Boise State Heads to Weber State Tuesday
What's Happening This Week

Boise State University continues its 14-match road swing to open the season with five matches this week. The action begins Tuesday night when the Broncos travel down I-84 to Ogden, Utah, for a 7:00 p.m. (all times listed in this release are Mountain) encounter at Weber State University in Swenson Gym.

Boise State will then head off to the midwest where the Broncos will play four contests over the weekend at the Sooner Legends Nike Inivtational at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Tournament action for the Blue and Orange begins Friday at 9:00 a.m. versus Texas Southern University followed by a 4:00 p.m. match against the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff.

The weekend's competition continues on Saturday with a pair of matches against the University of Arkansas Little Rock at 1:00 p.m. followed by the biggest match of the weekend for the Broncos  when they take on No. 22 Oklahoma at 6:00 p.m. All four contests at the tournament will be played in McCasland Fieldhouse on the OU campus.

A Quick Look at Boise State

Last Week for the Broncos
Boise State took last week off after going 2-2 the previous week. In week two, Aug. 31 - Sept. 3, the Broncos traveled north to eastern Washington for four matches. They opened with a five set loss at Eastern Washington University on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Boise State then went 2-1 at the Northwest Challenge where they defeated the host school Gonzaga University 3-1 and defending Big Sky Conference champion Portland State University 3-1, before falling in straight sets to No. 8 University of Washington.

Liz Harden led the Broncos in week two with a team-high 54.5 points on 52 kills (.241) and five block assists. Fiona Jones backed her up with 44 points on 38 kills (.072), one ace, three solo blocks and four block assists. Brittany Reardon followed with 39 points on 30 kills (.379), one ace, three solo blocks and 10 block assists. Breann Nesselhuf dished out 137 assists while Amanda Remy recorded a team-high 78 digs.  The team hit .172 through the four match stretch recording 199 kills and 26 blocks.

What's Back in 2011
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. Boise State returns All-WAC Second Team honoree Breann Nesselhuf, currently a senior setter, from last season. Joining that core group are two 2010 redshirts and five newcomers (one junior transfer and four freshmen). Overall, the Broncos have a good mix of experience and youth with four seniors, four juniors, two sophomores, two redshirt freshmen and four true freshmen on the 2011 squad.

Broncos to Watch
  • Liz Harden, junior outside hitter: Harden returned as the second highest scorer from last year with 278 points. To date, she leads the Broncos in scoring at 88.5 points on 83 kills (2.96 kps), hits .217 percent and has 11 blocks (all assists) on the year. Harden now has 578.5 career points to rank ninth all-time at Boise State.

  • Fiona Jones, junior outside hitter:  Jones is the top scorer returning from 2010 when she recorded 331 points, third overall. Jones currently ranks second this year with 86.5 points in 29 sets while hitting .111 percent with 76 kills, three aces, four solo blocks and seven block assists. 

  • Elizabeth Griffin, senior outside hitter:  Griffin entered her senior campaign ranked 10th for career points with 529. She now ranks seventh overall after adding 64 points through the first seven matches this year for a total of 593. Griffin is tied for fourth in points this season with 62 kills (.130) and four block assists.

  • Brittany Reardon, redshirt-freshman middle blocker: Reardon has made an early impact for the Broncos ranking third in points with 75 on 59 kills, two aces, three solo blocks and team-best 22 block assists, while hitting a team-high .390.

  • Breann Nesselhuf, senior setter: Nesselhuf is the only returning all-conference player for Boise State, one of three honored last year. The senior setter entered the year ranked sixth in career assists with 2,275, she has since moved to fifth with a team-high 272 this season for a career total of 2,547. Nesselhuf is also ranked fourth career assists average at 9.76 through seven matches in 2011, she is averaging 9.38 this year. 

The Man in Charge
Shawn Garus, Head Coach: Garus is in his third season in charge of the Broncos where he has gone 33-37 overall, including a 4-3 mark in 2011. 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 for Boise State since 1990 when the team went 23-12. To date, Shawn's career record is 148-157 in his 11th season.

New Home in 2011
Boise State is entering its first season in the Mountain West (MW) after spending the last 10 in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). The Broncos were picked by the league's coaches to place sixth out of eight teams during its inaugural season in the conference. 

Match 8 Preview: at Weber State

Scouting The Match
The Series:
 The Broncos have won two straight over Weber State and hold a 26-16 advantage in the all-time series. These two programs were once conference rivals dating back to the old Mountain West Athletic Conference (1982-1987) followed by the Big Sky Conference (1988-1995). They have met only once in the last seven years with Boise State defeating the Wildcats 3-1 last season in Ogden. This is the first of two meetings in 2011 between the programs with Weber State returning the visit on Monday, Sept. 26, which will be Boise State's home opener.    

BSU-WSU Connection:  Boise State freshman Taylor Murphey has an older sister, Kolbie, who was a four-year starter for Weber State from 2004-07.

The Wildcats Recently:  Weber State has opened the season 0-9, including dropping four matches last week to Utah State (3-2), Saint Mary's (3-0), Creighton (3-0) and No. 11 Nebraska (3-0). Bethany Wray leads the Wildcats with 130.5 points on 117 kills (.167), seven aces, one solo block and 11 block assists. Briana Wilms follows with 86 points on 74 kills (.170), two aces, four solo blocks and 12 block assists.  

Looking at Weber State:  Weber State is the third Big Sky Conference school the Broncos have met so far in 2011. The Wildcats were picked to place ninth out of nine teams in this year's league race by the conference's coaches. Weber State returns three starters and eight letterwinners from last season's 4-27 campaign when they went 2-14 in league play to place ninth. The Wildcats are coached by Tom Peterson who is 0-9 in his first season at the school. 

What's Next: Matches 9-12, at Sooner Legends Nike Invitational

Boise State will return home following the Weber State match on Tuesday night before heading off to the Midwest for a tournament this weekend. The Broncos will participate in the Sooner Legends Nike Invitational Friday and Saturday in Norman, Okla.  Boise State will open the event against a pair of Southwestern Athletic Conference teams beginning with Texas Southern University at 9:00 a.m. (Mountain), followed by the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff at 4:00 p.m. The Broncos then open Saturday with a 1 p.m. match versus the University of Arkansas, Little Rock from the Sun Belt Conference, followed by an encounter against the tournament host No. 22 ranked University of Oklahoma out of the Big 12 Conference.

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