PUEBLO, Colo. (September 12, 2014) ~ The Colorado State University-Pueblo volleyball team (3-3) went toe-to-toe with the No. 6 ranked University of Nebraska-Kearney Lopers on Friday morning in the opening match of the Steel & Silver Classic. The ThunderWolves gave the Lopers all that they could handle, but the visitors came away with a 3-1 (25-15, 29-31, 29-27, 25-13) victory inside Massari Arena.
The setback ends the Pack's three-match winning streak and drops their record to 3-3 overall heading into this evening's tilt against University of Alaska Fairbanks at 7 p.m. Nebraska Kearney remains undefeated, improving to 5-0 on the season.
The Lopers held the statistical advantage in hitting percentage, .206 to .150, kills, 63-51, assists, 63-48, and digs, 80-68. Both squads concluded the match with nine team blocks each.
CSU-Pueblo's Mariangel Perez (So., Catia La Mar, Venezuela) paced all players in kills, registering a new career high with 22. Junior Oni Lattin (Houston, Texas) posted a contest best five blocks. In assists, Jordan Bruere (Jr., Rio Rancho, N.M.) posted 21 helpers to lead the team, while redshirt junior Alex Sansavera (San Antonio, Texas) tallied a team-high 14 digs.
For Nebraska Kearney, Erin Seele registered all but 11 of the team's 63 assists. Kelle Carver notched a team-best 19 kills, while tying with Liz McGowan for the team lead in blocks with three. McGowan led both squads in digs with 20.
In set one, the Lopers never trailed, breaking open a slim 8-7 lead with a 17-8 run to earn a 25-17 win. Nebraska Kearney hit .324 in the opening frame. Katie Weber had six kills to top both teams.
The Lopers jumped out to an 11-7 lead in the second set. The ThunderWolves fought back, using a 7-2 spurt to pull ahead by one, 14-13. The remainder of the contest was a see-saw affair, featuring 15 ties and 13 lead changes. The Pack held set point, 24-22, but let the lead slip away as Nebraska Kearney notched the next three tallies to take a 25-24 edge. CSU-Pueblo fended off match point on the next possession and used that momentum to propel them to a 31-29 victory.
Perez hit an outstanding .438 in the second set, notching 15 of her total 22 kills on the night in the frame.
The third set was as tightly contested as the second. The ThunderWolves opened up an early 9-5 advantage, forcing a Nebraska Kearney timeout. The Lopers responded out of the timeout, going on a 6-1 run to take an 11-10 lead. The contest continued to go back and forth until, with the score tied at 23, a service error by Nebraska Kearney set up set point for the Pack. CSU-Pueblo couldn't convert on the next point and the Lopers eventually went on to win, 29-27.
The fourth set was controlled by Nebraska Kearney. The Lopers hit .286 in the frame en route to a commanding 25-13 set win and an overall match victory.
As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.