Eastern New Mexico University middle blocker Emilie Rodman tries to push a kill past Lubbock Christian defenders Stacy Simpson (left) and Magan McCormick in Tuesday’s match at Greyhound Arena. Photo by Kevin Wison
By Kevin Wilson
PORTALES — Nobody would accuse the Lubbock Christian volleyball team of having a powerhouse offense, but the Lady Chaps had it when they needed it most.
LCU played solid defense throughout and got a pair of kills to shut the door on an Eastern New Mexico University comeback attempt Tuesday in a 27-30, 30-28, 30-22, 31-29 win at Greyhound Arena.
The host Zias made an 11-2 run late in the third match to move within a point of sending the match to five games, but Stacy Simpson’s two kills closed it out.
Lubbock Christian (11-4) seemingly had the match put away after a string of Zias hitting errors pushed the Lady Chaps to a 23-18 lead. However, the late run was nearly enough to give ENMU an opportunity to steal the match.
“We were disappointed, or I was, that we really let them back into the game,” LCU coach Steven McRoberts said. “They had all the momentum until point 29.”
McRoberts thought the difference late was a few points his team’s defense stole from the Zias during the rally.
“I’m really pleased we scrapped out a few points,” McRoberts said. “I still don’t know how we got a couple of those up.”
By contrast, ENMU (5-10) was suspect enough on defense that it couldn’t take advantage of a 78-60 advantage in kills. Five Zias recorded double figures in kills, led by Anna Bellum’s 26, compared to just three for LCU.
ENMU assistant coach Sia Poyer thought the Lady Chaps were just more consistent throughout long rallies, especially on defense.
“They played really good,” Poyer said of LCU. “They picked up everything. We just weren’t focused enough to stay in those long rallies and finish the point.”
Poyer thought the Zias played great defense during their late run, but the difference in the match was that LCU played that type of defense all night.
“In order for you to be successful at this level, you’ve got to play defense like that,” he said. “You have to play that way all the time, not just in spurts.”
On offense, the Lady Chaps got most of their kills setting up from the outside. Magan McCormick led LCU with 16 kills, Kamplain added 14 and Simpson 12, while Mandy Moffitt had 40 assists.
“It wasn’t like they were running fast stuff on the outside,” Poyer said. “We had time to set up the block, but our outside blockers couldn’t set it up consistently.”
The Lady Chaps got a small advantage on match point, as Zia outside hitter Kelley McGinty twisted her ankle during the rally. ENMU coaches tended to McGinty as soon as Simpson’s kill finished the match.
Grace George and Kristen VanWettering added 13 kills for the Zias, while McGinty and Emilie Rodman each had 12. Jennifer Bullock had 63 assists for ENMU.
The Lady Chaps were the first of a four-match homestand for the Zias, who host Tarleton State on Friday in their Lone Star Conference opener.