ThunderWolves finish tournament downing three teams with winning records in 2011 and two national tournament qualifiers.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (GoThunderWolves.com - Sept. 1, 2012) - When it comes to preseason tournaments like the one the ThunderWolves were participating in Texas this weekend, the typical goal is to win more than you lose, coming away with three wins in four matches.
But the ThunderWolves' outcome at the Rattler/Hilltopper Classic, held in San Antonio and Austin this weekend, even exceeded those expectations.
The Pack converted a clean sweep of the tournament - its first such sweep of a preseason tournament since 1997 - after winning in five against 2011 NCAA Division II National Tournament qualifier, Abilene Christian, and outlasting host St. Mary's in four sets.
The ThunderWolves followed up its five-set rally from Friday against St. Edward's with a similar match against Abilene Christian, winning 21-25, 25-22, 25-15, 20-25, 15-10, showing that in the early going this season, they are showing fight and not rolling over.
The ThunderWolves dropped the first set but rebounded at the right time before things got out of hand. Trailing 19-16 in the second set, CSU-Pueblo called a time out to focus. The world cleared up after that point as the Pack converted six of the next seven points, jumping out to a 22-20 lead and claiming the driver's seat to steer the team to a second set win.
The Pack rode that momentum to dominate the third set, but suffered a setback in the fourth set as Abilene Christian turned a 20-20 game into a 25-20 win with an impressive flurry that included three aces, forcing the fifth set.
However, instead of yielding to Abilene's momentum, the Pack wrested it back, jumping out to an 8-3 lead in the tiebreaking set and cruising to the five-set win with the 15-10 victory.
In the final game against host St. Mary's, CSU-Pueblo overcame a first-set loss to dominate the remainder and win in four, 14-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-23.
In a good matchup between the two teams, CSU-Pueblo shrugged off a good old-fashioned trip to the woodshed in the first set before regrouping and taking over.
CSU-Pueblo used early leads to ride toward victory, including an 8-3 lead in the second set and a 6-1 lead in the third, to set up what would be the clinching fourth set. In a neck-and-neck battle, CSU-Pueblo turned a 19-19 tie into a 23-19 lead, converting four straight points and marching to the win.
CSU-Pueblo was led by highly-effective front row play, including senior Angela McAdams (Sr., Blinn, Texas), who recorded a total of 28 kills over the two matches. Setter Kacy Griffin (Jr., Houston, Texas) was also solid, going for 50 and 46 assists against Abilene Christian and St. Mary's, respectively.
CSU-Pueblo now turns its attention back home, where it will return to host the CSU-Pueblo Classic at Massari Arena on Friday and Saturday. The ThunderWolves will face Montana State-Billings and Missouri Southern State on Friday followed by Cameron and Eastern New Mexico Saturday.