Zias fall to TexAnns in four

CNJ staff

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — Irelis Ilarraza had 16 kills and three block solos Saturday and Tarleton State fended off a solid challenge from Eastern New Mexico to beat the Zias 19-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-23 in Lone Star Conference volleyball play.

The TexAnns (21-8, 7-5) coming off a five-set loss to LSC-leading West Texas A&M on Thursday, had all it could handle against the Zias. Ilarraza’s kill on match point ended a competitive fourth game in which neither team led by more than three points for the most part.

Junior outside hitter Kristen Back had 16 kills for the Zias (12-14, 4-8), while junior middle blocker Jessica King had 10 kills.

After giving up the first point of the opening set, ENMU took off on an 11-0 run and maintained the lead the rest of the way. King had a kill on set point after the TexAnns had gotten within 20-18 at one point.

ENMU led for much of the second set, building a 14-9 lead at one point. Tarleton came back to lead 20-19, but the Zias scored the next three points capped by kills from Russell and Durand before the TexAnns finished it out with the final five points.

ENMU led 4-0 in the third game, but Tarleton scored the next six points and the teams battled on even terms until Ilarraza’s kill gave TSU the lead for good at 17-16 in the middle of a 7-0 run. The Zias then erased a 7-2 deficit to tie the fourth set and the team’s stayed close until Tarleton pulled out the final three points to erase a 23-23 Zias lead.

ENMU plays its home finale at 7 p.m. Tuesday against New Mexico Highlands before closing the season with LSC matches at Angelo State on Thursday and Abilene Christian on Saturday.