Boise State Bronco Volleyball Team Hosts #20 Colorado State

Two of the nation's top 50 college volleyball teams collide tonight in Bronco Gym.

BOISE, Idaho--It isn't as if the Boise State volleyball team has never hosted a nationally-ranked team before.  The Broncos have done so several times, such as when nationally-ranked Washington came to town, or when Boise State hosted highly-regarded Hawai'i in the days of the Western Athletic Conference.

(BroncoCountry video by Doc Barnes)

The difference this time is the Lady Broncos have a realistic chance to win.  From what coach Shawn Garus is building in Boise, one gets the feeling that if Boise State does not emerge with a win tonight, they'll nab a win over a ranked team before long. 

Tonight, 20th-ranked Colorado State enters Bronco Gym riding an undefeated 8-0 record in the Mountain West Conference and sporting a sparkling 15-3 overall mark.  Given that the last time these two teams met, it went to five sets before the Rams squeaked it out in Fort Collins; tonight's encounter has the possibility of being a thriller for Bronco fans.  The local volleyball community is well aware of it, and is excited to see great college volleyball.

But what does the match mean for the thousands of football and volleyball fans?  Why should they get excited about the Bronco volleyball team?  Garus has laid the building blocks for an outstanding team.  Setter Sarah Baugh has been stellar in her career, amongst the all-time leaders at Boise State in career assists.  What Garus has done, bringing middle blocker Kaitlin Oliver into the fold in the 2013 recruiting class (Oliver redshirted her first year) and then outside hitter Sierra Nobley and libero Maddi Osburn into the mix last year, is give Baugh a variety of options to choose from when she distributes the ball.

As Garus said, "Once new fans come to a Bronco volleyball match, and see what this team has to offer, they'll be hooked."

The setter in many ways is like a quarterback in football or a point guard in basketball.  Baugh surveys the defense and determines where they are vulnerable, then sets the ball accordingly, giving her team the best chance for a point.  She is far and away the #1 assists leader in the conference, averaging 12.18 assists per set.  Since the winning team usually obtains 25 points in a set, that means Baugh is assisting on nearly half of the Broncos' points this season.

(BroncoCountry video by Doc Barnes)

Sarah does numerous other things for Boise State besides setting.  She is eighth in the conference in service aces, she can block shots, she can go dig the ball off the court to keep it alive, and she keeps the opposition guessing with quick flicks across the net when they are least expecting it, not to mention the invaluable senior leadership she provides.  To a person, the Bronco team praises Baugh for her setting ability and says that Sarah holds them accountable and makes them better players.

Baugh earned All-Mountain West honors last season, but she is far from the only star on the Bronco team.  Junior Maddy O'Donnell is a great all-around talent at middle blocker.  O'Donnell is an intelligent player who can spot what the opposing team is doing and be able to adjust her shot to find an open area.  Maddy's hitting percentage (kills minus errors divided by total attacks) of 37.2% last year is the fourth-highest in school history, while her blocks per set last year (1.08) ranks sixth all-time at Boise State.  O'Donnell has picked up right where she left off, averaging 34.7% this season.  She has also become a reliable server and can dig the ball off the court as well.

(BroncoCountry video by Doc Barnes)

The future for sophomore outside hitter Sierra Nobley is bright--opponents so fear Nobley that they try to hit the ball to her in an effort to take her out of the Bronco offense, as O'Donnell describes in the video above.  She is one of the most powerful hitters in the conference, leading the Mountain West in kills and points, and Nobley also has moved into the Top 10 in the conference in service aces and has posted double-digit digs in matches this season.

At 6'4", sophomore Kaitlin Oliver is an imposing force.  If she were the only threat at the net, the opposition could just work around her, but they also have Nobley, O'Donnell and senior Katelyn Kinghorn to contend with.  As coach Garus says, "They have to pick their poison.  If they don't want Nobley to beat them, then O'Donnell will.  If they stay away from O'Donnell, Oliver will beat them."

Boise State and Colorado State are 1-2 in most offensive statistics in the conference.  The edge that the Rams have had is in defense, something that Garus has stressed all season to his team.  If the Broncos are to stay with Colorado State tonight, they will have to do it with defense, emulating the Rams' superb combination of serves, blocks and digs.  That strategy seems tailor-made for the talented Oliver, named Mountain West Newcomer of the Year last season.

