Boise State volleyball took down the Air Force Falcons in four sets on Saturday, Sept. 28 in the Bronco Gym. Senior outside hitter Janell Walley, named the Mountain West offensive Peak Player of the Week on Sept. 30, led the offense with 14 kills in 26 attempts and had only one error, which gave her a .500 hitting percentage.
As with any sport, the beginning of a game can provide an idea of how the day proceed, and for the Broncos, that is exactly what happened. One of the first plays of the game was a dig by freshman libero Allison Casillas that set up Walley to get the first of many kills on the night.
Freshman outside hitter Lauren Ohlinger started off the set with a few kills herself, which made it easy for sophomore setter Danielle Boss to move the ball around the court to all of her hitters. Setting Ohlinger opened up the middle attack, which opened up the right side attack.
“I felt pretty good out there. I thought the energy was really good with crowd and our fan base,” Ohlinger said.
Throughout the first set, Boss distributed the ball plenty of times to get the outside hitters up and swinging with just one blocker up. The Falcons were having a tough time keeping up with the Broncos, but as the set was coming to an end, the Falcons were heating up. The Broncos won the first set 25-18.
Starting the second set slow, the Broncos were having trouble getting things going until a switch of momentum occurred when the Falcons missed a serve at 17-21 to make it 18-21. The Broncos followed the missed serve up with a kill and two blocks, giving them a three-point run and tying the game at 21.
The crowd was lively after the two momentus blocks. As the classic “Boise State” chant echoed through the gym, the contagious energy took ahold of the athletes on the court.
“The fans help us stay energized,” Walley said. “It is tough when you’re losing or not feeling your best to stay energized and stay hyped. So when the crowd is doing it, it definitely get us motivated to do it as well.”
The Broncos were able to get back into the swing of things, but were unable to seal the deal and ended up losing late in the second set, 24-26.
Despite the tight loss in the second set, the Broncos started off the third set with a string of points by Walley, junior outside hitter Kiley Lewis and sophomore middle blocker Jessica Donahue, who was named the Mountain West defensive Peak Player of the Week. Both teams were fighting back and forth the whole game after the string of three points at the beginning. The Broncos were able to hold the lead that they started with, and won the third set 25-22.
“I’m proud they were able to fight through a battling Air Force team to get the win,” said head coach Shawn Garus. “I think it shows that we have a lot of things to work on. We’re a young team but we got a lot of talent. When we play well, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
In the final set of the match, the Broncos started off with a 5-1 lead which forced the Falcons to use a timeout. Walley led the team on a three-point service run which further extended their lead.
Once again, the Broncos took a commanding 17-9 lead, but the Falcons tried to claw their way back in. The Falcons were able to tack on a few more points, but it wasn’t enough to catch up. The Broncos won the last and final set 25-19.
“I want to work on some competitive toughness,” Garus said. “So when it gets hard, when the other team makes a great play, whether a team stops your best shot, you can step up to another level and don’t, at anyway, back down.”
Looking forward to the next match, the Broncos will host the Nevada Wolf Pack (11-3, 1-1) on Thursday Oct. 3 at 7:00 p.m.