Boise State Heads to Las Vegas and San Diego
What's Happening This Week
Boise State (11-9, 2-3 MW) has two matches on its slate this weekend as the Broncos head south for Las Vegas, Nev., and San Diego, Calif.  Mountain West action continues as Boise State closes the first half of league play at UNLV (9-9, 2-3 MW) on Thursday, followed by an encounter at San Diego State (10-5, 3-2 MW) Saturday afternoon. Both matches are big for the Broncos who are among a six-team pack separated by one win, second to seventh place, in the league standings.    

A Quick Look at Boise State

Entering the Weekend
Boise State enters the weekend coming off a 3-1 defeat at Utah Valley Monday night in Orem, Utah, as the Broncos dropped to 11-9 overall while remaining at 2-3 in Mountain West play. The blue and orange won its last league contest in straight sets at Air Force Saturday, Oct. 8, night. The Broncos are struggling to find consistency this year looking good one day then the opposite the next.

As a Team
  • Offensively, the Broncos have hit the ball well at times with seven matches over .300, including a school record .585 (45-7-65) versus Texas Southern (Sept. 16). On the year Boise State is hitting .222. The Broncos average 12.9 kills per set, 12.2 assists and 1.2 aces.
  • Defensively, Boise State averages 14.2 digs and 1.9 blocks per set, while holding opponents to a .192 hitting percentage.
  • Boise State has won seven straight-set matches and is 7-2 overall in contests decided in three sets. They are 4-7 in sets that extend to four or more, 2-3 in four sets and 2-4 in five sets.
  • The Broncos have played better on the road 10-6 (5-4 away, 5-2 neutral) than at home where they are 1-3 to date.  

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 220.5 points on 204 kills (2.7 kps), hits .245 percent and has 32 blocks on the year. Harden passed teammate Elizabeth Griffin two weeks ago on the all-time career points top-10 list with 710.5 to rank seventh at Boise State.  She hit a career-high .818 (18-0-22) at Weber State on Sept. 13, which ranks fourth all-time at Boise State. In addition, Harden recorded a career-high 27 kills at Eastern Washington on Aug. 31 which is tied for second most kills all-time in a five set match (since rally scoring); career-high seven block assists versus Seattle on Oct. 4.

Fiona Jones, junior outside hitter:  Jones is the top scorer returning from 2010 when she recorded 331 points, third overall on team. Jones currently ranks second this year with 211.5 points while hitting .158 percent with 185 kills, eight aces, six solo blocks and 25 block assists.  She recorded a career-high for kills with 18 against Drake on Aug. 27, a career-best six block assists versus New Mexico (10/1/11) and a career-best 20 digs versus Pacific on Aug. 26.

Elizabeth Griffin, senior outside hitter: Griffin entered her senior campaign ranked 10th for career points with 529. She now ranks eighth overall after adding 178.5 points this year for a total of 707.5. Griffin is fourth in points this season with 165 kills (.158) and 27 block assists.

Brittany Reardon, redshirt-freshman middle blocker: Reardon is ranked 23rd nationally (as of 10/9/11) and is second in the Mountain West for hitting percentage at .373. She has made an early impact for the Broncos ranking third in points with 180 on 143 kills, six aces, five solo blocks and team second-best 52 block assists. Reardon hit a career-high .846 (11-0-13) against Texas Southern on Sept. 16, ranking second all-time for match hitting percentage. Hit .615 (9-1-13) at Air Force on Oct. 8.

Breann Nesselhuf, senior setter: Nesselhuf is the only returning all-conference player for Boise State, one of three honored by the WAC 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 587 this season for a career total of 2,862. Nesselhuf is also ranked fourth in career assists average at 9.28, she is averaging 7.62 this year. She is the only Bronco this year to be named to two all-tournament teams.

Amanda Remy, senior libero: Remy leads the Broncos defensive efforts with a team-high 327 digs. She recently moved into the top 10 all-time for career digs, currently ranked 9th with 1,105.

