Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Building a Program: The Goal of the 2012 Boise State Volleyball Team

Under coach Shawn Garus, the Boise State volleyball team posted its first back-to-back winning seasons in 15 years.  Gurus's challenge will be to continue the momentum and build a program.
Garus must replace three full-time starters who graduated; two of those were three-year starters.  Garus is aware of the challenge and is expecting his younger players to step up this fall:

"It is going to be a challenge for us with the schedule and all the new faces. We lost some key impact players last year, but we do have some talented and experienced returners coming back," said Garus. "We have a solid core group of four players in our three seniors Liz Harden, Fiona Jones and Kersti  Whitney, along with our junior setter Casey Rose. They have all seen a lot of match time, we are going to need them to take control of the team and provide the leadership. But the younger players and newcomers are going to have to step up as well with energy, competitiveness and consistency in order for us to be successful." 

Boise State faces three teams that played in the 2011 NCAA Tournament--Washington, Arizona and American, in addition to playing their final season in the Mountain West Conference.  

Here is the 2012 outlook for the Lady Broncos:


There are all kinds of skills necessary to have a winning volleyball team, not the least of which is a dependable setter.  Without that, a team gives up the advantage on every point.  Without a proper set, or pass, the hitters cannot place the ball where they need to in order to catch the opponent off guard.  As Garus mentioned, Casey Rose is back and is the only returner with experience.  Rose came off the bench in all 31 matches, but was second on the team with 469 assists.  Rose also proved to be a dangerous server, recording 30 aces, also second on the Broncos.  

But Rose isn't alone--true freshman Sarah Baugh has arrived on campus and is eager to show what she can do.  Baugh was a two-time Olympic League MVP in leading North Kitsap High School to back-to-back Washington state tournament appearances.  Baugh is good enough to play right away.

Outside Hitter:

With two returning starters (Harden and Jones), this is a position of strength for the Broncos.  Harden is a three-year starter who led the team in kills last year.  

Jones started last year until suffering an injury.  Jones posted 194 kills in 2/3 of the season last year. 

Taylor Murphey continued to improve last year and started in five matches in place of Jones.  In 20 matches, Murphey had 41 kills and 15 blocks and the sophomore will need to continue to grow for Boise State to be successful.

Redshirt freshman Katelyn Kinghorn is ready to contribute after a good spring.  The former all-state performer from Rigby, Idaho excels at ball control and defensive passing, qualities that could greatly help this team.  Alyssa Gammel is a transfer from Virginia Tech who will immediately challenge for the starting job at outside hitter.  If Gammel is set up well, she'll blast the ball past opponents and Boise State is blessed to have her services this fall.  Janessa White signed a letter of intent and comes to Boise as the MVP of her conference while at South Salem High School in Oregon.  White is one of five players who are six feet or taller on the roster, meaning Garus is well on his way to bringing size and athleticism to the Bronco program.

Middle Blocker

Returning starter Brittany Reardon and part-time starter Leah Stevens are back to stabilize the middle blockers for the Broncos.  Reardon recorded the second-best season for hitting percentage in school history as a redshirt freshman last year and she's going to be a star for Boise State.  Reardon led the Mountain West and was 31st in the country with 35.5% and was second on the team with 78 blocks.  Reardon has to continue to improve her game and will be a force on the Bronco squad for three more years.

Stevens started 10 games last season and finished with 79 kills and 40 blocks.  Stevens can also move to the outside when needed, but Stevens has the athleticism and ability to be a key factor this fall.

Sarah Webster redshirted last season and is ready to play after a good spring.  Webster was a two-time conference player of the year at Palm Springs High School in California.  Aly Duffin is another transfer, coming to Boise from Georgia Southern.  Duffin is a three-time all-conference high school star from California that will also challenge for a starting position.  In fact, this position is so loaded that one or more of these players could start on the outside.

Libero and Defensive Specialists:

Kersti Whitney started at defensive specialist last year but is projected to move to libero this fall.  The Bronco senior has three years experience on defense but is versatile enough to move to libero.  Whitney was third on the team with 205 digs last year.  Kristyn Kirschenman played in 29 matches last year and recorded 89 digs.  The sophomore could play either position and is a reliable server.

Jackie Pyles was a Michigan honorable mention all-state performer and will play a key role if she does not redshirt.

All Bronco home matches will be in Bronco Gym.  Admission to all Bronco games is $6 for adults, $4 for high school students or younger and $4 for seniors.  Boise State students can cheer on the Lady Broncos for free with presentation of their student I.D. card.  The Boise State All Sports Pass, something our booster group helped bring about, is your best bet if you count yourself as a Bronco regular attendee.  The All-Sports Pass is just $50 and gets you admission to all sports except football and men's basketball.

Drawings of the Proposed Boise State Alumni Center

The proposed new Boise State Alumni Center is on the agenda for September 10 at the Planning and Development meeting:






Taylor Tharp Now at Texas

Taylor Tharp, the last quarterback to start at Boise State not named Kellen Moore, has joined the staff at Texas as a graduate assistant.  Tharp of course will assist former Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin in Austin.