CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo ENMU Jessica King slams a kill past two Texas A&M-Kingsville blockers during the first game of Saturday’s Lone Star Conference and regular-season finale at Greyhound Arena. King tied for match-high honors with 13 kills.
By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
PORTALES — Trying for their first Lone Star Conference win in two seasons, the Eastern New Mexico University volleyball team hung on and hung on Saturday against Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Then the roof fell in. The Javelinas broke away from a third-game tie, scoring 18 of the final 22 points to nail down a 25-23, 26-24, 25-11 victory at Greyhound Arena.
Senior outside hitter Shaday Smith collected 13 kills with just one attack error as the Javelinas (11-17, 4-9 LSC) completed the season with four wins in their final five matches.
“Our kids came out and did a nice job of just playing,” Javs coach Shannon Alvarado said of the third set. “I felt we missed some opportunities in Games 1 and 2. At the break (after the second game), we just talked about going out and never looking back.”
The Zias (6-28, 0-13), who ended the season on a 14-match losing streak, kept things close most of the way, but managed only four kills in the third game.
“I think we played pretty well the first and second games,” said outside hitter/libero Nicole Vanderploeg, one of three Zias seniors. “We just kind of dropped the ball in the third game.”
Neither team led by more than four points in the third game. ENMU opened a 5-2 lead, then fell behind 18-14. The Zias got as close as 24-23 on a kill from senior Vanessa Wilcox, but after a timeout Kristen Chancellor’s kill put the game away for Kingsville.
The Zias quickly led 4-0 in the second set, but Kingsville came back to tie on Chancellor’s kill and neither