COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado--Five members of the Boise State volleyball team were named to the All-Mountain West Conference team, and Bronco head coach Shawn Garus was named coach of the year.
Senior Sarah Baugh, junior Maddy O'Donnell and sophomores Sierra Nobley, Kaitlyn Oliver and Maddi Osburn were named to the 18-member All-Mountain West Team, a school record for a Boise State volleyball team. Baugh, O'Donnell and Nobley earned all-conference recognition for the second year in a row.
Garus' honor is the first time that a Boise State coach has been honored as Coach of the Year. Garus led the Broncos to a 23-7 record, including 15-3 in the competitive Mountain West. The 23 wins are tied for third-most in school history, and Boise State's winning percentage (76.7%) is second-highest all-time.
Boise State finished the regular season as one of the nation's hottest teams, winning 15 of its last 16, including 13 wins by 3-0 sweeps. The Broncos led the country in kills per set (15.54) and assists per set (14.56).
Baugh finished the season #1 in the Mountain West and third nationally with 12.17 assists per set, the second-best mark in school history. Baugh finished her four-year career fourth in career assists with 3,751. Baugh's choices in distributing the ball led to a team hitting percentage of 28%, 11th in the nation, and another school record.
"Sarah Baugh was tremendous for us all season long being a senior captain and leading this team," Garus said. "Being the setter means she is in control of our offense which was really a high point for our team this season. We are going to really miss her next year on and off the court every day. I am going to miss being around that kid every day because she is the type of player you aspire to recruit more of all the time...she is really special."
O'Donnell was a force at the net, especially down the stretch, with 247 kills and a team-high 96 blocks along with 26 service aces. Maddy's 325.5 points ranked second on the team, and she hit 35% to rank third in the Mountain West.
"Maddy really improved as the season went on," Garus said. "She started the season playing a different position than what she was used to, but when we got to conference play and we felt pretty comfortable with what our lineup was going to be we put her back at middle blocker. She played injured much of the season and was a warrior battling through it every day."
Nobley, who today was also named National Volleyball Coaches of America Player of the Week, led Boise State with 513 kills, ranked first in the MW and 15th in the nation. Nobley's kill total set a school record and was the fourth-most in conference history. Her 4.75 kills per set led the Mountain West, set another school record and ranked sixth in the NCAA. Nobley's 572.5 points set a school record, led the Mountain West and ranked 17th in the nation.
"Once again Sierra had a tremendous offensive season for us," Garus said. "She continues to expand her role within our program and keeps getting better at all phases of the game. But her offense is just outstanding; she was the leading point scorer and led the league in kills. Again everybody knows where she is going to be hitting and what her tendencies are, but she is still able to score. Sierra continues to improve in other parts of her game--her digs per set were much better this year and I know she will work on improving her blocking. I look forward to another record-breaking season for her next year."
Oliver, the MW Newcomer of the Year last season, added All-Conference to her resume after an outstanding sophomore season. Oliver finished the season with 269 kills and 94 blocks, both second on the team. Oliver set a school record with 40.1%, second in the MW and 24th in the country.
"Oliver did a really nice job this year," Garus said. "Everybody knows what she is going to do offensively for us and yet she was still among the conference leaders in hitting percentage. Her blocking continues to be a major focus for her and I know she will continue to improve on that. It was a tremendous season for her playing injured for much of it, but she did not let it slow her down. I look forward to her coming back next year."
Osburn was responsible for keeping balls in play, and her acrobatic dives to accomplish that endeared her to Garus, her teammates and Bronco fans. Maddi led Boise State with 493 digs, third-most in program history, and her 4.52 digs per set are second all-time at Boise State and third in the Mountain West.
"Maddi Osburn had a terrific year for us at libero," said Garus. "It was probably the major adjustment we had for us from last year to this year with her moving from a defensive specialist playing sparingly in sets, to being the libero and in the match all the time controlling our defensive efforts. She continues to improve...her leadership on the floor got better and better as the season wore on as she got more comfortable with the bigger role. She did a great job for us."