BOISE, Idaho--Boise State's volleyball team returns home this week to take on San Diego State and Nevada. The Broncos and Aztecs meet Thursday at 7 p.m., while the Boise State-Nevada match is set for Saturday afternoon at 2.
The Broncos defeated San Diego State October 17 for their first-ever road win in San Diego in a classic five-set match, 26-24, 23-25, 25-23, 24-26, 17-15. Boise State started out that same road trip with a 20-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-21 win in Reno against the Wolf Pack.
Coach Shawn Garus' Broncos faced just one match last week, a three-set victory over San Jose State.
Boise State hit 39.8% in the win over San Jose State, which is a direct result of having a balanced offensive attack with multiple options and the ability of Bronco setter Sarah Baugh to distribute the ball.
"We had four players that were scoring at a really high level against them and in addition to that," Garus said. "Phoebe Bell was serving really well on the back line." "We passed well enough that Sarah had a lot of options," Garus continued. "She was able to move the sets around and give our hitters good opportunities to score in one-on-one situations."
Bell struck for four service aces in the match to keep the Spartans off guard. "I like that Phoebe is comfortable in any situation. I can send her in off the bench and she hasn't played for 2 1/2 sets, and I know she's going to go in there and be consistent with her serves. She's got a lefty knuckleball serve that moves a lot, which gives the opponent a lot of trouble. She can serve any zone on the court at any time, and it's just nice to have a lot of confidence in a player like that going back there willing to go for it in any situation."
Boise State has greatly improved its defense this season. Garus' team began the year near the bottom of the defensive categories (service aces, digs and blocks), yet now, in conference matches, the Broncos lead the Mountain West in digs and are third in service aces. One area in which the team still lags is in blocks.
Garus addressed that: "I feel like we have the physical ability to be good blockers--we're tall, we're athletic, we're working on the technique, which is your eye-sequence, making sure you're tracking the ball, reading the hitter's approach angles, and then the scouting information--knowing the opponents' tendencies, where they like to set the ball in different situations, and where those hitters' tendencies are on where to swing."