Zias absorb two defeats in tourney

CNJ staff

CANYON, Texas — The Eastern New Mexico University volleyball team got off to a rocky start under first-year coach Kim Falkenhagen Friday, losing twice in three games each on the first day of West Texas A&M’s Lady Buff Classic.

ENMU lost to Incarnate Word 30-19, 30-28, 30-23 in its first match before bowing to Pittsburg State 30-21, 30-20, 30-27.

Against Incarnate Word (2-1), junior outside hitter Vanessa Wilcox led the Zias with seven kills while senior outside hitter Jessie Macknicki and junior middle blocker Megan Wietz added six kills apiece. Emily Kopecki and Kim Kvapil led the Lady Cardinals, each collecting 11 kills.

Junior defensive specialist Nicole Vanderploeg added 17 digs and Macknicki had 11 for ENMU.

The Zias played Pitt State (2-0) close in the first game until late. ENMU pulled to 20-19 on a kill by Wilcox before the Gorillas pulled away with 10 of the final 12 points. ENMU scored first on a kill by senior outside hitter Randi Egley in the second game, but Pitt State controlled the rest of the game for a 2-0 lead.

The third game was nip-and-tuck the entire way. ENMU led three times by a point midway through, but with the score tied 26-26 the Gorillas got two kills and took advantage of a Zias setting error to move to match point.

Macknicki led the Zias with 10 kills, and also added eight assists, eight digs and two aces. Freshman setter Karen McIntyre collected 20 assists in the match.

Pittsburg State got a match-high 14 kills from Sammie Williams.

The Zias complete play in the event today, taking on New Mexico Highlands at noon (MDT) and Oklahoma Panhandle State at 3 p.m.