|Posted February 26, 2008|
Pack women enter quarterfinals of RMAC Shootout
CSU-Pueblo travels to Grand Junction on Friday to take on Mesa State in eight-team postseason tournament.
By JEFF LETOFSKY, THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
The home berth has eluded them but that hasn't fazed the confidence of Kip Drown and his Colorado State University-Pueblo women's basketball team.
The Pack (18-9) bows into the eight-team Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout on Friday, facing a difficult road trip to Grand Junction to face Mesa State (14-13) in the first round of the postseason.
CSU-Pueblo is seeded No. 5, while Mesa State gained the No. 4 seed and a host berth. The loser goes home, while the winner advances to the semifinals.
Three other first-round games are on tap Friday with top-seeded Fort Lewis (25-2) entertaining No. 8 Colorado Christian (13-17), No. 3 Metro State (18-9) hosting No. 6 Adams State (13-13) and No. 7 Regis (14-13) traveling to Nebraska-Kearney (24-5). The winners advance to the semifinals March 7 at the Colorado State Fair Events Center in Pueblo. The Shootout finals are set for March 8 at the Events Center.
The ThunderWolves have met Mesa State twice this season and lost twice by scores of 81-67 at home and 96-62 in Grand Junction.
"We've had some matchup problems with Mesa," CSU-Pueblo coach Kip Drown said. "But we've been a good road team this season. We're the only team in the league that can go on the road, win, and come back and play at home in the semifinals. Our kids know that and that will provide added incentive."
On the men's side, CSU-Pueblo failed to make the field of eight and ended its season with a 10-17 overall record, 7-12 in the RMAC. It marked the fourth consecutive season the ThunderWolves have finished under the .500 mark.
The Shootout quarterfinals for the men also will be played Friday. Top-seeded Fort Lewis (21-5) is at home against Regis (14-13), No. 5 Adams State (18-9) travels to Western New Mexico (16-11), No. 3 Colorado Christian (16-11) hosts Metro State (19-11) and No. 2 Nebraska-Kearney (15-12) is at home against Mesa State (13-13).
Following a successful preseason, the Pack kicks off the RMAC season this weekend when it hosts Nebraska-Kearney in a four-game series at Rawlings Field.
The defending RMAC West Division champions take a 7-3 record into the opener, while the Lopers, who won the RMAC Tournament last season and qualified for the West Regional, come in with a 4-5 mark.
The teams play at 2 p.m. Friday, a noon doubleheader Saturday and wrap up the series with a single game at noon Sunday.
"We get the RMAC Tournament champion right off," CSU-Pueblo coach Stan Sanchez said about the Lopers. "This is a division game and it's all about making sure you win within your division. It's going to be a good race. There are plenty of very competitive teams."
Sanchez feels the tough preseason schedule prepared his team for the rigorous 40-game conference season.
"We feel pretty good about our starting pitching," he said. "We need to get better finishing games on the mound. But our defense is at .986, the highest fielding percentage at this time in our program. Plus, we've been executing on offense."
The T-Wolves broke into the NCAA Division II Collegiate Baseball rankings for the first time this week at No. 27.
The 2007-2008 season concluded this past weekend with a split at Massari Arena, the first time the team has played in its home facility in nearly two years while it was being renovated.
The Pack knocked off New Mexico Highlands 83-70 before dropping a 72-69 decision to Western New Mexico. The loss to the Mustangs officially ended CSU-Pueblo's hopes of reaching the postseason.
A trip to Denver and the Mile High Tournament helped salvage a slow start to the season for the softball team.
After opening the season with a 1-5 record, including two losses to Adams State to kick off the RMAC campaign, the T-Wolves came back to life by winning four of five in Denver, raising their record to 5-6.
The team returns to conference play this week when it entertains Chadron State in a four-game series Friday and Saturday at the Rawlings Softball Complex. Friday's doubleheader starts at noon with Saturday's twinbill starting at 11 a.m.
2008 RMAC SHOOTOUT
In bracket order
First team is home team
Fort Lewis (25-2) vs. Colorado Christian (13-17), 6 p.m.
Mesa State (14-13) vs. CSU-Pueblo (18-9), 7 p.m.
Metro State (18-9) vs. Adams State (13-14), 7 p.m.
Nebraska-Kearney (24-5) vs. Regis (14-13), 5 p.m.
March 7 at Colorado State Fair Events Center, Pueblo, 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
March 8 at Colorado State Fair Events Center, Pueblo, 8 p.m.
In bracket order
First team is home team
Fort Lewis (21-5) vs. Regis (14-13), 8 p.m.
Western New Mexico (16-11) vs. Adams State (18-9), 7:30 p.m.
Colorado Christian (16-11) vs. Metro State (19-11), 6 p.m.
Nebraska-Kearney (15-12) vs. Mesa State (13-13), 7 p.m.
March 7 at Colorado State Fair Events Center, Pueblo, noon and 4 p.m.
March 8 at Colorado State Fair Events Center, Pueblo, 6 p.m.