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Boise State volleyball draws WCC champion in first round of NCAA Tournament

·6 min read

The Boise State women’s volleyball team will open the NCAA Tournament against the West Coast Conference regular-season champion.

No. 11 BYU hosts first- and second-round action Friday and Saturday at George Albert Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah.

The Broncos (24-10) and Cougars (28-1) will square off at 7 p.m. Friday, while the other first-round match will feature Utah Valley (16-12) against Utah (21-8) at 4 p.m. The winners of each match meet in the second round at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets can be purchased starting Tuesday through the BYU Athletics Ticket Office, which is available online at tickets.byu.edu or by calling 1-801-422-2981.

The Broncos earned the second NCAA berth in program history with a 19-25, 25-21, 25-23, 25-15 victory over UNLV in the Mountain West Tournament championship match last Friday in Las Vegas. Boise State, which was the last team to qualify for the league tournament, became the first No. 6 seed to win the Mountain West Tournament title.

Friday’s victory was the first tournament championship in program history and marked the Broncos’ first appearance in a title match since the 1991 Big Sky Conference final. Boise State’s only other NCAA Tournament appearance came in 2016 after winning the conference’s regular-season title.

Members of the Boise State volleyball team watch with anticipation as the NCAA Tournament field is revealed Sunday night on ESPNU. The Broncos will face No. 11 BYU in the first round Friday in Provo, Utah.
Members of the Boise State volleyball team watch with anticipation as the NCAA Tournament field is revealed Sunday night on ESPNU. The Broncos will face No. 11 BYU in the first round Friday in Provo, Utah.

Boise State setter Danielle Boss, libero Allison Casillas and rightside hitter Paige Bartsch were named to the all-tournament team, and outside hitter Lauren Ohlinger was chosen as the MVP.

Ohlinger leads the Broncos this season with 443 kills, which ranks second in the Mountain West and 35th nationally. She also has 49 service aces (2nd MW / 18th NCAA) and 530 points (2nd MW / 23rd NCAA).

Meanwhile, Boss leads the Mountain West and ranks 30th nationally for total assists with 1,145 this season. She became just the seventh Bronco ever to reach the 3,000 career assists milestone and currently has 3,296.

Although Bartsch missed nearly all of the Broncos’ nonconference schedule, she impressed during league play, garnering Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors. She also unselfishly moved from her natural position at middle blocker because of a rash of injuries on the team.

The Broncos, who feature three players from the Gem State — Allie O’Harra (Centennial High), Annie Kaminski (Wood River) and Makayla Hansen (Burley) — take on a BYU squad with an Idaho connection. Skyview High graduates — and sisters — Whitney and Morgan Bower play for the Cougars. Whitney is BYU’s starting setter, while Morgan is a backup libero.

The Cougars enter on a 21-match winning streak and finished unbeaten in WCC play for the first time since 1993. BYU currently ranks No. 2 in the NCAA in hitting percentage (.339), No. 2 in opponent hitting percentage (.118), No. 2 in match winning percentage (.966), No. 5 in kills per set (14.38) and No. 16 in assists per set (13.03)

In 2016, Boise State advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, sweeping 20th-ranked Western Kentucky before losing in three sets to No. 9 Stanford, the eventual national champion.

Men’s basketball: Broncos host Saint Louis

Boise State coach Leon Rice says his team is a bit rattled after the worst shooting performance in program history Friday in a 46-39 loss to Cal State Bakersfield.

But the Broncos hope the worst is behind them.

Four days after shooting just 22.4% from the floor, Boise State welcomes Saint Louis to ExtraMile Arena at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“It rattles you, but we’ve got to be a little more comfortable, because we can win a game like that,” Rice said. “In reality, when you look at a season, no matter if you have a great offensive team or not a great offensive team, you’re going to have nights like that.

“Maybe not that catastrophic, knock on wood. I mean, that was the worst I’ve ever seen.”

