What's Happening This Week
The Broncos enter the week in sixth-place in the conference standings at 4-7. Boise State (13-13) closes the regular season with a four match homestand beginning this Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Bronco Gym against Utah Valley University (19-7) in a nonconference contest. This is a rematch of a contest played in Orem, Utah, on Oct. 10, when the Wolverines defeated the Broncos 3-1.
Mountain West action will resume with a rare Friday night encounter when Boise State host the U.S. Air Force Academy (3-21, 0-11 MW) at 7:00 p.m. The match is the second meeting of the season between the Falcons and Broncos with the blue and orange winning the first in straight sets on Oct. 8 in Colorado. A Quick Look at Boise State As a Team
The Broncos are coming off their final road trip of the regular season. It was a tough weekend for Boise State which lost both contests 3-0 at New Mexico (25-20, 25-13, 26-24) and TCU (29-27, 25-17, 25-16). Boise State hit a combined .161 percent (72-34-236) last week against the Lobos and Horned Frogs.
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 .211 (5th MW). The Broncos average 12.62 kills per set (6th in MW), 11.94 assists (4th in MW) and 1.21 service aces (5th MW).
Defensively, Boise State averages 14.03 digs per set (5th in MW), 1.87 blocks (6th in MW), while holding opponents to a .208 hitting percentage (6th in MW).
Boise State has won seven three-set matches and is 7-6 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 11-9 (6-7 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 273.5 points on 250 kills (2.58 kps), hits .209 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 763.5 to rank sixth 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 seventh overall after adding 219 points this year for a total of 748. Griffin is third in points this season with 201 kills (.141) and 36 block assists.
Brittany Reardon, redshirt-freshman middle blocker: Reardon is ranked 29th nationally (as of 10/24/11) and leads the Mountain West for hitting percentage at .373. She has made an impact for the Broncos as a redshirt freshman ranking sixth in points with 187.5 on 148 kills, six aces, six solo blocks and team second-best 55 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 705 this season for a career total of 2,980. Nesselhuf is also ranked fifth in career assists average at 9.03. 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 407 digs. She recently moved into the top 10 all-time for career digs and is currently ranked sixth with 1,185.
The Man in Charge
Shawn Garus, Head Coach: Garus is in his third season in charge of the Broncos where he has gone 42-47 overall, including a 13-13 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 157-167 (.487) in his 11th season. Last Week for the Broncos
Boise State entered the week looking to move up the league standings from fifth-place as it hit the road for the final regular season road trip to New Mexico and TCU. It was a tough trip for the Broncos as they struggled losing both in straight sets.
Breann Nesselhuf and Elizabeth Griffin led the team with 16.5 points and 15 kills apiece. Nesselhuf added 32 assists, 16 digs and three block assists to her week totals. Leah Stevens followed with 13.5 points while Liz Harden added 13. Boise State finished the week hitting .161 percent compared to the opponents' .283.
Scouting Match #27 Versus Utah Valley The Match/Series:
Utah Valley brings 19-7 overall mark into Tuesday's second meeting of the year between the Wolverines and Broncos. Utah Valley leads the overall series with Boise State 8-2, including a 3-1 decision (20-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-19) earlier this year in Orem, Utah, on Oct. 10. Boise State won last year's meeting in Boise 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-23). The Wolverines Recently:
UVU has won four straight contests and nine of its last 10 matches. They defeated two Great West Conference rivals at home last weekend, a 3-1 win over Houston Baptist and a 3-0 victory over Texas-Pan American. Erica Nish leads the team with 296.5 points on 205 kills (.281), 33 aces, eight solo blocks and 101 block assists. Chelsey Heaps is second with 287 points with 252 kills (.151), 11 aces, five solo blocks and 38 block assists.
Looking at Utah Valley:
The Wolverines are members of the Great West Conference where they were picked to place second out of six teams by the coaches. UVU returns four starters and eight letterwinners from last season's 21-11 campaign when they went 9-3 in GWC play to finish second. The Wolverines are in their 13th season under coach Sam Atoa who is 288-133 at the school.
The Wolverines defeated the Broncos in four sets 20-25, 25-17, 25-18 and 25-19 on Oct. 10 in Orem. UVU hit .237 percent compared to Boise State's .129 percent. Elizabeth Griffin led the Broncos with 13.5 points on 12 kills and three block assists while hitting .280. Liz Harden followed for Boise State with 12 points on 11 kills (.211) and two block assists. Sarah Clement led UVU with 16.5 points on 11 kills (.500), two solo blocks and seven block assists. Erica Nish added 15.5 points on 13 kills (.435), one solo block and three block assists.
Scouting Match #28 Versus Air Force The Match/Series:
Air Force enters the week at 3-21 overall and 0-11 in Mountain West play. Boise State has won the three previous meetings between the two programs including a 3-0 victory on Oct. 8 at USAF Academy, Colo.
The Falcons Recently:
Air Force had the same luck as Boise State last weekend losing to TCU then New Mexico in straight sets. The Falcons have lost 15 consecutive matches. Cami Richan leads the Falcons with 250.5 points on 230 kills (.133), 12 aces and 17 block assists. Ayesha Hein follows with 228.5 points on 186 kills (.272), 14 aces, six solo blocks and 45 block assists.
Looking at Air Force:
Air Force is a charter member of the Mountain West where it was picked eighth in this year's coaches poll. The Falcons return two starters and seven letterwinners from last season's 4-25 campaign. Air Force is in its second season under the direction of head coach Matt McShane who is 7-45 at the school. Last Time:
The last time these two met Boise State won in three (25-13, 25-19, 25-17) on Oct. 8 in Colorado. The Broncos hit a solid .347 percent in the match compared to .070 percent for the Falcons. Breann Nesselhuf and Brittany Reardon led Boise State with 10.5 points apiece. Nesselhuf had six kills, 17 assists, 10 digs and three assists, while Reardon recorded nine kills, one ace and one block assist in addition to hitting .615 percent. Victoria Foster led Air Force with 11 points on 11 kills while hitting .280 percent.