By Dave Wagner
Albeit somewhat grudgingly, Eastern New Mexico University volleyball coach Mike Maguire allowed that his team had done all right Monday night.
The Zias, coming off a weekend trip to Grand Junction, Colo., in which they split four matches, took control early and opened their home schedule with a 30-21, 30-25, 30-26 win over Midwestern State at Greyhound Arena.
“For coming off a long trip, I thought we played pretty well,” Maguire said. “We weren’t hitting our marks early on our serves, but midway through that first game we started hitting them.”
ENMU (3-2) led virtually all the way against the Lady Indians (4-6), who came to Portales on Monday after a weekend tournament at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas.
Junior middle blocker Lindsey Schiely led a balanced hitting attack with 11 kills and just one error. The Zias also got 10 kills from seniors Anna Bellum and Emilie Rodman.
“I thought we did really well tonight,” said Schiely, a transfer from Clackamas (Ore.) Community College who is from Portland. “It was exciting playing at home.
“Our passing was a lot better than it was (at Grand Junction). We just seem to keep on getting better as we go.”
Maguire singled out 6-foot junior middle blocker Amber Davis, another transfer who filled in with starter Grace George nursing an ankle injury from the weekend. Davis compiled five kills, one block solo and three block assists.
“It’s nice having the luxury of four middle blockers,” Maguire said. “Amber came in without missing a beat, and she did a nice job.”
ENMU trailed 4-2 in the first game, but ran off six consecutive points with Olivia Boan serving for a 9-4 lead. Schiely converted a quick-set from Margie Goble and an overpass into points during the run.
“Whenever we were able to get a good pass, we were able to get a kill down tonight,” Schiely said.
The Lady Indians, on the other hand, never got much going. Three MSU errors in a run of four points helped the Zias build an 18-12 lead in Game 2, and Eastern fought off late runs by Midwestern to close out each of the last two games.
“We didn’t play well,” first-year Midwestern coach Venera Flores said. “Our serve-receive was a little loose, and they were all over us with their block.”
Sophomore middle hitter Abbi Meyer collected a match-high 16 kills for Midwestern, nearly half of her team’s total.
“Her offense kept us in the (match),” Flores said.
The Zias continue a three-match homestand with a 7 p.m. contest against Lubbock Christian on Friday before hosting New Mexico Highlands next Tuesday.