This Boise State senior has appeared on SportsCenter. She saved the day Thursday

·4 min read

Earlier this summer, Morgan Stone made SportsCenter’s top 10 with a goal in a pre-professional USL W League match with Minnesota Aurora FC.

The Boise State senior scored another jaw-dropper on Thursday to force a 1-1 tie with Utah Valley in the Broncos’ women’s soccer season opener at Lincoln Recreation Field. A new NCAA rule went into effect for the 2022 season eliminating overtime play until the postseason.

“I think that that’s kind of the role that I’m trying to step into right now being a senior on the team,” Stone said. “I just want to be able to pick my team up when we’re down. Being able to also contribute on the score line by doing that — not just emotionally and physically — just sets an example for the younger people that even though we’re down, we can get back up.”

Stone’s goal in the 71st minute off an assist from junior Jayla Land helped the Broncos come back from a disjointed opening half that saw them allow a Utah Valley goal by Sydney Bushman in the 19th minute. It was Stone’s team-leading seventh career goal.

“They kicked our butts for a good 10, 15 minutes there and got a goal up,” Boise State coach Jim Thomas said. “After the water break, I felt like we started to stiffen our spine, and then when we came out in the second half it was evident that we were aware of how the patterns were going to work and that we could lean on one another more than we have in the past.”

The Wolverines outshot the Broncos 6-2 in the first half, including three shots on goal, but the Broncos dominated possession over the final 45 minutes and launched eight shots to Utah Valley’s five.

The Broncos would have won Thursday’s match, too, if not for an offside call on a Carly Cross goal in the 86th minute.

“We’ll have to go back and see the video whether that was or wasn’t a goal,” Thomas said.

In near triple-digit heat on the scorching turf field, the Broncos relied heavily on their bench to stay fresh against Utah Valley. Nineteen players saw action, with each contributing 7 minutes or more.

“We talk a lot about the depth of contribution,” Thomas said. “... The starting lineup has been so good that it was an easy pick. ... Then the bench came in and picked up the minutes massively.”

Added goalkeeper Genevieve Crenshaw: “This team fights hard. We’re fit, and it’s very nice to see the freshmen stepping up like Hayden Wilsey and Teryn Newkirk. We set those standards high, and they are so great at meeting them.”

The Broncos came one victory short of their third NCAA Tournament berth last season, falling in overtime in the Mountain West Tournament championship match to New Mexico. Thomas responded by putting together a more challenging preseason schedule to push the team further toward its goals. This year’s nonconference slate includes a trio of Pac-12 schools: Arizona State, Oregon State and Oregon.

Boise State hosts the Sun Devils at 5 p.m. next Thursday at Boas Soccer Complex.

“We want to play against those teams,” Stone said. “We want to be challenged as much as possible.”

Volleyball: Bartsch named preseason player of year

In a poll of the league’s women’s volleyball coaches, Boise State sophomore Paige Bartsch was voted the Mountain West Preseason Player of the Year.

Teammate Lauren Ohlinger joined Bartsch on the Preseason All-MW Team as the Broncos look to build on their Mountain West Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance from a year ago.

Bartsch, the reigning conference freshman of the year, started 14 of the 22 matches she played last season while battling an injury. She totaled 152 kills, 56 blocks, 50 digs and 20 aces while switching from middle blocker to rightside hitter midway through the season.

The Broncos landed in a tie for third with San Jose State in the preseason poll, garnering one first-place vote and 75 points. Colorado State is the favorite, receiving six first-place votes and 93 points, followed by Utah State in second with three first-place votes and 91 points.