reardon with nine.  

Boise State picked up its first victory with a dominating straight-set win 25-15, 25-17, 25-20. The Broncos hit a weekend best .290 in the match. Gammel led Boise State for a third straight contest with 11 kills, Reardon was next with nine while hitting .444 percent, followed by Murphey with seven kills.

Notes on What's Back in 2012
Boise State returns four starters in Liz Harden (Sr., outside hitter), Brittany Reardon (R-So., middle blocker), Fiona Jones (Sr., outside hitter) and Kersti Whitney (Sr., libero).

Harden (313) and Jones (194) finished first and fifth respectively on the team last season in kills, Reardon (176) was sixth, while Stevens (78) was seventh.

Jones was fifth in kills but played only two-thirds of the year before suffering a season ending injury.

In 2011, Reardon led the Mountain West and finished ranked 31st nationally in hitting percent with Boise State's second-best individual performance all-time at .355 percent.

In addition to the four starters back four other returners earned at least one start apiece led by Leah Stevens (10), Casey Rose (6), Taylor Murphey (5) and Kristyn Kirschenman (1).

All eight of the returning Broncos who played in 2011 started at some point during the season.

Harden led Boise State last year in scoring with 341 points, 10th most all-time. The senior is currently ranked sixth in the Bronco career point list with 831. The point statistic is since the inception of rally scoring in 2001.

Notes on What's New in 2012
Two transfers joined the Broncos last January in sophomore outside hitter Alyssa Gammel (Virginia Tech) and Aly Duffin (Georgia Southern), a sophomore middle blocker. Both are expected to play key roles this season.

Three freshmen joined the team in August:  Sarah Baugh (Poulsbo, Wash.) a setter, Jackie Pyles (White Lake, Mich.) a defensive specialist and Janessa White (Salem, Ore.) who plays outside hitter.

Two Boise State alumni have joined the Bronco staff since January. Alisha Young (2007-10) initially joined the group last January as the Director of Operations / Video Coordinator before being promoted this summer to the second assistant position. Meanwhile, Breann (Nesselhuf) Crowell, a senior last fall, joined the staff this August as a graduate manager.

Notes on Conference Affiliation

The Broncos are in their second and final year of membership in the Mountain West Conference (MW) going 6-8 and tying for fifth-place in 2011.

Boise State was picked by the league's coaches to place seventh out of nine teams in the 2012 MW race.

The league welcomed Fresno State and Nevada into membership this summer, while TCU left the conference.

Boise State announced Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, that it had accepted an invitation to join the Big West Conference in 2013. The Big West will be one of the top volleyball conferences in the nation with Hawai'i, San Diego State, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Northridge.


Scouting the Opponents

Sacramento State Hornets
For the second weekend in a row the Broncos will open up with the tournament host, this week that is Sacramento State (1-2) out of the Big Sky.

The Hornets are one of the top teams in the Big Sky all-time advancing to 10 NCAA tournaments in the last 15 years. They are currently rebuilding being picked by the leagues coaches to finish sixth out of 11 teams in 2012.  

Sacramento State returns three starters and seven letterwinners from last year's squad that went 17-15 overall and 10-6 in conference to place third.

The two teams have not played since 1994 when the Hornets defeated the Broncos 3-0 at the Dan Gamel Invitational in Fresno, Calif.

Entering the weekend Sacramento State leads Boise State 3-1 in the all-time series.  

Jessie Genger leads Sacramento State with 44 kills while hitting .289 percent, Janelle Currey follows with 28 kills and a hitting percentage of .163.   

Saint Mary's (Calif.) Gaels
Saturday morning will feature another good opponent for the Broncos in the West Coast Conference's Saint Mary's Gaels (1-2). Even after a 1-2 record last weekend at a tournament in Hawaii Saint Mary's is still receiving top-25 votes. They lost 0-3 to No. 6 Stanford and 1-3 to No. 8 Hawai'i.

The Gaels are picked to battle San Diego for the WCC title by the league's coaches, the two teams tied for first in the preseason poll.

They return four All-WCC honorees from last year, all six starters plus the libero and 11 letterwinners from a team that went 17-12 overall and 10-6 in league play to finished fourth.

The Broncos lead the all-time series 2-1 including a 3-0 victory in 1997 at the SMC/USF Powerbar Invitational in San Francisco, the last time the two programs met.

Saint Mary's is led by a pair of outside hitters in junior Kristina Graven with 38 kills and a .188 hitting percentage, followed by senior Lauren Corp with 32 kills and hitting .211 percent.  

Morgan State Bears
The tournament concludes for Boise State Saturday afternoon when it faces the Morgan State Bears (0-3) of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). The Bears who have won five MEAC championships and nine Northern Division titles were picked by the league's coaches to place third in their division during 2012.

Morgan State welcomed back five starters and 11 letterwinners from a team that played to a 10-19 record overall and a 8-4 league mark to place second in the MEAC's Northern Division last year.

The two schools have met only once prior to Saturday's contest with the Broncos claiming a 3-0 victory in that encounter at the 2007 Gonzaga Invitational in Spokane, Wash.

Arianna Hayden leads the Bears with 18 kills, followed by Nangeeshie Plaud with eight.  

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