Entering the 2015 fall sports season, a common theme has emerged for many of Colorado State University-Pueblo’s athletic programs: high expectations.
After capturing the university’s first Division II Football National Championship, all eyes are on the Pack in their defense of the title. CSU-P football, however, is not the only athletic program hoping to emulate and build upon a highly successful 2014 campaign.
The volleyball program at CSU-Pueblo also has high hopes for the season ahead.
Coached by Jen Gomez, the ThunderWolves found their stride at the end of last season, winning five out of their last six contests and concluding the season with 17 wins, their highest season total since 1997.
“I think the key to last year’s success was just that we were more balanced as a whole, both offensively and defensively,” Gomez said.
“We were one of the best blocking teams in the conference last year and I think that really helped us a lot, plus we had some kids that could really put the ball away,” she said.
According to Go Thunderwolves, the school’s official sports site, the team finished with an overall record of 17-12 in 2014.
With an advantageously low turnover in personnel going into 2015, Gomez and the ThunderWolves hope only to improve upon that success.
“We only lost one player on our roster from last year,” Gomez said. “We really just want to build on what we did and be better than the year before.”
A tough schedule will provide some intriguing obstacles for the Pack with the 2015 campaign featuring contests with RMAC rivals, old and new.
“We always want to beat Adams State. We always want to play tough and beat Colorado School of Mines and Metro State and Regis, especially since in the past we haven’t been able to get over the hump on those teams,” Gomez said.
The 2015 schedule kicks off with Pack Volleyball’s first trip down to west Texas, where the ThunderWolves will compete in the 2015 Lady Buff Classic, according to Go ThunderWolves. There, the team will face off against teams like Dallas Baptist, Adams State, Lubbock Christian, and top-25 rated powerhouse and tournament hosts West Texas A&M.
“I think we’re ready for it. Right off the bat we’re playing in-region teams that could impact us for the season, so it’s a big weekend for us right out of the gate,” Gomez said.
The Pack will kick off their home opener on the weekend of Sept. 11-12 in a tournament that should “give everyone a real good taste of what our team is like and what they can expect to see from us this year,” Gomez said.
Careful not to overreach on season goals or expectations, Gomez seeks to measure the season’s success not by statistics, but also by improvement.
“We just want to build on what we did last year. Each year we try to do better than the year before. We want to be better than what we were,” said Gomez, “We want to make the RMAC tournament again. We want to win the conference.”