Doc Barnes

Oliver not only skies high above the net for blocks; she has perfected her game to be able to up high for the kill and keep it in bounds.  She has made just 38 errors in 370 attack attempts this year and is sandwiched between two Ram players, Acacia Andrews and Adrianna Culbert, in second place in the conference in hitting percentage (42.2%).  If Oliver were to continue her torrid pace, she would smash the school record of 37.8% set two years ago by Brittany Reardon.  

Doc Barnes

Kinghorn is a great competitor who, like Baugh, wants to go out with a special season.  Katelyn gives the Broncos another gamer at outside hitter (her kill was the winning shot in Boise State's marathon win over San Diego State last Saturday.)  She too is a versatile player who can block shots, pass and dig for the Broncos.

Garus also has increasingly brought true freshman Sabryn Roberts into the lineup, and the 5'9" Roberts has become one of Boise State's most reliable scorers.  Roberts now ranks third on the Broncos with 167 kills and third with 2.93 points per set.

Doc Barnes

Exciting sophomore libero Maddi Osburn, from nearby Vallivue High School in Nampa, is praised by Garus for her athleticism.  Osburn flies all over the court keeping balls from hitting the floor and getting them to her teammates to keep rallies alive.  Osburn ranks third in the Mountain West with 4.43 digs per set.

Junior Hannah Hubbard is a specialist who brings the team another great digger and passer, and will often substitute in to serve--she is third on the team with 17 service aces.

Freshman Phoebe Bell, who at 6'5" is the tallest Bronco volleyball player in program history, is another budding talent that Boise State fans will be hearing more about, another versatile talent that Garus has recruited.

The Broncos know they have a dangerous opponent in the Rams.  CSU features a trio of threats, Andrews, Culbert and Alexandra Poletto, all ranked in the Top 10 in hitting percentage.  That lineup makes it impossible to focus on any one of the three, and combined, they represent a menacing attack force.  

Culbert was the preseason Mountain West Player of the Year.  In addition to ranking third in the conference in hitting percentage (36.1%), Culbert is fifth in the Mountain West in service aces (.32 per set) and eighth in points per set (3.62).  

Alex Reid is perhaps the Rams' most powerful spiker (3.31 kills per set), fourth in the conference.  Andrews (1.41 blocks per set, third in the Mountain West) and Poletto (eighth with an even one block per set) are a formidable combination, and represent the advantage that Colorado State has over the Broncos.  Crystal Young is CSU's setter, with 6.31 assists per set, while libero Jaime Colaizzi ranks sixth in the MW with 4.12 digs per set.  

The Mountain West statistical leaders are presented below, which shows all of the things that Boise State and Colorado State do well.  Defense will be the key, as it often is in any sport.

The clash between CSU and the Broncos gets underway at 7 tonight in Bronco Gym (south of Taco Bell Arena).  The match is a "Blackout" with fans encouraged to wear black.  The first 300 fans inside the door get free sunglasses as part of the promotion.  But the real attraction is seeing two of the top 50 volleyball teams in the nation go at it.

Conference Team Leaders

HITTING PERCENTAGESKETAPct.
1. Boise State 74 1092 368 2588 .280
2. Colorado State 59 821 276 2022 .270
3. UNLV 76 936 364 2603 .220
4. New Mexico 74 931 371 2595 .216
5. Air Force 84 1059 476 2752 .212
6. Fresno State 83 1131 522 2997 .203
7. Wyoming 75 887 371 2544 .203
8. Nevada 73 896 434 2583 .179
9. San Jose State 80 993 502 2755 .178
10. San Diego State 73 910 482 2553 .168
11. Utah State 78 856 431 2641 .161

 

Opponent Hitting Pct.SKETAPct.
1. Wyoming 75 981 547 2799 .155
2. Colorado State 59 681 355 2093 .156
3. UNLV 76 982 508 2779 .171
4. San Jose State 80 859 407 2593 .174
5. New Mexico 74 902 441 2642 .174
6. Fresno State 83 1010 432 2850 .203
7. Boise State 74 908 361 2543 .215
8. Nevada 73 907 366 2467 .219
9. Utah State 78 1067 455 2736 .224
10. Air Force 84 1020 427 2547 .233
11. San Diego State 73 927 328 2442 .245

 

ASSISTSSNo.Avg/S
1. Boise State 74 1029 13.91
2. Colorado State 59 747 12.66
3. Fresno State 83 1005 12.11
4. Air Force 84 983 11.70
5. New Mexico 74 861 11.64
6. San Jose State 80 916 11.45
7. Nevada 73 827 11.33
8. San Diego State 73 824 11.29
9. UNLV 76 851 11.20
10. Wyoming 75 800 10.67
11. Utah State 78 806 10.33

