Boise State, which hadn’t won a conference title in volleyball since its Big Sky days in 1988, defeated Wyoming 25-20, 25-18, 25-21 on Friday night in Laramie to clinch the Mountain West and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
The Mountain West doesn’t sponsor a postseason volleyball tournament; the automatic NCAA berth goes to the regular-season champion. Colorado State, which lost to BSU on Wednesday in Boise, won the seven previous conference titles.
The Broncos (24-6, 15-2 MW) have won 13 straight (11 by sweep) and close out their regular season Tuesday against Air Force (7:30 p.m., Bronco Gym).
“I couldn’t be more proud of this team and what they’ve accomplished this year,” Boise State coach Shawn Garus said. “The team was showing some nerves and a little anxiousness this afternoon. They know how good a team Wyoming is and how hard they are to beat at home.
“I thought we handled Wyoming’s pressure and the pressure of the circumstances of this match well. It was a battle with Wyoming, every time it looked like we had momentum in a set, they came back on us. Like many of the victories in this run, this was a team win with everyone contributing. Now we need to close it out Tuesday at home against Air Force.”
Sierra Nobley led Boise State with a team-high 19 kills, including eight in the first set when the Broncos rallied from five down to claim the set. Tied at 20-20, Boise State put the period away with a 5-0 run. Two points came off Nobley kills.
“The last two matches would not have been possible without the long hard off season and motivated summer workouts,” Nobley said. “Every single player on this team worked their tail off to be able to have such an incredible season, and winning the conference was icing on the cake.’’
Wyoming was 11-1 at home before Friday night’s loss.
The NCAA selection show is Sunday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.
NCAA Tournament facts, from NCAA.com:
▪ First and second rounds, Dec. 1-3. First- and second-round competition will be held at 16 non-predetermined campus sites. At each campus site, four teams will compete in single-elimination first round competition. The two advancing teams then compete against each other in single-elimination second round competition at the same campus site. The winning team from each of the 16 second rounds advances to the regional round.
▪ Regionals, Dec. 9-10. Regionals will be held at four non-predetermined campus sites. At each site, four teams compete in single-elimination regional semifinal competition. The two advancing teams then compete against each other in single-elimination regional final. The winning team from each of the four regions will advance to the DI Women’s Volleyball Championship final site in Columbus, Ohio.
▪ National championship, Dec. 15 and 17. The national tournament will be held at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The national semifinals will be held Dec. 15, and the national championship will take place Dec. 17.