BOISE, ID--Boise State refused to let a disastrous third set affect them, came back to force a fifth set and upended seven-time defending Mountain West Conference champion Colorado State tonight 25-23, 27-29, 10-25, 25-13, 15-10 in Bronco Gym.
Tied 6-6 in the fifth and deciding set, Boise State went on an 8-1 run to set up match point at 14-7. Colorado State saved three match points, but the Broncos put it away to beat the Rams for the first time in 13 matches.
The Lady Broncos moved into sole possession of first place with their 12th straight win. The Broncos own a sparkling 14-2 mark and are 23-6 overall. CSU dropped to 13-3 and 23-8.
“I’m really proud of the effort from everybody,” head coach Shawn Garus said. “I feel like our team did a great job of playing with the expectation that they were going to win. Last year when we had Colorado State here, we probably over-celebrated at times and overly hung our head at times. Today was just a really steady, solid performance. Even though we didn’t play our best in the third set, I thought the team was just showing a lot of maturity and a lot of confidence.”
Tied at 4-4 in the opening set, the Broncos went on a 10-3 run to lead 14-7. They extended that lead to seven several times but Colorado State battled back to within one at 24-23. Junior Sierra Nobley had eight kills in the opening set, including the final two points for Boise State, with a smash off a Ram block for the winner.
The Broncos went on another 6-1 run in set two to assume a 9-3 lead. Boise State extended the lead to 14-7 and led 17-11 before Colorado State put together an 11-2 run to lead 22-19. The two teams battled into extra points with the Broncos having four set points, but CSU rallied for a 29-27 win.
Colorado State rolled to a 14-7 lead in the third set and never looked back in a 25-10 blowout. But in between sets, senior Maddy O'Donnell encouraged her team with a minute-long pep talk after Garus had given his instructions.
The Lady Broncos responded in set four, with O'Donnell blasting six kills to pace the 25-13 win.
Nobley led the Broncos with 21 kills and had 13 digs and three service aces, but 17 kills and solid serving plus senior leadership from Maddy O'Donnell was key to tonight's victory. In between the third and fourth sets, O'Donnell encouraged her team with a minute-long pep talk after Garus had given his instructions.
Sophomore Sabryn Roberts finished with 14 kills, including some brilliant cross-court shots. Janell Walley posted her first career double-double with 10 kills and 15 digs. The freshman hit 42.9% and had four blocks.
Coach Shawn Garus' team can clinch the conference title and automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament with a win Friday night at Wyoming or next Tuesday in Boise against Air Force.