ENMU outside hitters Vanessa Wilcox, left, and Jessie Macknicki rise to try to block a kill attempt from Angelo State senior Amber Smith during Saturday’s Lone Star Conference South Division volleyball match. (CNJ staff photo: Kevin Wilson)
By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers
PORTALES — Even though Eastern New Mexico University’s Lone Star Conference South Division volleyball match against Angelo State began at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Greyhound Arena, coach Mike Maguire figures the Zias didn’t arrive until around 3:30.
After dropping the first two games, the Zias rallied back outlast the Rambelles 28-30, 21-30, 33-31, 30-26, 15-13 for their first victory in division play.
“I’m happy that they found it within them to come back like that,” Maguire said. “First of all, we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that position — unforced errors again, not thinking, not getting after it, just walking around — but it’s kind of nice to see they hung in there, and we caught a few breaks.”
Junior middle blocker Vicki Charvat credited her team’s ability to communicate on the court.
“We talked a lot, we blocked the ball,” Charvat said. “We were just quick on our feet.”
The Zias (6-13, 1-2 South) took control of the final game with a 10-5 scoring run for a 13-10 lead.
Earlier, however, the Zias dug themselves into a deep hole.
Angelo State (3-14, 1-4) ran out to a 16-9 lead in the first game before the Zias won nine of the next 11 points to pull even. The Rambelles then pushed back in front 27-20 and held off a late charge by the Zias.
Angelo pulled out to leads of 17-10 and 22-13 in cruising to the second game.
Down by two games, Charvat said the Zias remained positive.
“We just kept being positive, and it worked out for us,” she said.
Three consecutive aces by junior libero Stephanie Willett and two more by freshman Caitlin Murphy helped the Zias build a 12-5 advantage in the third game, but it didn’t last. They were down 31-29 before surviving two Angelo match points to stay alive.
The Zias led for most of the fourth game as well, pulling away from a 24-24 tie with six of the final eight points to send it to a deciding game.
Maguire said the Zias made some changes, to try to get momentum on their side.
“We changed the lineup a little bit there and did some different things,” Maguire said. “Momentum is a big force, that’s for sure.”