CSU-Pueblo volleyball kept their early season winning streak alive by defeating Missouri Southern State University in three straight sets: 25-21, 25-17, 25-16 on Sep. 7.
The ThunderWolves, who earned their first victory of the day by beating Montana State-Billings, improved to 6-0 on the season; their best start since 1997 when they started 5-0.
CSU-Pueblo got revenge in earning this victory, as their only previous meeting with MSSU came in the form of a three-set loss in 2002.
The Pack showed no signs of nerves in day one of hosting their first preseason tournament since 2008, though the road to victory was no easy task. The Missouri Southern State Lions (0-6) gave the Pack a battle in the first set, accumulating several blocks and kills to tie the set at 15.
However, three straight points on the strength of kills by senior Angela McAdams and freshman Marissa Calvillo gave the Pack a lead that they would not relinquish.
Though MSSU battled back to make the score 22-20, a crucial block by junior Brianna Bryant halted the late push by the visiting team and the Pack went on to win the first set 25-21.
The second set brought change, as MSSU came roaring out to a 6-2 lead. That’s when CSU-Pueblo coach Jen Gomez called a timeout to regroup the squad.
“We have a team of really hard-nosed kids who just don’t say die,” Gomez said after the match. “No matter if our backs are against the wall, or if we’re ahead, they just don’t give up.”
This proved to be true as the Pack stormed back after the timeout to go on a 9-2 run, taking an 11-8 lead in the set.
The ThunderWolves once again held this lead and consecutive kills by Bryant for points 21 and 22 would ensure another set victory for the Pack, who went on to win 25-17.
The third set saw the Pack come out seemingly ready to put the match away, as they took advantage of errors by MSSU and kills by McAdams, who led the team with nine kills in the match, and sophomore April Gonzales to take an 11-1 lead.
The Lions were able to mount a comeback however, battling back to a 16-12 score before Gonzales scored three of the next five CSU-Pueblo points to extend the lead and give the Pack a victory by a score of 25-16.
The 6-0 start by the Pack is a good sign. In 1997, they started 5-0 and went on to finish 24-9 and made the trip to the Division II national tournament.
The Pack will continue play in the 2012 ThunderWolves Classic on Saturday, Sept. 8 where two more victories could have given them their best start in school history. “We just take it one game at a time,” Gomez said. “And we really just focus on doing the little things right on our side of the net.”
The Pack’s winning streak came to an end when they lost 3-2 to Cameron (OK) Saturday.