Southwestern overhauls Zias late

Freedom New Mexico

PORTALES — Southwestern Oklahoma got 22 kills and 12 digs from senior middle blocker Kasandra Gurtner and 18 kills and five block solos from junior middle blocker Kacia Sandburg Thursday night and the Bulldogs rallied past Eastern New Mexico University 30-17, 26-30, 24-30, 30-18, 15-12 in a Lone Star Conference volleyball match at Greyhound Arena.

The Zias (3-21, 0-8 LSC) dropped their 14th match in a row and 19th in the last 20, but they were poised to snap their slide after taking a 2-1 lead in games and closing to 12-11 in the fourth game. The Bulldogs (10-17, 2-5) then went on a 6-0 run and went on to square the match, then overcame an early 3-2 deficit in game 5.

Freshman outside hitter Brittney Brame posted 20 kills for ENMU, the highest total for a Zias player this season. She pulled ENMU to 14-12 in the fifth game with a kill, but an attack error on the next point gave Southwestern the match.

Senior outside hitter Paula Henry added 12 kills for Southwestern. ENMU got 16 kills from senior outside hitter Randi Egley, while junior libero Nicole Vanderploeg had a team-high 20 digs.

ENMU led 3-0 in the first game before the Bulldogs took control, pulling away with 11 of the game’s final 14 points. The Zias then maintained small leads most of the way in games 2 and 3, getting the last of Brame’s nine kills in the third game on game point.

The Zias led early in the fourth game, the last time at 5-4, before Southwestern took over.

The match was the first of three in three days at home for the Zias. Today, they step outside the conference for a 6 p.m. clash with College of the Southwest before welcoming Central Oklahoma in a 2 p.m. LSC contest on Saturday.