By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff writer
Zia head coach Mike Maguire remained in his seat, staring at the court, nearly 10 minutes after the Zias lost to Tarleton State Saturday afternoon at Greyhound Arena.
Maguire seemed to be lost in his thoughts after the loss, and at the same time, soaking up the moment, just after his second-to-last home game leading the Zias after 20 seasons.
The Tarleton State TexAnns (12-13, 4-3) defeated the Zias in three games: 30-27, 30-24, 31-29.
“I don’t believe we competed at all,” Maguire said. “I don’t know what it is, but we didn’t put out much of an effort, that was a big factor in Tarleton’s win. They’ve got a good team, but if we don’t go out there and put out the effort, this is the way it’s going to be.”
The Zias began the first game strong with a 4-0 lead capped by a service ace by junior outside hitter Jessie Macknicki.
The home team expanded their lead to 10-3 before the TexAnns took 13 of the next 17 points to take their first lead of the match, 16-14. They never lost that lead, winning the first game 30-27.
The second game was tightly contested until the last 11 points, seven of which were won by the TexAnns with Tarleton State winning the second game 30-24.
The Zias fell behind 20-12 in the third game, before taking 14 of the next 21 points to pull even, 27-27, but the Tarleton State women took four of the last six points to win the game, 31-29, and the match 3-0.
Saturday’s loss is the Zia’s (6-23, 1-7) 10th straight, and the 11th loss in their last 12 outings.
“I would say that 90 percent of the losses this year were from unforced errors and a lack of focus, and it’s continued, and now with a lack of effort that just lumps it on there, and it makes it really, really tough to do anything positive,” Maguire said.
But despite the Zias late season skid, and Maguire’s resignation now official, the long-time Zia volleyball leader refused to admit that his women have given up.
“I’ll leave that to the fans to decide what they see out there on the court, their pretty knowledgeable volleyball fans that have followed this program for a long time, and I’m not going to make that statement,” Maguire said.
Macknicki led the Zias with 15 kills, while sophomore setter Kara Killian led the ENMU women with 27 assists. Killian also led the Zia defensive effort with 16 digs. Tarleton State senior setter Christina Ortiz led all players with 47 assists.
TexAnn head coach Mary Domine described the games as a must-win, for their women to break into the LSC postseason.
“This is one we really needed to win to cement our way into the conference tournament,” Domine said. “We knew coming in here that this gym is tough to play in.”
The Zias play their final home game of the season Tuesday against Lubbock Christian at Greyhound Arena, which will also mark Maguire’s last home game of his 20-year career as a coach. The Zias play their final three matches of the season on the road.