ThunderWolves rally to defeat UCCS, 3-2, in RMAC opener

ThunderWolves rally to defeat UCCS, 3-2, in RMAC opener

PUEBLO, Colo. (September 18, 2014) ~ The Colorado State University-Pueblo volleyball team (7-3, 1-0 RMAC) started off the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference portion of its schedule on a high note Thursday evening inside Massari Arena. The ThunderWolves erased a two set to one deficit, rallying to defeat University of Colorado Colorado Springs in five sets, 3-2 (25-17, 21-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-13).

The ThunderWolves improve to 7-3 overall and 1-0 in RMAC play. CSU-Pueblo extended its winning streak to four matches, its longest stretch of victories since beginning the 2012 season with six consecutive wins. It is also the Pack's first victory over UCCS since defeating the Mountain Lions in five sets on Nov. 2, 2005. With the loss, UCCs falls to 3-6 on the season and 0-1 in conference action.

CSU-Pueblo finished the contest with the advantage in hitting percentage, .215 to .140, digs, 70-68, and team blocks, 13-4. The 13 blocks are a new season high for the Pack. UCCS notched more kills, 60-56 and assists, 58-53.

Mariangel Perez (Catia La Mar, Venezuela) and Alex Sansavera (R-Jr., San Antonio, Texas) both notched their seventh and fifth double-doubles of the season, respectively. Perez tallied a team-high 19 kills to go along with 18 digs, while Sansavera registered a team-best 26 assists and 14 digs. Alex Winkler (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) posted a contest-best and new season high seven blocks. Katie Burnett (So., Austin, Texas) recorded a match-high 19 digs.

For UCCS, Kim Catlett led both teams with 20 kills, while leading the Mountain Lions in digs with 16. Celeste Henderson registered a contest-leading 47 assists.

The ThunderWolves jumped out to an early 7-5 lead in the opening set. UCCS came back to tie the frame at 12-12. CSU-Pueblo dominated the remainder of the set, outscoring the Mountain Lions 13-5 the rest of the way to earn a 25-17 set one victory.

Trailing by one set, UCCS rebounded to win the second game, 25-21. The Mountain Lions erased an early one point deficit with 15-7 spurt to take control of the set, 20-13. A late rally by the Pack fell short, as UCCS knotted the match at one apiece.

The pivotal third set started out in the ThunderWolves' favor as the home team held a 14-10 lead mid way through the stanza. The Mountain Lions promptly went on an 8-1 scoring run to take an 18-15 advantage. The Pack tied the set at 19 and again at 20, but UCCS scored five out of the final eight points to earn the set win, 25-23.

Facing defeat, CSU-Pueblo bounced back to capture set four, 25-22. The ThunderWolves broke open a 13-13 tie with a 5-0 run to force a UCCS timeout. The timeout didn't slow down the Pack, as the home team extended its lead to 24-19. Morgan Wilkening (Jr., Fleming, Colo.) sent the match to a fifth set with a kill off of a Sansavera assist.

Set five featured high intensity from both squads. The Pack held a slim 9-7 edge, only to see the Mountain Lions snatch away the lead at 12-10. The ThunderWolves had one last run left in them though, scoring five out of the final six points to win the set, 15-13, and the match, 3-2.

CSU-Pueblo returns to action tomorrow night versus Metro State University of Denver. Match time against the Roadrunners is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Massari Arena.

 # CSU-Pueblo #

 As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.