 

KILLSSNo.Avg/S
1. Boise State 74 1092 14.76
2. Colorado State 59 821 13.92
3. Fresno State 83 1131 13.63
4. Air Force 84 1059 12.61
5. New Mexico 74 931 12.58
6. San Diego State 73 910 12.47
7. San Jose State 80 993 12.41
8. UNLV 76 936 12.32
9. Nevada 73 896 12.27
10. Wyoming 75 887 11.83
11. Utah State 78 856 10.97

 

BLOCKSSBSBATotalAvg/S
1. Wyoming 75 43 360 223.0 2.97
2. UNLV 76 38 375 225.5 2.97
3. Colorado State 59 34 262 165.0 2.80
4. New Mexico 74 61 256 189.0 2.55
5. Air Force 84 40 271 175.5 2.09
6. Fresno State 83 26 280 166.0 2.00
7. Boise State 74 20 249 144.5 1.95
8. Utah State 78 19 263 150.5 1.93
9. San Diego State 73 21 233 137.5 1.88
10. San Jose State 80 30 234 147.0 1.84
11. Nevada 73 24 213 130.5 1.79

 

SERVICE ACESSNo.Avg/S
1. Nevada 73 118 1.62
2. San Jose State 80 114 1.42
3. Colorado State 59 77 1.31
4. Air Force 84 109 1.30
5. New Mexico 74 96 1.30
6. Fresno State 83 106 1.28
7. Boise State 74 93 1.26
8. San Diego State 73 87 1.19
9. Wyoming 75 88 1.17
10. Utah State 78 76 0.97
11. UNLV 76 59 0.78

 

DIGSSNo.Avg/S
1. Colorado State 59 904 15.32
2. Fresno State 83 1238 14.92
3. New Mexico 74 1077 14.55
4. San Jose State 80 1157 14.46
5. Boise State 74 1064 14.38
6. Nevada 73 1041 14.26
7. UNLV 76 1065 14.01
8. Wyoming 75 1035 13.80
9. San Diego State 73 1000 13.70
10. Utah State 78 1066 13.67
11. Air Force 84 969 11.54

 

ATTENDANCE Home Avg   Away Avg   Neutral Avg   Total attend Avg
Air Force 11-3184 289   6-4574 762   5-790 158   22-8548 389
Boise State 6-4147 691   8-5256 657   6-1752 292   20-11155 558
Colorado State 12-27517 2293   5-4258 852   1-0 0   18-31775 1765
Fresno State 12-7348 612   6-3397 566   4-318 80   22-11063 503
Nevada 7-2122 303   8-3546 443   5-780 156   20-6448 322
New Mexico 10-11729 1173   6-5316 886   4-300 75   20-17345 867
San Diego State 7-2224 318   10-10396 1040   4-333 83   21-12953 617
San Jose State 8-2168 271   7-3626 518   6-564 94   21-6358 303
UNLV 9-4304 478   7-6394 913   4-0 0   20-10698 535
Utah State 9-7504 834   8-5114 639   5-2314 463   22-14932 679
Wyoming 13-11368 874   5-4227 845   2-384 192   20-15979 799
Totals 104-83615 804   76-56104 738   46-7535 164   226-147254 652  

 

Conference Individual Leaders

 

(Players listed below have played in at least 50.00 percent of their team's games.)
 
Hitting % (Min. 3.0 TA/set)ClSKETAPct.
1. ANDREWS, Acacia-Colorado State JR 59 128 19 247 .441
2. OLIVER, Kaitlyn-Boise State SO 74 194 38 370 .422
3. CULBERT, Adrianna-Colorado State SR 57 161 40 335 .361
4. PARKER, Taylor-Air Force SR 83 145 37 304 .355
5. BEACH, Laura-Wyoming JR 75 187 47 402 .348
6. O'DONNELL, Maddy-Boise State JR 66 159 46 326 .347
7. HENDERSON, Simone-New Mexico SR 70 172 42 378 .344
8. HAMMEL, Bree-UNLV JR 76 223 56 487 .343
9. POLETTO, Alexandra-Colorado State SO 59 131 45 268 .321
10. HARRIS, Deja-San Diego State FR 73 169 68 344 .294
 
