Coach Garus has done what several before have tried to do but couldn't—build the Boise State women's volleyball team back into winners. The Lady Broncos got better with each set last night in defeating Portland at the Uni/Wyo Cowgirl Classic in Laramie, Wyoming. Boise State put away the Pilots 25-20, 25-11 and 25-9 to earn an opening round win in the tournament.
The Broncos featured blistering serves on the way to 13 team service aces to shock the Portland defense. Sophomore Kersti Whitney had a career-high five to lead the way, with seniors Lauren Hamm and Alisha Young and junior Amanda Remy getting two each and Breann Nesselhuf and Fiona Jones contributing an ace each.
Sophomore Liz Harden paced the Broncos with nine kills (.421 percentage). Sadie Maughan was an intimidating force at the net with seven blocks while Nesselhuf chalked up 27 assists and five digs. Whitney and Remy led the Broncos with seven digs each.
Boise State parlayed a 27-6 advantage in blocks, a .305 to -0.066 advantage in hitting percentage and a 36-20 edge in kills into the resounding win. Ariel Usher led Portland with seven kills while Kati Hronek added six kills and a team-high two blocks. Usher was joined by Madison Smith to lead the team with four digs, while Smith also led in assists (14).
Coach Garus's Broncos will take on Texas - Arlington and host Wyoming today with the Boise State-UTA match at 11 a.m. Mountain Time and the nightcap scheduled for 7 p.m.