Zias win home volleyball opener

ENMU freshman Megan Kazakoff, left, and junior Vicki Charvat try to block Oklahoma Panhandle State’s Catherine Clay in Tuesday’s volleyball matchup at Greyhound Arena. (CNJ staff photo: Andy DeLisle)

By Mickey Winfield: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico University volleyball coach Mike Maguire said the Zias made a statement in Tuesday’s home opener against Oklahoma Panhandle State.

The Zias improved to 3-2 for the season, cruising past the Lady Aggies 30-19, 30-19, 30-22 at Greyhound Arena.

“I think we really wanted to show the fans that we have a different product this year,” Maguire said. “They really wanted to get after it.”

The Zias quickly took a 5-0 lead in the first game. Panhandle then reeled off four consecutive points, but ENMU rolled to a 22-9 lead to quickly put the game out of reach.

The second game wasn’t much different. Junior middle blocker Vicki Charvat notched a service ace early to put the Zias up 7-3 and they were never threatened.

In the third game, ENMU bolted to a 17-4 lead. The Lady Aggies (0-3) got as close as 27-22 before the Zias ran off the final three points.

ENMU sophomore Kara Killian indicated the Zias may have played down a bit to their competition Tuesday night.

“I thought we played well, but 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.”

Maguire said the Zias didn’t let down against an overmatched opponent in the Lady Aggies (0-3).

“They’re kind of in the early stages of their program,” he said of the Lady Aggies (0-3). “I don’t think we were really sharp out there tonight. We’re going to play some much tougher competition, and that may be a different story.”

ENMU junior middle blocker Randi Egley and freshman Megan Kazakoff led the Zias with eight kills apiece. Freshman Caitlin Murphy led defensively with 13 digs, while Killian had 19 assists.

Killian said the Zias have some work to do as they prepare for a tournament this weekend at Fort Lewis.

“We had some errors that we should have cleaned up, and we’ll do that this weekend in Colorado,” she said. “We’re just glad to get our first win here at home.”