Zias edge Mountaineers for first win

CNJ staff

CANYON, Texas — Eastern New Mexico University’s volleyball team had it, then didn’t, then did.

The Zias, trying to get going after five consecutive losing seasons, pulled off a five-set win over Western State in the Lady Buffs Classic on Saturday, salvaging the last of four matches for the weekend 25-21, 26-24, 25-27, 21-25, 15-13.

Earlier Saturday, the Zias (1-3) lost to NAIA ninth-ranked Lubbock Christian 25-16, 25-19, 25-14.

The win was the 393rd for ENMU coach Mike Maguire, who coached the Zias for 20 years and then returned to the sidelines this season after a three-year hiatus. He last was a winning coach on Sept. 30, 2006, again in five sets against Angelo State.

The Zias rallied late to beat the Mountaineers (2-1) in Game 2, but the tide turned and Western State won the next two games before opening a 6-4 lead in the fifth set.

ENMU got back-to-back aces from senior Grace Brandt and again from sophomore Amber Durand. Junior Stacey Main then capped the 8-2 run with a kill for a 12-8 advantage.

Junior middle blocker Jessica King had 24 kills in the two matches, including 18 against Western State. Durand added 19 kills and 25 digs — 20 in the finale — while Main recorded five of her team-best six kills against the Mountaineers.

Senior setter Veronica Valdez-Kent posted a career-best 51 assists against Western State and had 69 for the day.

ENMU stayed close with Lubbock Christian (6-0) until the Lady Chaps ended the first game with a 6-1 run. King and Durand each had six kills for the Zias and combined for 11 digs.

The Zias return to action with a 6 p.m. (MDT) matchup against Oklahoma Panhandle State on Tuesday at Goodwell, Okla.