Broncos Head to Sooner Legends Nike Invitational

Boise State's Tournament Schedule

Sooner Legends Nike Invitational
Host: University of Oklahoma
Norman, Okla. (McCasland Fieldhouse)

Friday, Sept. 16

    Vs. Texas Southern at 9:00 a.m. (Mountain)
   Live Stats:  http://www.cstv.com/gametracker/launch/?event=1014540&school=fo&sport=wvolley&

   Vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 4:00 pm (Mountain)
   Live Stats: http://www.cstv.com/gametracker/launch/?event=1014549&school=fo&sport=wvolley&

Saturday, Sept. 17
   Vs. Arkansas-Little Rock at 1:00 pm (Mountain)
   Live Stats: http://www.cstv.com/gametracker/launch/?event=1014576&school=fo&sport=wvolley&

   Vs. No. 22 Oklahoma at 6:00 pm (Mountain)
   Live Stats: http://soonersports.cstv.com/gametracker/launch/?event=1008433&school=okla&sport=wvolley&

 

What's Happening This Week
Boise State University continued its 14-match road swing Tuesday night when the Broncos traveled to Ogden, Utah, where they defeated Weber State University (0-10) in straight sets 3-0 to improve to 5-3 on the year.

Boise State will now travel to the Midwest where the Broncos will play four contests over the weekend at the Sooner Legends Nike Invitational at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. Tournament action for the Blue and Orange begins Friday at 9:00 a.m. (all times listed in this release are Mountain) versus Texas Southern University (1-6) followed by a 4:00 p.m. match against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-9).

The weekend's competition continues on Saturday with a pair of matches against the University of Arkansas-Little Rock (3-7) at 1:00 p.m. followed by the biggest match of the weekend for the Broncos  when they take on No. 22 ranked Oklahoma (9-3) at 6:00 p.m. All four contests at the tournament will be played in McCasland Fieldhouse on the OU campus.

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 107.5 points on 101 kills (3.26 kps), hits .267 percent and has 12 blocks on the year. Harden now has 597.5 career points to rank eighth 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 95 points in 32 sets while hitting .118 percent with 83 kills, four aces, four solo blocks and eight 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 72 points through the first eight matches this year for a total of 601. Griffin is fourth in points this season with 70 kills (.136) and four block assists. 

Brittany Reardon, redshirt-freshman middle blocker: Reardon has made an early impact for the Broncos ranking third in points with 78.5 on 62 kills, two aces, three solo blocks and team-best 23 block assists, while hitting a team-high .395. 

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 310 this season for a career total of 2,585. Nesselhuf is also ranked fourth career assists average at 9.79 through eight matches in 2011, she is averaging 9.69 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 34-37 overall, including a 5-3 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 149-157 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. 


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

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 (SWAC) teams beginning with Texas Southern at 9:00 a.m. (Mountain), followed by the Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 4:00 p.m. The Broncos then open Saturday with a 1 p.m. match versus the Arkansas-Little Rock from the Sun Belt Conference, followed by an encounter against the tournament host No. 22 ranked Oklahoma out of the Big 12 Conference. This weekend is one of new faces for Boise State who has never meet any of these schools on the volleyball court prior to this season.

Scouting Match #9 vs Texas Southern 
The Match/Series: The Broncos will open the Sooner Legends Nike Invitational Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. in what will be the first meeting between Texas Southern and Boise State in volleyball.    

The Tigers Recently:
 Texas Southern entered the week 0-6 overall before defeating Huston-Tillotson 3-0 Tuesday night at home in Houston. The Tigers enter the weekend at 1-6 overall. Mona Reed leads the Tigers with 42 kills (.178), six assists, two aces, and four blocks. 

Looking at Texas Southern: TSU, located in Houston, will be the first of two Southwestern Athletic Conference schools the Broncos will meet on Friday. The Tigers were picked to place fifth out of five teams in the conference's western division during this year's league race. Texas Southern returns five starters and seven letterwinners from last season's 5-20 campaign when they went 3-5 in league play to place fourth in the west. The Tigers are coached by Jocelyn Adams who is 1-6 in her first season at the school.

Scouting Match #10 vs Arkansas-Pine Bluff
The Match/Series: Friday will conclude with the first meeting ever with UAPB. The Lions will be the second and final Southwestern Athletic Conference team the Broncos will face this year, both at this tournament.     

The Lions Recently: Arkansas-Pine Bluff won its first match of the year with a 3-1 decision Tuesday night over Alcorn State University. The Lions enter the Sooner Legends Nike Invitational with a 1-9 overall mark.

Looking at UAPB:  The Lions  were projected by the coaches to place second out of five teams in the SWAC's  western division in this year's league race. UAPB returns five starters and 10 letterwinners from last season's 7-24 campaign when they went 5-3 in league play. The Lions are coached by Nyeshia Aldridge who is 1-9 in her first season at the school.

Scouting Match #11 vs Arkansas-Little Rock 
The Match/Series:
 Saturday will start for the Broncos with a 1:00 p.m. match versus Arkansas-Little Rock. It will be the first time these two programs have ever met.  

The Trojans Recently:  UALR takes a 3-7 overall record into the weekend tournament. The Trojans are coming off three losses last weekend at a University of Mississippi tournament losing to Ole Miss (3-0), Central Arkansas (3-2) and Northwestern (3-0). They are led by Edina Begic with 154.5 points on 132 kills (.235), 13 service aces, and 17 blocks. Paige Gantar follows with 140.5 points off of 118 kills (.305), one ace, and 35 blocks.

Looking at UALR:  Arkansas-Little Rock is a member of the Sun Belt Conference where it was picked to place fifth out of six teams in the league's western division during this year's race. The Trojans return five starters and five letterwinners from last season's 7-19 campaign when they went 5-11 in league play to place fifth in the west. UALR is in its 24th season under the direction of head coach Van Compton who owns a 403-296 record at the school.

Scouting Match #12 vs No. 22 Oklahoma 
The Match/Series:
 The Broncos will wrap-up this weekend's competition with a match against No. 22 Oklahoma. The Sooners will be the second AVCA Top-25 team that Boise State has faced this season after losing 3-0 to current No. 4 Washington on Sept. 3. This will also mark the first time that the Broncos have played Oklahoma in volleyball.   

The Sooners Recently: Oklahoma enters the weekend with a 9-3 record and is coming off wins over Florida A&M (3-0) and Auburn (3-0), as well as a 3-1 loss at No. 20 Miami (Fla.) last week. The Sooners lost 3-2 at Wichita State Wednesday night in their most recent outing. Suzy Boulavsky leads OU with 147 points on 125 kills (.258), five aces, one solo block and 32 block assists. Sallie McLaurin is second with 144.5 points off 109 kills (.370), nine aces, six solo blocks and team-high 41 block assists.

Looking at Oklahoma:  OU was picked by the Big 12 Conference coaches to place tied for second out of nine teams in this season's league race. The Sooners return six starters and 12 letterwinners from last year's 23-11 campaign when they went 13-7 in conference action to place third. OU is coached by Santiago Restrepo who is currently 258-168 in his 15th season at the school. 


Next Week: Matches 13-14, Mountain West Play Begins
Boise State's 14-match road swing will close next week when the Broncos open their first ever Mountain West campaign, Sept. 22-24, with a trip to new league rivals the University of Wyoming and No. 19 ranked Colorado State University. 

The Broncos home opener is set for Monday, Sept. 26, when the Weber State Wildcats return this Tuesday's match in Ogden, Utah, with a trip to Boise. That will be the first of four consecutive home matches for Boise State.


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