Playing on their home court with an electric crowd in attendance, the Broncos finished with a 2-0 record in their annual Bronco Classic held at Bronco Gymnasium.
After defeating the Idaho State Bengals in three sets on Thursday, Sept. 19, the Broncos remained on a winning path by sweeping the Anteaters of UC Irvine the following Saturday afternoon.
On Thursday night against the Bengals, the Broncos won in three tight sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-17). Freshman outside hitter Lauren Ohlinger lead the way for the Blue and Orange, finishing with a total of 19 kills and 10 digs on the night.
The Broncos’ victory in their home opener raised them to a 7-3 overall record heading into their final matchup against UC Irvine on Saturday at 2 p.m.
In an opening set controlled by UC Irvine almost the entirety of the way, the Broncos ended up on top with a 25-23 comeback win. Led by senior leader Janelle Walley on the offensive end, Boise State just barely ended with a win, making plenty of big plays when they counted most.
“It was really energetic out on the court and I think that is really what helped us push through to win,” said sophomore middle blocker Jessica Donahue. “Everybody contributes, everybody works together and works hard and I think that is our biggest strength we have.”
In the second set of the afternoon, the Broncos rallied for another win, 30-28. In a back and forth affair, the Broncos displayed highlight plays on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Donahue shined on the defensive side showcasing her excellent blocking skills while Walley, an outside hitter, displayed her tremendous skills on the offensive attack once again.
Walley finished the day with a statline of 12 kills, 2 aces and 4 blocks in all three sets.
“Walley is just a great all-around player,” said head coach Shawn Garus. “She is just a player that does everything for us and it is allowing the younger players to be comfortable in their role because they know that [Walley] is going to do a lot to help them.”
The final set of the day was a different story for the Broncos. They capped off the sweep with a dominating 25-10 win over the Anteaters. After taking an early 12-4 lead just minutes into the final set, the Broncos never looked back.
“Our coach always tells us you cannot win a game without winning one close,” Walley said. “I think the first two sets were a battle and we persevered through it, and in the last set we took them to the table and we owned them.”
With their latest victory over the Anteaters, the Broncos wrapped up the preseason with an 8-3 overall record.
Now that the preseason has officially come to an end, the Broncos are gearing up for some bigger competition heading into Mountain West conference play.
“I am very pleased with an 8-3 record and I think we learned a lot about ourselves during this run,” Garus said. “I think we just got to take it one match at a time and keep growing everyday in practice.”
The Broncos kick off their Mountain West schedule with a matchup in Logan against Utah State on Tuesday, Sept. 24. Boise State returns to Bronco Gymnasium on Saturday, Sept. 28 with a meeting against Air Force.