KILLSClSNo.Avg/S
1. NOBLEY, Sierra-Boise State SO 73 332 4.55
2. CLEMENT, Akokwe-Air Force SR 84 311 3.70
3. MORELL, Madison-Nevada JR 73 260 3.56
4. REID, Alex-Colorado State SR 59 195 3.31
5. FOLEY, Madison-Nevada SO 73 236 3.23
6. SOURS, Devanne-New Mexico JR 74 233 3.15
7. GALE, Rachel-Utah State SO 77 242 3.14
8. KAMALU, Kaylie-Utah State JR 77 240 3.12
9. BOWENS, Zana-Fresno State SR 83 247 2.98
10. HAMMEL, Bree-UNLV JR 76 223 2.93
 
ASSISTSClSNo.Avg/S
1. BAUGH, Sarah-Boise State SR 74 901 12.18
2. ROTHFUSS, Taylar-Nevada SR 50 514 10.28
3. JOHNSON, Hannah-New Mexico SR 73 716 9.81
4. PATTERSON, Alexis-UNLV SO 76 727 9.57
5. LEGAUX, Brooke-Fresno State JR 77 642 8.34
6. JONES, Hailey-San Diego State JR 72 546 7.58
7. MEEHAN, Allison-San Jose State SR 71 527 7.42
8. JOHNSON, Kassidy-Utah State FR 60 440 7.33
9. YOUNG, Crystal-Colorado State SR 59 376 6.37
10. HELLMAN, Sarah-Air Force FR 84 500 5.95
 
SERVICE ACESClSNo.Avg/S
1. MORELL, Madison-Nevada JR 73 35 0.48
2. TRESNAKOVA, Hana-San Jose State FR 57 23 0.40
3. BRADLEY POWERS, Rach-Air Force SR 82 31 0.38
4. FOLEY, Madison-Nevada SO 73 27 0.37
5. CULBERT, Adrianna-Colorado State SR 57 18 0.32
6. SOURS, Devanne-New Mexico JR 74 23 0.31
7. COATES, Aleisha-Fresno State JR 82 25 0.30
8. BAUGH, Sarah-Boise State SR 74 22 0.30
9. BOLDEN, Danielle-San Diego State SO 72 21 0.29
10. NOBLEY, Sierra-Boise State SO 73 21 0.29
 
BLOCKSClSBSBATotalAvg/S
1. COPELAND, Reed-Wyoming FR 72 13 102 115.0 1.60
2. OWENS, Ashley-UNLV SO 72 11 94 105.0 1.46
3. ANDREWS, Acacia-Colorado State JR 59 9 74 83.0 1.41
4. HAMMEL, Bree-UNLV JR 76 13 83 96.0 1.26
5. GULLATT, Skye-New Mexico SR 68 23 58 81.0 1.19
6. BEACH, Laura-Wyoming JR 75 12 74 86.0 1.15
7. PARKER, Taylor-Air Force SR 83 13 71 84.0 1.01
8. POLETTO, Alexandra-Colorado State SO 59 5 54 59.0 1.00
 
DIGSClSNo.Avg/S
1. EPPRIGHT, Maggie-Fresno State SO 83 406 4.89
2. RIEHL, Carly-UNLV JR 76 337 4.43
3. OSBURN, Maddi-Boise State SO 74 328 4.43
4. WALDVOGEL, Allison-Wyoming SR 75 324 4.32
5. GLEASON, Hannah-Utah State JR 78 332 4.26
6. COLAIZZI, Jaime-Colorado State SR 59 243 4.12
7. BATES, Rebecca-Air Force SR 84 283 3.37
8. ROSADO, Yavianliz-San Jose State SO 80 261 3.26
9. KASSER, Kara-Nevada SR 73 238 3.26
10. PRITCHARD, Devyn-San Diego State SO 57 184 3.23
 
POINTSClSKSABSBATotalAvg/S
1. NOBLEY, Sierra-Boise State SO 73 332 21 3 31 371.5 5.09
2. CLEMENT, Akokwe-Air Force SR 84 311 22 8 31 356.5 4.24
3. MORELL, Madison-Nevada JR 73 260 35 2 17 305.5 4.18
4. REID, Alex-Colorado State SR 59 195 12 7 25 226.5 3.84
5. HAMMEL, Bree-UNLV JR 76 223 9 13 83 286.5 3.77
6. FOLEY, Madison-Nevada SO 73 236 27 1 18 273.0 3.74
7. SOURS, Devanne-New Mexico JR 74 233 23 1 31 272.5 3.68
8. CULBERT, Adrianna-Colorado State SR 57 161 18 3 49 206.5 3.62
9. KAMALU, Kaylie-Utah State JR 77 240 17 2 29 273.5 3.55
10. GALE, Rachel-Utah State SO 77 242 15 1 22 269.0 3.49
 

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