What's Happening This Week
Boise State (12-10, 3-4 MW) returns to Boise for homecoming week when the Broncos host two big Mountain West matches beginning with league leader and two-time defending champion Colorado State (13-4, 6-1 MW) at 7:00 pm (Mountain) in Bronco Gym. Homecoming week continues Saturday night when Boise State welcomes the Wyoming Cowgirls (14-8, 4-3 MW) to town for a 7:00 pm match. The Broncos are currently tied for fifth-place with New Mexico and UNLV, one win out of third-place where Wyoming is tied with TCU at 4-3.
Pack the Gym for Colorado State! First 500 poeple in will get pom poms to help cheer the Broncos on against the two-time defending MW champion Rams.
Saturday's promotion is free admission to anyone who presents a ticket from that afternoon's football game against Air Force.
A Quick Look at Boise State
As a Team
- The Broncos are coming off a road split in conference play last weekend defeating UNLV 3-2 then falling 3-0 at San Diego State.
- 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 .217 (5th MW). The Broncos average 12.7 kills per set (6th in MW), 11.98 assists (5th in MW) and 1.2 service aces (3rd MW).
- Defensively, Boise State averages 14.1 digs per set (6th in MW), 1.9 blocks (6th in MW), while holding opponents to a .196 hitting percentage (6th in MW).
- Boise State has won seven three-set matches and is 7-3 overall in contests decided in three sets. They are 5-7 in sets that extend to four or more, 2-3 in four sets and 3-4 in five sets.
- The Broncos have played better on the road 11-7 (6-5 away, 5-2 neutral) than at home where they are 1-3 to date.
Broncos to Watch
Liz Harden, junior outside hitter: Harden leads the Broncos in scoring at 231.5 points on 213 kills (2.5 kps), hits .228 percent and has 36 blocks on the year. Harden passed teammate
Elizabeth Griffin earlier this season on the all-time career points top-10 list and currently has 721.5 to rank seventh at Boise State. She hit a career-high .818 percent (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 220.5 points while hitting .156 percent with 194 kills, eight aces, six solo blocks and 25 block assists. She recorded a career-high for kills with 18 against Drake on Aug. 27, tied career-best for block assists with four 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 186 points this year for a total of 715. Griffin is third in points this season with 186 kills (.143) and 32 block assists.
Brittany Reardon, redshirt-freshman middle blocker: Reardon is ranked 29th nationally (as of 10/17/11) and leads the Mountain West for hitting percentage at .376. She has made an impact for the Broncos as a redshirt freshman ranking fourth in points with 183.5 on 145 kills, six aces, six solo blocks and team second-best 53 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 618 this season for a career total of 2,8893. Nesselhuf is also ranked fifth in career assists average at 9.13, she is averaging 7.27 this year. Recorded Boise State's first triple-double since 2006 and only the second since the inception of rally scoring in 2001 when she had 10 kills, 24 assists and career-high 19 digs at UNLV (10/13/11). 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 361 digs. She recently moved into the top 10 all-time for career digs, currently ranked 9th with 1,139.
The Man in Charge
Shawn Garus, Head Coach: Garus is in his third season in charge of the Broncos where he has gone 41-44 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 156-164 (.488) in his 11th season.
Last Week for the Broncos
Boise State was on the road for two last week splitting the pair with a 3-2 victory at UNLV on Thursday followed by a 3-0 defeat at San Diego State Saturday afternoon. The UNLV match went back and forth as the teams traded sets before the Broncos regrouped to take set five 15-9 to claim their third MW road win of the year. The San Diego State match was all Aztecs as Boise State struggled in the straight-set loss.
Darlene Nwagbuo led the Broncos with 23 points on 19 kills (.295) and eight blocks, followed by Breann Nesselhuf with 21.5 points, 16 kills (.268), two aces, six blocks, 31 assists and 24 digs. Boise State hit .163 percent (82-39-263) as a team with 16.5 blocks.
