Pack falls back to earth at ENMU Tourney

Pack falls back to earth at ENMU Tourney

Eastern New Mexico 3, CSU-Pueblo 2
Missouri Western 3, CSU-Pueblo 1

PORTALES, N.M. - CSU-Pueblo was unable to build on its very successful two-win beginning to the Eastern New Mexico Tournament Saturday, falling in two very competitive matches with host Eastern New Mexico and Missouri Western, losing three sets to two and three sets to one, respectively.

The losses leave the Pack's record at the ENMU Tournament at 2-2, and drops them to 2-6 on the young season.

The ThunderWolves' day began with its first five-set match since October 2008, trading sets with the homestanding Zias before the tourney hosts prevailed with a 15-13 decision in the final set.

After losing the first set of the match 25-22, the Pack opened up a 5-0 lead in set two, two points of which coming on aces by Amanda Stark (So., Highlands Ranch, Colo.).  The Pack saw its lead disintegrate as the set was tied at 14 before rallying with four straight points to take an 18-14 lead.  They sealed it with another four-point rally late in the set as the Zias erred on three straight attack attempts, giving CSU-Pueblo a 25-21 set win.

After a 25-22 loss in the third set, the match seemed to be going the Zias' way as Eastern New Mexico built a 9-5 lead in the fourth set.  But the ThunderWolves managed to convert 11 of the next 13 points, riding two more aces by Stark and benefitting from five attack errors by Eastern New Mexico.  From there, the Pack cruised, taking a 25-19 win.

In the deciding fifth set, the Pack built a commanding 8-3 lead, but saw it disappear as they committed six attack errors down the stretch, delivering the match to the Zias.

In the Pack's next match vs. Missouri Western, two losses in the opening sets, 25-16 and 25-19, set the ThunderWolves back.  An impressive win in the third set, 25-20, in which the Pack recorded 13 team kills, was too little too late as the Pack fell 25-20 in the final set. 

The ThunderWolves were led by Bernadette Pitre (So., Clifton, Colo.) and Janae Heiser (RFr., Westminster, Colo.), who continued their impressive weekends by turning in 20 and 22 kills, respectively, over the day's two matches.   Both emerged from the weekend with over 40 kills each over four matches, with Pitre boasting 44 kills and a stellar attack percentage of .360.  Libero Ashley Michel (So., Brighton, Colo.) was also impressive, averaging 4.69 digs per game over the weekend, as was setter Stark, averaging 6.56 assists per game and turning in a total of six aces.

Following the tournament, both Pitre and Michel were named to the All-Tournament team.

The Pack will attempt to purge its 2-6 record in early season tournament play next weekend when it opens its RMAC slate with home matches against Western State Friday night.