By Dave Wagner, Freedom New Mexico
Angelo State’s play was far from flawless, but on Friday it was good enough.
Junior Alaina Sivells collected 15 kills and junior Adrienne Taylor posted a double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs as the Rambelles notched a 25-18, 23-25, 25-17, 25-19 win over Eastern New Mexico University on Friday in the Zias’ six-team tournament at Greyhound Arena.
Each team is facing four of the other five in the two-day event, although ENMU already played Newman in a Thursday match and lost in five games.
Later on Friday, the Zias lost to Fort Hays State 25-20, 25-19, 17-25, 25-23 despite 15 kills and four total blocks from senior outside hitter Vanessa Wilcox. The Zias finish up today with matches against East Central at 2 p.m. and Grand Canyon at 6 p.m.
The Zias gave Angelo a scrap for most of the match, but the Rambelles managed to build comfortable leads late in the third and fourth games.
“I like the fight in my girls,” first-year Angelo coach Chuck Waddington said. “Eastern New Mexico is a scrappy team. I told my kids (after the third game), ‘They’re going to expect to go five.’”
It didn’t happen. The Zias managed a couple of ties early, but Sivells’ kill gave the Rambelles a 6-5 lead and they stayed ahead the rest of the way.
Sophomore outside hitter Veronica Valdez had 13 kills for the Zias, while Wilcox added nine. But ENMU coach Kim Falkenhagen said her freshman-laden team isn’t getting the steady play it needs from its older players.
“We were very inconsistent,” she said. “We’ve got to find some consistency until we jell.”
Freshman middle blocker Jessica King had seven kills to just one attack error. She was also in on four blocks, including ENMU’s only solo effort.
Another freshman, Sarah Koch, had five kills and one error.
“Jessica King hit very well; she made very few errors,” Falkenhagen said. “My freshmen are playing well. It’s just that as a team we need to get more consistent.”
The Rambelles had nine aces to go with nine service errors, compared with no aces and two service errors for the Zias.
Waddington, whose team edged Grand Canyon in five games later on Friday, said he preaches a high-risk, high-reward style from the service line.
“Even when we didn’t get an ace, we want to put teams in tough situations,” he said. “We did that for the most part tonight.
“We had kids who stayed disciplined and stayed within our system. I was pleased with how we played.”