Women's Volleyball

Broncos Fall to No. 14 Washington in Opener

Northwest Challenge continues Saturday with matches against Portland State and Gonzaga.

SEATTLE, Wash. - Boise State knew its season opener was going to be tough against No. 14 Washington on the road, but the Broncos fought hard before falling in straight sets 25-19, 25-17, 25-21 in the Alaska Airlines Arena at Seattle. Newcomer Alyssa Gammel and senior Liz Harden led Boise State with 11 and nine kills, respectively. The match which started late Friday night, was the Broncos first contest of the weekend at the fifth annual Northwest Challenge.

"I thought we played hard throughout the match tonight," said Boise State head coach Shawn Garus. "I was happy with how we battled back when down, but it is only the first match of the year and we have some work to do. I thought Alyssa (Gammel) and Liz (Harden) did a solid job leading us tonight."

Boise State dropped the first two sets Friday night to fall behind 2-0 at the break. The first set was a tight one where the Broncos went point for point most of the way before losing 25-19. They opened slow in the second frame falling behind early.  Boise State battled back hard against the taller, 14th-ranked Huskies but lost the set 25-17.

Boise State came out in the third set strong taking an early lead. Then after the Huskies rallied to tie the score at 9-9, the Broncos responded with a 4-0 run to take momentum in the set.  Boise State kept the lead until Washington came back from three down rolling off a 5-0 run to tie the score at 16, followed by an 18-16 lead. Unfortunately for the Broncos, that was all the Huskies needed to take control down the stretch rallying for a 25-21 set and a 3-0 match victory.

Gammel a transfer from Virginia Tech led the Broncos in kills with 11 while hitting .185 percent (11-6-27) to go with two assists and 10 digs. Harden added nine kills along with a team-best .300 hitting percent. Fiona Jones was third in kills with five. Freshman Sarah Baugh led in assists with 12 to go with five digs, followed by Casey Rose with 11 assists and three digs. Senior libero Kersti Whitney recorded a team-high 14 digs.

Boise State finished the night with 35 kills and a team hitting percentage of .129, 33 assists,  two service aces and 43 digs. Washington countered with 32 kills while hitting .250 on the night. The Huskies also had 30 assists, five aces, 39 digs and 10.5 blocks. Krista Vansant led Washington with 12 kills and a .320 hitting percentage.

The Broncos played eight sophomores and freshmen against the nationally ranked Huskies. Others seeing their first action in the blue and orange in addition to Gammel were Aly Duffin, Katelyn Kinghorn, Sarah Baugh and Sarah Webster.

Boise State returns to action Saturday morning when it plays Portland State at 11:00 a.m. (Mountain) followed by a 5:30 p.m. match against Gonzaga.  Gonzaga pulled off a five-set upset over Portland State in the first match at the Northwest Challenge Friday.

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