CSU-Pueblo spikes down Griffins on senior night

CSU-Pueblo spikes down Griffins on senior night

PUEBLO, Colo. (November 5, 2016)   On senior night at Massari Arena, Colorado State University-Pueblo Volleyball honored its five seniors with a ceremony and a victory over Westminster  College in four sets. The Pack defeated the Griffins 25-21, 25-15, 21-15, and 25-14 at Massari Arena Saturday night.

Each of the Pack's five seniors helped lead CSU-Pueblo to its third consecutive win. Mariangel Perez (Catia la Mar, Venezuela) delivered a team-best 19 digs and 14 kills. The double-double was the 42nd of Perez's career. Perez now has 10 or more digs in her last 11 matches. Playing in front of her family, Perez hit .355 for the night.

Megan Schultz (Sr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) made her presence felt on senior night with 10 kills. Schultz also provided a team-best three blocks. She added three digs and hit .283 for the match. Her .206 career-hitting percentage would rank 10th all-time at CSU-Pueblo.

Libero, Katie Burnett (Sr., Austin, Texas) moved closer to the Pack's single-season digs record by saving 18 more plays. With 469 digs this season, Burnett trails the single-season record by 15. With a school-record 5.10 digs/set pace, Burnett will likely break this mark during her final home match Tuesday night. She also finished with seven assists and another service ace.

After a slow start, Tanja Ranilovic (Belgrade, Serbia) thrived on senior night. She knocked down seven kills for the match and came through with six digs. In the fourth set, she sparked the Pack with an emphatic solo block.

Captain, Morgan Wilkening (Sr., Fleming, Colo.) record nine kills on a .238 hitting percentage in her penultimate home game. The nine kills moved Wilkening into fourth place all-time at CSU-Pueblo. She chipped in two rejections for the match.

While the seniors were great, the setters made them look good. Junior Elena Michalski (Longmont, Colo.) earned her sixth double-double of the season with 29 assists and 11 digs. Freshman Page Heller (Vancouver, Wash.) recorded 16 assists and 12 digs coming off the bench.

The Pack never trailed in the first set, beginning the match on a three-point run. Though the Griffins would close within one, CSU-Pueblo would hold a 23-15 lead late in the set. To their credit the Griffins would not go away quietly, scoring six consecutive points to make it a two-point game. The Pack would respond with a crucial kill by Michalski on a second-swing attack that ended the Griffins run. CSU-Pueblo would win the set on the next point, 25-23, because of a Westminster error.

In the second set, Westminster kept it close as the Pack led 9-7 early. However, an 8-3 run would put the ThunderWolves up 17-10. After the Griffins trimmed the Pack's lead to 19-15, CSU-Pueblo went on a 6-0 run with Perez serving to finish the frame. Wilkening had two kills in this run that gave the Pack a 25-15 win and two-set advantage entering the break.

The Pack looked strong out of the break, scoring the first four points, but the Griffins would eventually tie the set at 18. After the two squads traded three-point runs, Westminster went on a 4-0 spree that lead them to a 25-21 set win that forced a fourth game.

The ThunderWolves dominated the fourth set from the beginning, scoring eight of the first nine points. Westminster would never get closer than six after that as the ThunderWolves took care of business sin the fourth set, winning it 25-14 and ending the match.

CSU-Pueblo outhit the Griffins .268-.021 in the fourth. For the match the Pack held a .235-.079 advantage in hitting percentage. Caitlin Broadwell (Jr., Lawrence, Kan.) knocked down 12 kills for the match and contributed  seven digs.

With their victory, the ThunderWolves (11-14) now find themselves in a three-way tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. They hold a 9-7 record in conference games. Westminster dropped to 4-21 (2-13) RMAC.

The Pack will play its home finale against one of the teams they are tied with for that eighth spot, Adams State University, Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Massari Arena. A win by the Pack would give them the inside track to their third consecutive RMAC Tournament appearance.

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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