ThunderWolves edged in five sets at Highlands

ThunderWolves edged in five sets at Highlands

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (Wilson Complex) ~ The Colorado State University-Pueblo volleyball team (12-10, 6-6 RMAC) pushed New Mexico Highlands University to five sets, but the Cowgirls outlasted the ThunderWolves to earn a 3-2 (27-25, 23-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-11) win Saturday.

With the loss, CSU-Pueblo falls to 12-10 overall and 6-6 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action. The Cowgirls up their record to 10-12 overall and 5-7 in conference tilts.

Highlands held the statistical edge in kills, 75-63, assists, 71-58, and hitting percentage, .279 to .241. It is just the second loss this season for the Pack in which they've registered a hitting percentage over .200. The ThunderWolves owned the advantage in digs, 78-76, while both teams finished the match with nine blocks.

Three players notched double-doubles for CSU-Pueblo. Mariangel Perez (So., Catia La Mar, Venezuela) tallied her team-leading 15th double-double of the season after recording a match-high 18 kills and 11 assists. Morgan Wilkening (Jr., Fleming, Colo.) matched Perez's contest-best 18 kills, while contributing 13 digs for her sixth double-double of the year. Jordan Bruere (Jr., Rio Rancho, N.M.) posted her 11th double-double of the season thanks to 18 assists and 16 digs. Alex Sansavera (R-Jr., San Antonio, Texas) finished the match with a career-high 31 assists. Katie Burnett (So., Austin, Texas) paced the Pack with 20 digs, while Oni Lattin (Jr., Houston, Texas) and Alex Winkler (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) each registered a match-high five blocks.

For the Cowgirls, Alicia Moreno and Kristin Woody tallied 16 kills apiece to lead the home team.  Shayli Schulz and Jessica Piper each recorded match-highs with Schulz tallying 35 assists and Piper notching 34 digs. Tianna Matthews tied with Lattin and Winkler for the match-high in blocks with five.

In the opening set, Highlands broke open a tight game with a 3-0 run to take an 18-15 advantage. The ThunderWolves fought back to tie the set on four different occasions, but the Cowgirls escaped with a 27-25 game one win.

CSU-Pueblo led for the majority of the second set en route to a 25-23 victory. The Pack led by as many as five and were able to hold off a late Highlands' rally to even the match at one set apiece.

Mid way through set three the ThunderWolves owned a 13-9 advantage. The tides quickly turned as the home team ripped off an 11-3 scoring run to move in front 20-16. A CSU-Pueblo timeout couldn't slow the Cowgirls' momentum as Highlands notched a 25-19 set three win.

In the fourth set, it looked like the Cowgirls were well on their way to a 3-1 match victory. The home team led 20-13 late in the frame, but the ThunderWolves fought back. The Pack ripped off an impressive 12-3 scoring spurt to win 25-23 and force a fifth and deciding set.

CSU-Pueblo's comeback bid fell short as the Cowgirls captured a 15-11 victory in the fifth set to earn a 3-2 match win.

The ThunderWolves remain on the road next weekend for a pair of conference tilts. CSU-Pueblo challenges No. 16 Colorado Mesa University Oct. 24, before facing Fort Lewis College the following night, Oct. 25.

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