By Mickey Winfield: PNT Staff Writer
The Eastern New Mexico Zia volleyball team (3-2) won their home opener Tuesday night in three straight games over Oklahoma Panhandle State (0-3), 30-19, 30-19 and 30-22.
Zia head coach Mike Maguire thinks his girls have a statement to make.
“I think (our girls) really wanted to show the fans, that we have a different product this year, they really wanted to get after it,” Maguire said.
And get after it they did.
The Zias quickly took a 5-0 lead in game one, before OPSU reeled off four consecutive points of their own. The ENMU women found themselves up 22-9 and took the first game 30-19.
ENMU sophomore setter and returning starter Kara Killian indicated the Zias may have played down a bit to their competition Tuesday night.
“I thought we played well, we can always play better,” Killian said. “We’re used to playing stronger caliber teams, we just can’t let our team get down. We have to stay intense, but we’re glad to get the home opener out of the way,” .
“(OPSU) are kind of in the early stages of their program, we wanted to get this match in, I don’t think we were really sharp out there tonight. And we are going to play some much tougher competition, and that may be a different story.”
The second game was much like the first.
Junior middle blocker Vicki Charvat notched a service ace early in the second game to give the Zias a 7-3 lead. The ENMU women led by as much as 11 points, and that turned out to be the final margin of game two, 30-19.
The Zias took early control of game three as well, going up 17-4 early. The Lady Aggies of OPSU fought back though to get to within five points, at 27-22. But the Zias turned it on late in the third game to finish it (30-22) and the match (3-0).
ENMU junior middle blocker Randi Egley and freshman Megan Kazakoff led the Zias with 8 kills each. Freshman Caitlin Murphy led defensively with 13 digs, while Killion topped all players with 19 assists.
“We had some errors that we should have cleaned up, and we’ll do that this weekend in Colorado, we’re just glad to get our first win here at home,” Killian said.
The Zias travel to Durango, Colo. for the Ft. Lewis tournament beginning on Friday.