BOISE, Idaho - The Boise State volleyball team ended their 2009 opening weekend on Saturday in their third match of the Bronco Invitational against Cal State Northridge. The Broncos (0-3) were unable to keep their energy up in their third match in two days, falling to the Matadors (2-1) in three sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-19.
"The Northridge match was a disappointing way to end our first weekend of competition," said head coach Shawn Garus. "I felt like we were tentative from the start and fought ourselves the entire match."
The Broncos struggled to get a spark going in set one, hitting a -.040 and accumulating only six kills while CSUN had a .310 average and 14 kills.
In set two, Boise State upped the intensity a notch, recording 11 kills (.161) and 13 digs, finishing only three points behind the Matadors. However, their efforts were not enough with CSUN totaling 16 kills and a .171 hitting percentage.
The Broncos gave their best efforts of the match in set three, adding 11 more kills and earning a hitting percentage of .182, putting up 10 digs and adding four blocks. Cal State Northridge responded to the Broncos' increased energy by tallying 14 kills (.235), 16 digs and four service aces to hold Boise State off for the sweep.
Freshman Liz Harden and sophomore Breann Nesselhuf led the team in kills with six each. Harden, who was named to the All-Tournament Team also earned an impressive .417 hitting percentage as well as adding two blocks.
"Liz Harden played another consistent match and we look forward to her continuing to grow in her role on the team," said Garus.
Nesselhuf also recorded a sound hitting percentage of .250 on her six kills, five of which came in set three. She also had a team high of 12 assists, while adding four digs, two block assists and had many hard-to-handle serves.
Garus said, "Bre worked hard to be a difference maker, setting and hitting for us. She also had some tough serves that made it hard for Cal State Northridge to handle on serve receive."
Lauren Hamm and Amanda Remy led the Broncos in the back court with nine and eight digs, respectively, while Sadie Maughan added six blocks to the defensive efforts at the net.
CSUN's Brittney Graff tallied a match high of 14 kills while Angela Hupp added 12 kills and 13 digs for the only double-double of the match. Setter Sam Orlandini tallied 35 set assists as well as a match-high five service aces to help the Matadors to a win.
The Broncos finish 0-3 on the weekend, placing fourth in the tournament; with the three-set win, Cal State Northridge took the runner-up spot.
"Overall it's a weekend we can learn a lot from," said Garus. "We'll watch some video and get back in the gym on Monday to work on improvements."
The Broncos will get to work quickly on improvements to prep for their first road matches of the season. They will head to Portland, Ore., to play in the Northwest Challenge on Sept. 4-5. There they will face the host team Portland State, Gonzaga, and Washington who was ranked No. 4 in the nation in the AVCA Pre-Season Coaches Poll.
The Broncos don't return home to Bronco Gym until Thurs., Sept. 17 when they host Utah Valley University in a 7 p.m. match.
Bronco Invitational Team Finishes:
2. Cal State Northridge
4. Boise State
Tournament MVP - Jen Eichler, Tulsa
Bronco Invitational All Tournament Team
Hannah Stout, Tulsa
Julia Kenealy, Tulsa
Angela Hupp, Cal State Northridge
Brittney Graff, Cal State Northridge
Lauren Campbell, Northern Arizona
Liz Harden, Boise State