PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Sept. 17, 2012) - CSU-Pueblo rallied from two sets down to claim a heart-thumping five-set win Monday, downing South Dakota School of Mines.
All things considered, the Pack had no business winning the match, but pulled out rallies in huge situations and displayed nerves of steel when the game was on the line to claim the 17-25, 23-25, 25-17, 25-18, 22-20 victory.
In the first two sets, the ThunderWolves were down and out, getting hammered by the Hardrockers' attack. South Dakota School of Mines was hitting a gawdy .358 as a team, victimizing the ThunderWolves' back row, which was without libero Michelle Lambayan (Sr., Aiea, Hawaii), who skipped the non-conference game to rest up for conference games later this week. The ThunderWolves, despite hitting a respectable .250 in the first two sets, were simply getting annihilated defensively.
In the third set, however, the Pack made a change, switching to Aubrey Urban (So., Denver, Colo.) at libero. The change was felt as the Pack regained composure on the back row and tempered the Hardrockers' attack, which hit just .170 throughout.
The key configuration for the ThunderWolves was when Alex Sansavera (RFr., San Antonio, Tex.) was serving, as the Pack put together mighty rallies to overtake set after set.
In the third set, trailing 16-14, the ThunderWolves would put together an amazing 10-point rally, going from behind all the way to game point behind the service of Sansavera. The Pack benefitted from three kills and two blocks from Angela McAdams (Sr., Blinn, Texas) during the rally, part of her game-high and career-best 24 kills.
In the fourth set, the ThunderWolves came from behind to turn a 13-8 deficit into a 16-16 tie, again handing the ball to Sansavera who presided over eight straight points to push it to game point again and forcing a fifth and deciding set.
The fifth set, however, really was one for the ages as the Pack rallied from an 11-4 deficit, handing the ball yet again to Sansavera. Delivering two aces, she oversaw the Pack taking a 12-11 lead.
And then, the real fun began.
Each team traded points until Mines ran it to game point, taking a 15-14 lead.
Then the Pack tied it up.
At 17-16, Mines had another game point.
Then the Pack tied it up.
And again. And again. And again.
Finally, CSU-Pueblo, up 21-20, converted a game point chance when Brianna Bryant (Jr., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) recorded a thundering kill to complete one of the most emotional comebacks in recent ThunderWolves history.
The amazing match wraps up the Pack's Division II non-conference schedule and provided a much-needed momentum boost as the team prepares for an Adams State team on the verge of a national ranking on Friday night and Western State on Saturday afternoon.