ThunderWolves' turn in best effort of season, earn win

ThunderWolves' turn in best effort of season, earn win

There's no greater opiate for a struggling team than to snag a home win, and the ThunderWolves did that in a big way Thursday, earning a four-set win over Chadron State College, 25-19, 25-19, 18-25, and 25-13.

The ThunderWolves displayed a dominance that had been missing all season long, jumping out to early leads in each of the four games, and showing a calm and composure on the front line, both on the attack and on blocks, that stripped Chadron State's attack of its bite.

Led by Bernadette Pitre (Fr., Clifton, Colo.) and Alea Wildman (Fr., Denver, Colo.), the ThunderWolves showed offensive firepower and dominance, registering 56 kills to just 39 for the Eagles, with 10 each turned in by Pitre and Wildman.

Defensively, though, is where the Pack really saw a great improvement, recording a season-high in digs in a four-set match with 75, including 10 or more digs by Bryana Burns (Sr., Monument, Colo.) (19), libero Taren Frazier (Jr., Fowler, Colo.) (17), Melissa Jones (So., Longmont, Colo.) (14), and setter Ashley Michel (Fr., Brighton, Colo.) (10).  Michel was particularly effective, having a nearly flawless match as a setter, recording 24 assists and adding two kills on tips.

"This is the kind of performance we've been waiting for and it showed what ThunderWolf volleyball is supposed to be," Pack coach Chris Jonson said.  "We made strides and improvements in all facets of the game, and it was great to get a big win at home."

The win marks the Pack's first home win since the CSU-Pueblo Fall Classic on Aug. 30, and their first home RMAC win at Massari Arena since Oct. 22, 2005.  The ThunderWolves played their home games at Pueblo Centennial High School in 2006 and 2007 because of renovations to Massari Arena.

The ThunderWolves will get no time to relish the win, as they will next host the most dominant team in the RMAC and perhaps the region in Nebraska-Kearney, who are 22-1 and have won 22 straight since dropping their season-opener.  The Lopers will meet the Pack for a rare Saturday afternoon match at 2 p.m. at Massari Arena.