Zias notch win over Dustdevils, lose to Pioneers

CNJ staff

DENTON, Texas — Sophomore Veronica Valdez had 18 kills and nine digs Saturday as the Eastern New Mexico University volleyball team rallied from a one-game deficit to beat Texas A&M-International 17-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-23.

The Zias then faced Lone Star Conference rival and host Texas Woman’s in a non-conference match and absorbed a 25-13, 25-14, 25-18 loss from the Pioneers.

ENMU (6-15) rallied to dominate the second and third games against A&M-International (3-16), and led 7-3 early in the fourth set after a kill by freshman Sarah Koch. The Dustdevils rallied back for a 19-16 lead on Nicole Gipson’s kill, but the Zias scored the final two points on kills by Valdez and Karen McIntyre.

Koch added nine kills for the Zias, while sophomore libero Caitlin Murphy picked up 25 digs. Gipson had 18 kills for A&M-International, while Brittany Smith contributed 11 kills and five total blocks.

Texas Woman’s (13-7) trailed only once by a point in each of the first two games against the Zias, but ENMU jumped out to a 7-2 lead in Game 3 before the Pioneers rallied back with seven consecutive points. The run included two aces by Alyson Harlan.

Senior outside hitter Nicole Vanderploeg posted 10 kills and 11 digs for the Zias. Dani Veitenheimer led Texas Woman’s with 10 kills.

ENMU begins a three-match homestand on Tuesday with a 7 p.m. contest against New Mexico Highlands at Greyhound Arena.