PUEBLO, Colo. (October 22, 2016) – Down two sets to none, Colorado State University-Pueblo Volleyball fought back to beat Chadron State College 3-2 (24-26, 23-25, 25-16, 25-22, 15-9) at Massari Arena Saturday night.
CSU-Pueblo improved to 6-6 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and 8-13 overall. The Eagles dropped to 5-7 in the RMAC with a 6-15 record.
This victory looms large for the Pack as it moves them into a tie for the final RMAC Tournament spot with six matches remaining. Four of these matches will be against teams with losing records.
Junior Caitlin Broadwell (Lawrence, Kan.) led the Pack with 17 kills. Broadwell hit .366 for the match.
Senior Mariangel Perez (Catia La Mar, Venezuela) recorded a double-double with 14 kills and 15 digs. Perez's double-double was her sixth of the season. She now has 10 or more digs in each of her last seven matches.
Megan Schultz (Sr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) posted a.368 hitting percentage for the Pack. Schultz finished with nine kills, three blocks, and a service ace.
Fellow middle blocker Melissa Nichols (So., McKinney, Texas) came off the bench with six kills and a team-best .417 hitting percentage. Nichols entering the match brought momentum to the Pack for the second consecutive night as she swatted three attacks.
Senior Tanja Ranilovic (Belgrade, Serbia) blocked a team-high five attacks. Ranilovic also knocked down six kills.
Katie Burnett (Sr., Austin, Texas) led the Pack with 21 digs. Burnett finished the weekend with 47 digs and a 5.85 digs/set average.
Pack setters Elena Michalski (Jr., Longmont, Colo.) and Page Heller (Fr., Vancouver, Wash.) distributed the ball effectively. Michalski finished with 27 assists and nine digs. Heller set a new career-high with 19 assists. She also had seven digs. Freshman setter Kelsey Bell (Los Lunas, N.M.) added eight assists and six digs.
Both teams traded points in the first set. The Pack built the game's biggest lead at 17-14, but it would be erased as Chadron tied the set at 19. Chadron would take a 24-23 lead. A Perez kill would stave off game point temporarily but the Eagles would take set one 26-24. A highlight for the Pack in the first set came when Perez went on a three-point run with a kill and two service aces.
Schultz spiked down three kills in the first. Misha McDowell (Gilbert, Ariz.) blocked four attacks in the opening frame.
Much like set one, the two teams remained close throughout set two. The Pack held a 22-21 advantage late in the game. However, the Eagles rallied with four of the next five points to sneak away with a 25-23 set win. This run gave Chadron a 2-0 edge heading into the break.
Coming out of the intermission, the Pack looked shell-shocked as the Eagles began the set on a 5-0 run. After a timeout, the Pack regrouped and began their rally to tie the game at eight. A trio of over pass kills in succession from Melissa Nichols (So., McKinney, Texas) gave the pack their first lead of the frame at 12-10. Nichols would collect five kills in the third set alone.
Set four stayed close until the Pack used a three-point run to take a 23-20 lead. On their second game point, Broadwell crushed an emphatic kill to win the set 25-22 and force a fifth set.
With all the momentum and the crowd in their corner, the Pack controlled the fifth set. A 6-1 run gave the Pack a 9-4 lead they would never relinquish. Morgan Wilkening (Sr., Fleming, Colo.) put the exclamation on the comeback with a thunderous kill that gave the Pack a 15-9 win in set five and 3-2 victory. Wilkening finished with seven kills and four blocks.
The Pack's win snapped a three-match losing streak. With their losing streak in the past, the ThunderWolves will hit the road for matches at Adams State University Friday and Fort Lewis College Saturday.
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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.