PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Nov. 8, 2013) - As CSU-Pueblo pushes for a playoff berth, Friday night's match against last-place Western State had to be a win, and the Pack came through, winning in three, 25-22, 26-24, 25-16.
CSU-Pueblo started off on a bumpy stretch, but improved statistically the rest of the match after a rough start.
The Pack committed 10 attack errors in the first set, but luckily the Western State attack wasn't much better as the Pack took the lead midway through the set and didn't let up. Trailing by as much as 10-7 at one point, CSU-Pueblo was on the receiving end of a Western State self-destruction as the Mountaineers committed four attack errors during a six-point stretch, two of which coming on blocks by Brianna Bryant (Sr., Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and Tanja Ranilovic (RFr., Belgrade, Serbia), and CSU-Pueblo never looked back, winning the first set 25-22.
In the second set, the ThunderWolves nearly gave it away after a 6-1 start to the set, allowing a Western State comeback and turning the second set into a blow-by-blow brawl. The Mountaineers took its first lead at 21-20 and played the set to set point, leading 24-23, before the Pack circled the wagons and rallied.
Thanks to two kills by Bryant and a kill by Morgan Wilkening (So., Fleming, Colo.), who turned in a match-high 17 kills, the Pack came through with a 26-24 win.
In the third set, CSU-Pueblo ran roughshod on the Mountaineers, responding to a 2-0 lead by the Mountaineers by converting 16 of the next 19 points to go up 16-5 and essentially putting the game away. Only a vanity run by Western State at the end made it close as the Pack won 25-16.
With the victory, CSU-Pueblo is still very much alive for an RMAC playoff berth. Currently with a 10-16 record and 7-9 mark in RMAC play, CSU-Pueblo is one game out of eighth place in the RMAC standings, needing to finish in the top eight to qualify for the playoffs. The ThunderWolves have three games remaining to catch Fort Lewis, which has an 8-8 mark in conference play.
CSU-Pueblo's next challenge will be against Adams State on senior night at Massari Arena. The match begins at 7 p.m. Saturday.