PUEBLO, Colo. (September 1, 2016) – Colorado State University-Pueblo Volleyball opens its 2016 campaign with a trip to Denton, Texas for the Hilton Garden Inn Tournament. The Pack will play four matches, two on Friday and two on Saturday, as they look improve upon their 11-16 record a year ago.
On Friday, the Pack will begin their regular season with a match against Texas A&M University Commerce beginning at 10 a.m. The ThunderWolves will return to the court at 5:30 p.m. to face host institution Texas Women's University. This will be the only Pack game with live video streaming during the tournament. Click here to watch this game live.
CSU-Pueblo will also play two games Saturday. The Pack clashes with Lubbock Christian at 8 a.m. and wraps up its tournament with showdown against Newman University at 1 p.m. Saturday.
It will be a new look for the Pack as Jill Muhe takes over the coaching reigns. Muhe comes to the Pack from San Francisco State University, where she posted a 41-43 record over the past three seasons.
She takes over a team that will return Two-time First Team All- Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Outside Hitter Mariangel Perez (Sr., Catia La Mar, Venezuela). Perez ranked eighth in the RMAC with 3.22 kills per set. Her 3.02 digs/set ranked second on the ThunderWolves.
Senior Katie Burnett (Austin, Texas) returns to the Lone Star State as she begins her final campaign. Burnett led the Pack with 3.29 digs per set in 2015.
After missing last season due to injury, senior Morgan Wilkening (Fleming, Colo.) and junior Elena Michalski (Longmont, Colo.) return to the Pack's lineup. Michalski averaged 4.02 assists per set before being injured last season. Wilkening had 2.77 kills/set and 2.94 digs/set as a junior in 2014.
The ThunderWolves will look to overcome the absence of Oni Lattin, who led the nation in blocks per set in 2015 en route to being named an Honorable Mention All-American. Middle Blockers Melissa Nichols (R-So., Katy, Texas) and Megan Schultz (Sr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) will try to fill the void left by Lattin. Nichols finished 11th in the RMAC 0.86 blocks/set in 2015.
Caitlin Broadwell (Jr., Lawrence, Kan.) returns after recording 10 or more kills in 10 matches in 2015. Fellow returnees Mikala Morris (R-Jr., Tempe, Ariz.) and Tanja Ranilovic (R-Sr., Belgrade Serbia)will compliment Broadwell and Perez on the outside. Pualehua Keola (R-So., Honolulu, Hawaii) and ShiAnn Rodriguez (R-Fr., Pueblo, Colo.) will look to contribute defensively and offensively respectively.
Four newcomers will also suit up for their first game in a Pack uniform this weekend. Freshman setters Kelsey Bell (Los Lunas, N.M.) and Page Heller (Vancouver, Wash.) hope to make an impact in the passing game. Freshman Defensive Specialist Bayley Ricattone (Pueblo, Colo.) will stay home and play for the Pack following a decorated career at Pueblo East High School. Junior transfer Misha McDowell (Gilbert, Ariz.)rounds out the Pack's 2016 recruiting class after winning a NJCAA National Championship at Glendale Community College.
Following their four-game tournament run in Texas the Pack will return to Massari Arena to open their home slate against Angelo State University Wednesday Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. The ThunderWolves will then host the ThunderWolves Classic with four home games from Sept.8-10. For a full schedule of the ThunderWolves Classic visit the Tournament Central.
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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.