Pack lights it up at Eastern New Mexico Tourney

Pack lights it up at Eastern New Mexico Tourney

CSU-Pueblo 3, Fort Hays State 0
CSU-Pueblo 3, Oklahoma Panhandle State 1

PORTALES, N.M. - After last weekend's 0-4 performance at the UC-Colorado Springs Tournament, the pressure was on for the Pack to perform at this weekend's Eastern New Mexico Tournament.

The young ThunderWolves, lacking even a single senior and boasting a core of able sophomores, delivered Friday during the first day of competition at ENMU, netting a 3-0 sweep of Fort Hays State and prevailing three sets to one over Oklahoma Panhandle State.

The wins improve the Pack to 2-4 on the young season and gives coach Chris Jonson his first back-to-back wins of his coaching career.

The ThunderWolves' success could be traced to effective setting a tenacious attack, led by Bernadette Pitre (So., Clifton, Colo.) and Janae Heiser (RFr., Westminster, Colo.), which helped the Pack to cruise practically unscathed for most of the day.

In the day's opening match against Fort Hays, the Pack displayed both dominance and the ability to come back from huge deficits.  In sets one and three, the ThunderWolves never trailed, winning 25-16 and 25-18, respectively.  In the second set, the Pack showed incredible moxie in making up a 10-4 deficit to rally for a 25-23 win.

In that set, the Pack fell behind by the 10-4 figure after committing eight errors.  But the ThunderWolves put that behind him, initially benefitting from four errors by Fort Hays to bring the score to 10-9.  Then, the Pack rallied behind the service of Ashley Wilkinson (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.), tying the set at 16.  Finally, with the set tied at 22, kills by Wilkinson and Pitre put the Pack over the top for the 25-23 win.

All told, the Pack registered 14 kills in the second set alone, including six kills by Pitre.  She finished the entire match with 10 kills and a ridiculous hit percentage of .600.  Heiser led the squad with 11 kills in the match.

"We had a couple bad runs but we were able to rebound quickly," Pack coach Chris Jonson said.  "A performance like that really raises our confidence level.  We came in with confidence and we knew we could do a good job."

Against Oklahoma Panhandle State, the Pack claimed the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-18, and rebounded from a 25-23 defeat in the third set to cruise in set four, winning 25-14.

Both Pitre and Heiser eclipsed the ten-kill mark in the match, each logging 11 kills.

Pitre was deadly accurate in both games, posting a cumulative attack percentage of .500, with 21 kills to just five errors.

"Our setters had opporunities use Bernie and she gave us big kills in crucial moments," Jonson said.  "It really raised our momentum and brought some energy."

The ThunderWolves will take on Missouri Western and host Eastern New Mexico Saturday as they Pack looks to emerge unscathed from the ENMU Tournament.