The Man in Charge
Shawn Garus, Head Coach: Garus is in his third season in charge of the Broncos where he has gone 40-43 overall, including a 11-9 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 155-163 (.487) in his 11th season.

Last Week for the Broncos
Boise State went 1-2 in week six of the season beginning with a 3-1 home loss to Seattle University on Monday, Oct. 4, followed by an impressive straight-set victory at Air Force in conference play on Saturday, Oct. 8. The week concluded with a disappointing 3-1 road loss at Utah Valley this past Monday, Oct. 10. In both of the losses the Broncos opened each match by winning set one then stumbled dropping the next three. 

Boise State's attack was relatively balanced last week during the three match run with four players scoring between 29 and 28 points. Fiona Jones had a team-high 29 points on 24 kills (.127), two aces and five blocks, followed by Elizabeth Griffin at 28.5 points, team-high 26 kills (.246) and five blocks. Liz Harden match Jones' point total with 28.5 off 23 kills (.213) and 11 blocks, while Brittany Reardon added 28 points, 23 kills, one ace and eight blocks while hitting a team-high .360. Overall, Boise State hit .178 compared to the opponents' .175.

Matches 21-22, MW Play Continues on the Road

Scouting Match #21 at UNLV
The Match/Series: Thursday's match at UNLV will be the first of two big conference contests for the Broncos this week as they are in the middle of a six team pack that is separated by one win. UNLV and Boise State enter the week tied for sixth at 2-3 in conference play. The Rebels bring a 9-9 overall mark and a 4-5 home record into the encounter. This will be the first conference meeting and fifth all-time between the two with the series tied at two apiece. UNLV has won the last two contests, most recently by a 3-0 margin on Sept. 2, 2006, at a neutral site. 

The Rebels Recently: UNLV has gone 3-3 in its last six matches including 2-3 in MW play. In conference matches the Rebels have won at home against San Diego State (3-0) on Sept. 29 and at TCU (3-1) this past Saturday. The three losses were at home to Colorado State (3-2) and Wyoming (3-2), with a road loss at New Mexico (3-0). Madeline Westman leads the team in scoring at 212.5 points on 156 kills (.303), 10 aces and 78 blocks. Makenzie Moea'i follows with 200 points on 184 kills (.214) and 26 blocks.
Looking at UNLV: UNLV is one of the original eight charter members of the Mountain West where it was picked seventh in this year's coaches poll.  The Rebels return four starters and six letterwinners from last season's 10-20 campaign when they finished tied for seventh at 5-11 in league. UNLV is in its first season under the direction of head coach Cindy Fredrick who is 9-9 at the school.

Scouting Match #22 at San Diego State
The Match/Series: The Aztecs will host Air Force Thursday prior to the Broncos match on Saturday afternoon. San Diego State is in a four-way tie for second with a 3-2 MW record and is 10-5 overall, 5-1 at home. The Aztecs won the only previous meeting between the programs by a 3-0 score on Sept. 9, 2005, at a neutral site.
The Aztecs Recently: They have won four of their last five matches which includes a 3-1 league mark in that span. In MW action San Diego State has lost at UNLV (3-0), defeated Wyoming (3-0), lost to Colorado State (3-1) and most recently swept a pair of road matches at TCU (3-2) on Oct. 6 and at New Mexico (3-2) this past Sunday, Oct. 9. Andrea Hannasch leads the Aztecs with 226.5 points, 169 kills, 16 aces and 74 blocks, while hitting a league best .382.  
Looking at San Diego State: The Aztecs are also charter members of the Mountain West and were picked to place third out of eight teams by the leagues coaches. SDSU returns six starters and 10 letterwinners from last season's 16-16 season when they went 8-8 in conference play to finish sixth. San Diego State is in its third season under coach Deitre Collins-Parker who is 35-36 at the school and 197-227 in 14 plus years as a head coach.

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