PUEBLO, Colo. (September 8, 2017) – On the first day of their home tournament, the Steel & Silver Classic, Colorado State University-Pueblo Volleyball had the No.12 team in the nation, the Wayne State Wildcats, on the ropes but could not complete the upset, losing in five sets (25-23, 13-25, 25-20, 18-25, 12-15). They would later to be swept by the Texas A&M University Commerce Lions (18-25, 16-25, 22-25) to complete their first day of home matches at Massari Arena.
The ThunderWolves started the day by taking the No. 12 team in the nation to the very limit. CSU-Pueblo embraced their role as the underdog coming out with no fear and jumping out to a 13-8 lead in the first set. The Wildcats appeared to turn the corner by scoring the next eight points. The Pack would eventually battle back and tie the set at 18. Down 22-21, the Pack flipped on another gear, scoring three unanswered points to force game point. On their second try at game point, Caitlin Broadwell (Sr., Lawrence, Kan.) blasted down an emphatic kill to give the Pack a 25-23 win in set two.
In the second set, the Wildcats showed why they are ranked so highly. They would take set two 25-13 to even it up at the break.
Coming out of the shortened intermission, the ThunderWolves caught fire, using a 5-0 run to take a 10-3 lead. Wayne State would never get closer than three as the Pack cruised to a 25-20 set win. They held Wayne State to a -.043 hitting percentage.
Set four belonged to the Wildcats. They would force a fifth and decisive set five on the strength of a 25-18 set win.
The ThunderWolves responded in the fifth set, vaulting ahead 7-3. After Wayne State forced a sideout, they substituted Hope Carter who went on a 5-0 service run to put the Wildcats. However, the Pack would quickly retake the lead at 11-9. With the ThunderWolves on the brink of taking a three-point advantage, Carter made diving dig after diving dig to give Wayne State the point and the momentum. They would eventually thwart the Pack's upset attempt with a 15-12 win in set five.
Elena Michalski (Sr., Longmont, Colo.) set two career-highs. She collected with 47 assists and 23 digs, both career bests, in the loss to the Wildcats.
Broadwell finished with a season-high 19 digs. She led the Pack with 16 kills to earn her second double-double of the season.
Freshman Brooke Schilling (Platteville, Colo.) earned her first career double-double. She knocked down 11 kills and came up with 16 digs, both career bests.
Defensive specialists Pualehua Keola (Jr., Honolulu, Hawaii) and Bayley Ricottone (Fr., Pueblo, Colo.) gave the Pack five players with double-digit digs. Keola saved 16 attacks, while Ricottone came up 11 digs.
Unfortunately, for the home fans, the Pack left it all on the court against the Wildcats. When they faced the Lions at night they ran out of gas and lost in three sets to fall to 1-5 on the early season.
Michalski led the way in primtime with 26 assists. Misha McDowell (Sr., Gilbert, Ariz.) knocked down six kills and led the Pack with a .353 hitting percentage.
After dropping their first two home matches of the season, the Pack will look to turn things around Saturday Sept.9 on day two of the Steel & Silver Classic. They will welcome No. 19 University of Central Oklahoma at 10 a.m. The ThunderWolves will wrap up the Steel & Silver Classic Saturday night when they face Newman University at 6 p.m.
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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.