Steady Zags Beat Boise State 3-1 In Volleyball Opener
SPOKANE, Wash. – Savannah Blinn and Jordan Gasser combined for 44 kills Friday as Gonzaga University opened the 2014 volleyball season with a 3-1 victory over host Boise State University in the Northwest Challenge.
The Bulldogs won by scores of 25-17, 25-21, 26-24 and 25-21 in beating BSU in the Northwest Challenge for the first time since 2009.
Blinn had 20 kills and a .531 attack percentage while Gasser had a match-high 24 kills and a .425 percentage.
Gonzaga head coach Dave Gantt said steadiness was the key to the victory.
“We played pretty steady all the way through all four sets,” Gantt said. “We didn’t play defense the way we needed to finish out the third set, but I never called a timeout in the first two sets and none until late in the third set. That gives you an idea of how steady we were.”
The Bulldogs hit .321 for the match with a match-high .400 attack percentage in the second set. The Zags also held the advantage on the block 9-7 and had 49 digs to 42 by the Broncos. Gonzaga out hit BSU in all four sets, the Broncos hitting .258 in the lone set they won for their best percentage of the night.
“We out hit, out blocked and out dug Boise for the match. I’m pleased with how we handled our business,” Gantt noted.
Gantt said Blinn was the difference down the stretch.
“We tweaked the line-up not in terms of ability but where people were positioned. We put pressure on Boise’s defense where I don’t think they were anticipating we could do. We matched Savannah against a different player and she was the difference down the stretch,” Gantt explained.
We had a junior setter and two junior outside hitters and the rest of the group complemented them,” Gantt said. “Paige (Folger) played well in the middle. We played 11 people so everyone contributed.”
Folger had seven kills and a .545 attack percentage.
The Bulldogs resume play Saturday at 11 a.m. PST against the University of Washington and conclude tourney play against Portland State University at 6 p.m. PST.
“Certainly Washington is class of the tournament. They are in the pre-season Top 10 as they were last year. We snuck up on them last year but we won’t sneak up on them tomorrow,” Gantt said.
Washington was ranked No. 4 in the pre-season poll by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, the same spot they held at the end of the season last December.
Gantt’s not conceding anything, however.
“If we can run our system as well as we did tonight and get rid of a few of the unforced errors then we’ll be as competitive as we can be,” he said.
As for PSU, Gantt said they will be a tough foe.
“Portland state brings a long history of success in the Big Sky (Conference). It’s a place that has snuck up on a lot of people in a lot of sports and will do the same thing in volleyball if we don’t take care of business,” Gantt warned.