All eyes were on the Boise State volleyball team after they were defeated in their last two games on the road, and all of those eyes witnessed Boise State win a 3-0 sweep against Fresno State University on Thursday, Nov. 23.
The Broncos maintained their Mountain West winning record with a 25-17, 25-14, 25-22 defeat of the Bulldogs. With just one regular season match remaining, Boise State (17-11, 9-8) put up a much-needed win in exciting back-and-forth fashion.
The first set was a clear sign that the Broncos had a fight in them. Especially after losing 3-0 to both Wyoming and Colorado State University, this was a much-needed start.
“It was hard to take those losses on the road, but it felt really good to start with high energy in front of our fans back at home,” said sophomore outside hitter Shea Duffy.
The first set ended with the Broncos on top 25-17, and although this score seems close on paper, it was far from it. The Bulldogs were scored on kill after kill, and the Broncos went on a 10-0 run to pull ahead 22-11. The points were most notably from freshman outside hitter Lauren Ohlinger, who racked up 12 kills, and sophomore middle blocker Jessica Donahue who totaled seven.
No matter how much momentum the Bulldogs were able to build up, the dominant Bronco front row seemed to stop it directly in its tracks, totaling 12 blocks.
According to Ohlinger, the Broncos’ work was cut out for them before the game started.
“We knew their serving would be a huge strength of theirs, and it was, from the film we watched, but we adjusted to that early on and had some really solid opposition to them,” Ohlinger said.
The Bulldogs opened the first two points of the second set, which turned into a steep contrast to the first set. The Bulldogs seemingly answered each Bronco point, as the score alternated point-by-point until the Broncos took the lead at 11-10 and never relinquished it.
“There was a definite lack of energy on our part, and the Bulldogs took advantage of that,” said freshman libero Allison Casillas. “[The Bulldogs] wanted to win.”
The back-and-forth scoring stopped when the Broncos brought their lead up to 19-14, then broke the set open with a 6-0 run to end it. The last point was a crowd-erupting kill from Duffy that brought the Broncos to a set score of 2-0.
Tensions ran high at the start of the third set. If the Broncos secured this set, the match would be over, and their two-game losing streak would be broken.
The Bulldogs took the lead early on in the set, going on a 4-0 streak until a massive kill from Duffy. The Broncos were not about to give up. The Broncos brought the score up 7-7, a reflection of the entire game– just when you thought the Bulldogs were ahead, the Broncos would catch right up.
The Broncos went on a scoring drive that brought them to match point. The crowd was on their feet for four points scored by the Bulldogs, bringing the score to 24-22 Broncos.
The Bulldogs set up an excellent volley to a hard hit to the Broncos side, but the loud smack of the ball was far overshadowed by the even louder sound of a block by Duffy. The match was over. The Broncos broke their losing streak, and every player rushed the court to hug each other and celebrate their win.
“Having that block at the very end of the game was huge,” Ohlinger said. “It was a great way to finish a hard-fought match, that was easily my favorite moment.”
Boise State will wrap up their regular season at home on Saturday, Nov. 23. The Broncos will take on San Diego State at 2 p.m. for Senior Day.