The Billikens arrive in Boise fresh off winning the Cancun Challenge Riviera Division. They are 6-1 on the season and feature a Borah High graduate on their roster. DeAndre Jones, who was a member of the 5A All-Idaho first team as a senior with the Lions, joined Saint Louis as a graduate transfer from Central Arkansas.

“I know him well. In the past, he’s played with our guys a lot. Terrific player,” Rice said. “Boy, he found the right (fit). They had an injury, and he’s been a godsend for them. He’s playing a lot of minutes for them now.”

Tuesday’s game will be broadcast by Stadium, which is available locally on channel 35.4. The game can also be streamed online at watchstadium.com.

Dominique Leonidas had 10 points in Boise State’s 60-45 loss to Wisconsin in the Rocky Mountain Hoops Classic on Saturday at CU Events Center in Boulder, Colorado.
Dominique Leonidas had 10 points in Boise State’s 60-45 loss to Wisconsin in the Rocky Mountain Hoops Classic on Saturday at CU Events Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Women’s basketball: Lalotte named to tournament team

Boise State sophomore Elodie Lalotte was named to the Rocky Mountain Hoops Classic all-tournament team over the weekend.

Although the Broncos lost 60-57 to Louisiana Tech and 60-45 to Wisconsin at CU Events Center in Boulder, Colorado, Lalotte was a bright spot. The 6-foot-1 forward from Paris averaged 9 points and 8 rebounds in two games, highlighted by a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds against Louisiana Tech.

Boise State (1-4) is back at home for two games, starting with a matchup against Seattle University (3-3) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at ExtraMile Arena. The Broncos then host Florida Atlantic (2-4) at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Both games can be streamed live on the Mountain West Network, which is available at broncosports.com/mwn. Games are also available on the radio on 1350 AM.

WOMEN: WISCONSIN 60, BOISE STATE 45

BOISE STATE (1-4)

Mary Kay Naro 3-12 4-4 10; Dominique Leonidas 4-10 0-0 10; Elodie Lalotte 4-5 0-0 8; Abby Muse 2-6 2-4 6; Jayda Clark 1-3 0-0 3; Kaitlin Burgess 1-3 0-0 3; Rachel Bowers 1-4 1-2 3; Trista Hull 1-3 0-0 2; Sydney McQuietor 0-1 0-0 0; Anna Ostlie 0-7 0-0 0; Linsey Lovrovich 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-55 7-10 45.

WISCONSIN (2-4)

Julie Pospisilova 5-15 2-2 15; Sydney Hilliard 5-9 1-2 11; Brooke Schramek 3-5 2-2 8; Alex Luehring 3-5 0-0 8; Sara Stapleton 3-7 1-4 7; Krystyna Ellew 2-7 0-0 5; Katie Nelson 1-4 0-0 3; Tara Stauffacher 1-3 1-2 3; Natalie Leuzinger 0-0 0-0 0; Lexi Duckett 0-3 0-0 0; Lovisa Djurstrom 0-0 0-0 0; Halle Douglass 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-58 7-12 60.

Boise St...................... 10 11 15 9 — 45

Wisconsin..................... 9 18 21 12 — 60

3-point goals — Boise St. 4-21 (Leonidas 2-4; Burgess 1-3; Clark 1-3; Ostlie 0-5; Lovrovich 0-1; Naro 0-5), Wisconsin 7-21 (Pospisilova 3-7; Luehring 2-4; Nelson 1-2; Ellew 1-3; Stauffacher 0-2; Duckett 0-2; Schramek 0-1). Fouled out — Boise St.-Lalotte. Rebounds — Boise St. 37 (Muse 6; Lalotte 6), Wisconsin 38 (Pospisilova 7). Assists — Boise St. 8 (Naro 6), Wisconsin 14 (Pospisilova 8). Total fouls — Boise St. 16, Wisconsin 12. Technical fouls — None. A — 952.

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