Scouting Match #23 Vs. Colorado State
The Match/Series: Thursday's match against Colorado State marks the start of the second half of Mountain West play. The Rams are currently leading the conference at 6-1 in league and 13-4 overall. They are also the two-time defending and eight-time Mountain West champions. This will be the second meeting of the year following a straight-set (25-13, 25-17, 25-20) victory by Colorado State in Fort Collins on Sept. 24. The Broncos have not defeated the Rams in three previous meetings.
The Rams Recently: Colorado State has won seven of its last eight matches with the lone loss coming two weeks ago at Wyoming in five sets. Last week they won a pair of home contests against New Mexico (3-0) and TCU (3-0). Katelyn Steffan leads CSU with 282 points on 239 kills (.280), 17 aces and 45 blocks, she leads the MW in points per set at 4.86. Megan Plourde, the MW Preseason Player of the Year, follows with 172 points, 123 kills (.295), five aces and 85 blocks, the junior leads the MW in blocks per set at 1.49.
Looking at Colorado State: CSU is one of the original eight charter members of the Mountain West where it was picked to three-peat as champions in this year's coaches poll. The Rams return four starters and seven letterwinners from last season's 26-5 campaign when they went 14-2 in league play. Colorado State is coached by Tom Hilbert, a former University of Idaho head coach, who is 371-94 in his 15th season in Fort Collins and 545-166 overall.
Last Time: The Rams defeated the Broncos in straight sets 25-13, 25-17 and 25-20 on Sept. 24 in Fort Collins. CSU hit .374 percent (44-10-91) compared to Boise State's season-low .039 percent (26-22-103). Fiona Jones led the Broncos with eight points, seven kills (.312) and two blocks, followed by Brittany Reardon with seven points, four kills (.111), two aces and two blocks. Casey Rose added seven points, four kills and three aces. Katelyn Steffan led CSU with 18.5 points, 14 kills (.667), one ace and four blocks, followed by Megan Plourde with 11 points, seven kills (.500), one ace and six blocks.
Scouting Match #24 Vs. Wyoming
The Match/Series: The Cowgirls will play at Air Force prior to traveling to Boise for Saturday's match. Wyoming is currently tied for third at 4-3, one win ahead of Boise State in the league standings. Boise State has won two straight over Wyoming, both on the road, in the last two seasons. The Broncos' first MW victory was in Laramie, Wyo., in the conference opener on Sept. 22, by a 3-2 score. The Cowgirls lead the overall series by a seven-to-five margin.
The Cowgirls Recently: Wyoming brings a 14-8 overall record into the week including the only league win over Colorado State this year by a 3-2 score in Laramie, on Oct. 8. Last week the Cowgirls split a pair of home matches losing a five set contest to TCU on Oct. 13 followed by a 3-0 victory over New Mexico last Saturday, Oct. 15. Jodi Purdy leads Wyoming with 353 points, 294 kills (.222), 27 aces and 58 blocks, in addition to a team-high 258 digs. Erin Kirby is second on the team in points with 209.5 on 158 kills (.350), nine solo blocks and 85 block assists.
Looking at Wyoming: The UW is a charter member of the Mountain West where they were picked just above the Broncos for fifth-place in this year's preseason poll. The Cowgirls return two starters and nine letterwinners from last season's 22-10 campaign when they went 7-9 in league play to place sixth out of nine. Wyoming is coached by Carrie Yerty who is 54-56 in her fourth season at the school and 287-232 overall as a head coach.
Last Time: Boise State won a hard fought five set match (25-20, 25-23, 18-25, 25-23, 15-12) at Laramie, Wyo., on Sept. 22. The Broncos hit .155 percent with nine blocks while the Cowgirls countered with .244 percent hitting and 13 blocks. Fiona Jones led a pack of four Broncos in double-figure points with 15.5 on 14 kills (.216) and three block assists. Darlene Nwagbuo added 11 points, nine kills (.350) and four block assists, followed by Breann Nesselhuf and Brittany Reardon with 10.5 points apiece. Reese Plante led UW with 19.5 points, 18 kills (.433) one block solo and one block assist, followed by Camille Coffman with 18.5 points, 15 kills (.429) and seven block assists.