Boise State volleyball’s record-breaking year ends in heartbreaking fashion

Photo by Claire Keener

The Boise State volleyball team wrapped up their 2023 season in heartbreaking fashion in the Mountain West tournament. 

A record breaking season for junior outside hitter Paige Bartsch ended as the Broncos were eliminated by Fresno State 3-0 in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament. 

Though the Broncos had a lackluster season ending, it does not define the incredible season that the Broncos have had this year. 

To conclude the 2023 season, two Broncos were awarded Mountain West postseason honors. Bartsch and redshirt senior middle Annie Kaminski were both awarded a spot on the all-conference team, while Bartsch was awarded the 2023 Mountain West Volleyball Co-Player of the Year award. 

In the 2023 season, Bartsch has not just been the most dominating player in the Mountain West, but also was top in the nation.

Bartsch finished the season leading the Mountain West in eight statistical categories. She led in total kills (517), kills per set (5.07), total attacks (1,309), attacks per set (12.83), total service aces (49), service aces per set (0.48), total points (598.0) and points per set (5.86).  

The Helena, Montana native is the second Bronco in program history to receive player of the year accolades and the second during Boise State’s Mountain West era.

After receiving honorable mention recognition in 2022, Kaminski earned her first career All-Mountain West honor this season.

The native of Bellevue, Idaho, finished the regular season ranked sixth for blocks per set (1.05), eighth in hitting percentage (.331), and ninth for total blocks (107). She started every match at middle blocker, tallying a team second-best 227 kills, 2.23 kills per set, 290 points and 2.84 points per set. 

The Broncos started off strong in their 2023 season but ended their season with a stretch of 10 games in which the Broncos went 4-6. Though the Broncos found themselves with a 14-15 overall record and 10-8 in conference play to conclude their season, the Broncos found their way into the Mountain West tournament. 

After falling in three sets (25-14, 26-24, 25-23) to Fresno State in the first round of the Mountain West Championship, the Broncos will look towards next season for a better outcome.

“We struggled passing, which bled into all phases of our offense,” head coach Shawn Garus said. “We had leads and chances to win sets two and three but seemed to lose all the long rallies and big points. It’s sad to see our seniors’ careers come to an end.”  

The seniors that will no longer be playing for the Broncos are middle back Chey Day and Kaminski. 

Though the Broncos were able to garner a class of commits this last month, the Broncos will have a similar look with the young core of Broncos still set to return in 2024. 

In past seasons, the Broncos have been dominant in the Mountain West, however despite the absolute fire power of Bartsch, the Broncos failed to seal the deal in the tournament.

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