Volleyball Takes Final Regular Season Road Trip
What's Happening This Week
Boise State (13-11, 4-5 MW) hits the road for the final time in the regular season as the Broncos head to Albuquerque, N.M., and Fort Worth, Texas. The blue and orange will take on Mountain West members University of New Mexico (11-10, 3-5 MW) at 7:00 pm (Mountain) on Thursday, followed by a Saturday matinee at TCU (18-4, 5-3 MW) which begins at noon (Mountain) in Texas. Boise State enters the week in sole possession of fifth-place in the standings while New Mexico is tied for sixth and TCU is third. All three are battling for seeding into next month's conference tournament which will be held in Albuquerque. Fans can followed the Broncos on the road via live stats by going to the host institution's website.

A Quick Look at Boise State

As a Team
  • The Broncos are coming off a home split in conference play last weekend losing in three (25-15, 25-17, 25-16) to league leader Colorado State, then rebounded to down Wyoming in four (21-25, 25-13, 25-22, 25-22). Boise State hit a combined .190 percent (89-45-229) last week against the Rams and Cowgirls. While the Broncos were swept by CSU (2-0) in the season series, Boise State did earn the sweep over Wyoming with Saturday's victory in Boise.
  • 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 .215 (5th MW). The Broncos average 12.66 kills per set (6th in MW), 11.97 assists (4th in MW) and 1.25 service aces (4th MW).
  • Defensively, Boise State averages 13.91 digs per set (6th in MW), 1.85 blocks (6th in MW), while holding opponents to a .202 hitting percentage (7th in MW).
  • Boise State has won seven three-set matches and is 7-4 overall in contests decided in three sets. They are 6-7 in sets that extend to four or more, 3-3 in four sets and 3-4 in five sets.
  • The Broncos have played better on the road this year going 11-7 (6-5 away, 5-2 neutral) than at home where they are 2-4 to date.  

Broncos to Watch
Liz Harden, junior outside hitter: Harden leads the Broncos in scoring at 260.5 points on 237 kills (2.6 kps), hits .231 percent and has 38 blocks on the year. Harden passed teammate Elizabeth Griffin earlier this season on the all-time career points top-10 list and currently has 750.5 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 suffered a season ending injury at UNLV on Oct. 13. At the time of her injury she ranked second on the team with 220.5 points while hitting .156 percent with 194 kills, eight aces, six solo blocks and 25 block assists.  

Elizabeth Griffin, senior outside hitter: Griffin entered her senior campaign ranked 10th for career points with 529. She now ranks eighth overall after adding 202.5 points this year for a total of 731.5. Griffin is third in points this season with 186 kills (.134) and 33 block assists.

Brittany Reardon, redshirt-freshman middle blocker: Reardon is ranked 29th nationally (as of 10/24/11) and is second in the Mountain West for hitting percentage at .371. She has made an impact for the Broncos as a redshirt freshman ranking sixth in points with 184 on 145 kills, six aces, six solo blocks and team second-best 54 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 673 this season for a career total of 2,948. Nesselhuf is also ranked fifth in career assists average at 9.10. Nesselhuf 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). The senior had a career-high 16 kills and 17 points against Wyoming (10/22/11). 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 384 digs. She recently moved into the top 10 all-time for career digs, this past weekend versus Colorado State and Wyoming she moved to 8th with 1,162. She enters this week needing seven to tie for seventh (1,169) and 11 to tie for sixth (1,173).

The Man in Charge
Shawn Garus, Head Coach: Garus is in his third season in charge of the Broncos where he has gone 42-45 overall, including a 13-11 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 157-165 (.488) in his 11th season.

Last Week for the Broncos

The Broncos faced a big week at home with the two-time defending Mountain West champion Colorado State Rams and the Wyoming Cowgirls coming too town for homecoming. Boise State entered the week in a six-team pack battling it out for second through seventh-place in the league standings.

CSU came to town in first-place (6-1) and showed why with a quick 3-0 victory over the Broncos. Boise State rebounded Saturday night with a solid 3-1 win over Wyoming recording two season firsts, the Broncos first home league win and their first victory of the year after dropping the opening set.

