ThunderWolves outlast Adams State in five sets

ThunderWolves outlast Adams State in five sets

PUEBLO, Colo. (Massari Arena) – The Colorado State University-Pueblo volleyball team used a match-changing 32-30 victory in set three to propel itself to a 3-2 (25-23, 18-25, 32-30, 19-25, 15-3) win over the visiting Adams State Grizzlies, Friday.

The ThunderWolves first win over the Grizzlies since Oct. 28, 2010 improves their record to 15-11 overall and 9-7 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tilts. The 15 victories are the most in a single season since the 2012 squad also won 15 contests, while the nine league wins are the most since the 2011 campaign when the Pack won 10 matches. The loss drops Adams State to 13-11 overall and 7-8 in RMAC play.

As a team, the Pack set a couple season-highs against the Grizzlies, recording 70 kills and 67 assists. Adams State finished the match with 66 kills and 60 assists. CSU-Pueblo also held the advantage in digs, 81-79, and blocks, 14-8.

Five different ThunderWolves set new career highs Friday night. Morgan Wilkening (Jr., Fleming, Colo.) paced three players in double-digit kills with 23. Alex Sansavera (R-Jr., San Antonio, Texas) registered 35 assists to go along with 15 digs for her 10th double-double of the season. Mariangel Perez (So., Catia La Mar, Venezuela) tallied a career-best 20 digs, while adding 15 kills for her team-leading 18th double-double of the year. Alex Winkler (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Tanja Ranilovic (R-So., Belgrade, Serbia) rounded out the Pack players with career highs with 10 blocks and 10 kills, respectively. Jordan Bruere (Jr., Rio Rancho, N.M.) notched her 12th double-double of the season, posting 22 assists and 13 digs, while Katie Burnett (So., Austin, Texas) matched Perez for the team-high in digs with 20.

For the Grizzlies, Lindsey Stindt had a contest-best 24 kills thanks largely to Katelyn Schwartz's match-high 51 assists. Gabrielle Timmen led both squads with 29 digs, while Alex Parker finished with a team-high six blocks.

In the opening set, the Pack trailed 3-2 early in the frame, but never trailed after that point. CSU-Pueblo held a lead by as many as four points on five different occasions and was able to hold off a late Grizzlies' rally to claim the first game, 25-23. As a team, the ThunderWolves hit a solid .308 in the set.

Adams State evened the contest with a 25-18 win in the second set. The Grizzlies out hit the Pack, .326 to .119, in the stanza.

The pivotal third set proved to be a thriller. CSU-Pueblo led for nearly the entire contest, but Adams State was able to keep the game close and eventually tie the score at 24. The remainder of the set was a back-and-forth affair with the Grizzlies fending off six set points, while the Pack held off the visitors on a pair of game points. With the score 30-29 in favor of Adams State, the ThunderWolves tied the set on a kill by Ranilovic. After an attack error by the Grizzlies, Wilkening gave CSU-Pueblo a two sets to one advantage with a kill to close the frame, 32-30.

Adams State responded with a victory in the fourth set. The Grizzlies never trailed en route to a 25-19 win, sending the contest to a decisive fifth game.

The final set was dominated by the Pack. The home team opened up an 8-0 lead out of the gates and never looked back, rolling to a 15-3 victory. The five-set win is just the second of the season for the ThunderWolves.

The Pack will close out the 2014 regular season with a pair of home matches next weekend. CSU-Pueblo will host New Mexico Highlands University Nov. 7, before welcoming Western New Mexico University to Massari Arena Nov. 8. Both contests are slated to begin at 7 p.m.

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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.