Bronco volleyball releases 2014 schedule

Bronco volleyball releases 2014 schedule
BOISE, Idaho - The Boise State Athletics Department released its 2014 volleyball schedule which features a shortened 18 match Mountain West slate and four nonconference tournaments.

After experimenting with a complete 20-match round robin conference schedule in 2013, the MW coaches voted to reduce the 2014 league season to 18 contests. This year the Broncos will face San Diego State and UNLV once each, hosting the Aztecs while traveling to play the Rebels in Las Vegas.

The season opens with the annual Northwest Challenge being hosted by the Broncos this year. This tournament is a regular and rotates locations between the four participants in Boise State, Gonzaga, Portland State and Washington. This year’s edition is Labor Day weekend Aug. 29-30 in Bronco Gym at Boise.

Washington finished last year ranked fourth nationally and is expected to be in the top 20 to start this season. Portland State is a traditional power out of the Big Sky Conference where they were co-champions in 2013. Gonzaga is a member of the West Coast Conference where they finished in the bottom half last year.

Week’s two through four have Boise State on the road. It begins Sept. 5-6 with the Sears Sugar Bear Classic in Conway, Ark., where the Broncos will play their host Central Arkansas followed by matches against Tulsa and Louisiana-Monroe.

The UCA Sugar Bears are the defending Southland Conference champions going undefeated (18-0) in 2013. Tulsa is a former Western Athletic Conference rival of the Broncos, but is currently a first-year member of the American Athletic Conference. The Golden Hurricane went 24-7 and 12-2 in Conference USA (tied for 2nd) during the 2013 campaign. Louisiana-Monroe is a member of the Sun Belt Conference where they went 2-16 in 2013.

Week three will have the Broncos on the road to Moscow, Idaho, where they will face Missouri, their host and instate-rival Idaho, as well as Eastern Washington the weekend of Sept. 12-13 in Memorial Gym.

The Missouri Tigers are the defending Southeastern Conference champions after going 18-0 and 35-1 overall in 2013, they finished the season ranked No. 12 in the final 2013 AVCA poll. The Idaho Vandals went 19-11 overall in 2013 and are entering their first season in the Big Sky Conference this fall. Eastern Washington is also a member of the Big Sky where they went 7-13 and 10-21 overall in 2013.

The nonconference slate will conclude the weekend of Sept. 19-20 at the Islander Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Broncos open the tournament against the Incarnate Word Cardinals, followed by encounters with Omaha and Texas A&M Corpus Christi, their host.

Incarnate Word is a San Antonio, Texas, based school and a member of the Southland Conference where they went 7-7 and 13-13 overall in 2013. The Omaha (University of Nebraska, Omaha) Mavericks are members of the Summit League where they went 2-12 in league and 7-22 overall in 2013. Texas A&M Corpus Christi Islanders went 13-5 (5th out of 14 schools) in the Southland Conference and 20-12 overall last year.

The 2014 Mountain West Conference slate opens the week of Sept. 25-27 at home against the Wyoming Cowgirls and Colorado State Rams. The Broncos other seven home contests include matches with Nevada (Oct. 9), San Jose State (Oct. 11), Utah State (Oct. 14), Fresno State (Oct. 18), New Mexico (Oct. 30), Air Force (Nov. 1) and San Diego State in the regular season home finale on Nov. 19.

Boise State’s road MW matches include: at Air Force (Oct. 2), at New Mexico (Oct. 4), at Colorado State (Oct. 23), at Wyoming (Oct. 25), at San Jose State (Nov. 6), at Nevada (Nov. 8), at Fresno State (Nov. 13), at UNLV (Nov. 22) and the regular season finale at Utah State (Nov. 25).

The Mountain West does not sponsor a postseason tournament in volleyball, choosing instead to send its regular-season champion to the NCAA Tournament.