Liz Harden led the Broncos during the week with 29 points on 24 kills, four aces and two block assists, while hitting .268 percent. Breann Nesselhuf  was second with 19 points on 17 kills (.294) and two aces to go with a team-high 55 assists. Darlene Nwagbuo followed with 18 points, 14 kills, two solo blocks and four block assists. Amanda Remy recorded 23 digs during the week to move up to eighth-place for career digs at Boise State with 1,162.

Scouting Match #25 at New Mexico
The Match/Series: New Mexico brings a 11-10 overall mark and a 3-5 league record into the second meeting of the year between the two schools. UNM is currently tied with UNLV for sixth-place in the standings, a half-game back of Boise State. On Thursday the Lobos and Broncos will meet for the second time this season and the third time overall with UNM winning both previous encounters.  Boise State lost a four-set decision (30-28, 25-23, 23-25, 26-24) to New Mexico in Boise on Oct. 1. 

The Lobos Recently:
New Mexico split a pair of road contests last week losing at TCU in three followed by a straight set victory at Texas-Pan American on Sunday. Ashley Rhoades leads the Lobos with 357.5 points on 304 kills (.255), 13 aces and 70 blocks. Kelly Williamson is second with 288 points, 266 kills (.159), one ace and 33 blocks.
Looking at New Mexico: New Mexico is one of the original members of the Mountain West where they were picked to place second in the conference race by the coaches. The Lobos return four starters and nine letterwinners from last season's 20-10 campaign which saw them go 12-4 in league to place second. UNM advanced to the first roud of the NCAA Tournament where it lost to USC 3-0. The Lobos are coached by Jeff Nelson who is in his fifth year at New Mexico where he has a 89-50 record, he is 331-196 overall in his 17-year career.

Last Time: The Lobos defeated the Broncos in four sets 30-28, 25-23, 23-25, 26-24 on Oct. 1 in Boise. UNM hit .225 percent compared to Boise State's .198 percent. Liz Harden led the Broncos with 15.5 points on 15 kills (.146) and one block assist, followed by Fiona Jones with 15 points on 12 kills (.321), one ace and four block assists.  For UNM it was the Ashley Rhoades show who recorded 36 points on 31 kills (.444), two solo blocks and six block assists.

Scouting Match #26 at TCU

The Match/Series: The Horned Frogs will host Air Force prior to the Boise State match on  Saturday. TCU brings a 18-4 record and 5-3 league mark into the weekend. The Frogs have won both previous encounters with the Broncos including a hard fought 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 17-25, 25-18, 15-7) win in Boise on Sept. 29.
The Horned Frogs Recently: TCU is 2-1 in its last three matches including a 3-0 win over New Mexico last week in its only contest. Kristen Hester leads the Horned Frogs with 321.5 points on 277 kills (.375), 16 aces, seven solo blocks and 43 block assists. Jordan Raines is second with 271 points on 244 kills (.199), 12 aces, two solo blocks and 26 block assists.  
Looking at TCU:  The Horned Frogs were picked to place fourth in the MW preseason coaches poll. TCU returns four starters and seven letterwinners from last season's 15-16 campaign when they went 5-11 in league play to place tied for seventh out of nine. The Frogs are coached by Prentice Lewis who is 190-127 in her 10th season at the school.  

Last Time: The last time these two met the match went back and forth as it took five sets to decide the winner in Boise on Sept. 29. In the end, TCU came out victorious 22-25, 25-21, 17-25, 25-18, 15-7. Liz Harden led the Broncos with 16 points on 15 kills (.355) and two block assists, followed by Fiona Jones with 14.5 points on 13 kills (.200), one ace and one block assist. Jordan Raines led the Horned Frogs with 24 points off 21 kills (.419), one ace and four block assists. Kristen Hester backed Raines up with 20.5 points from 16 kills (.222) and nine block assists.  TCU hit .257 percent against the Broncos compared to Boise State's .216 percent.  

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