Zias fall to Texas Woman’s in four

CNJ staff

DENTON, Texas — Alyson Harlan combined 11 kills, 11 digs and five aces Thursday night to lead Texas Woman’s to a 25-18, 25-14, 20-25, 25-19 victory over Eastern New Mexico University in Lone Star Conference volleyball.

Harlan led a Pioneers serving assault that included 15 total aces against just five service errors. Meantime, the Zias (4-12, 0-3 LSC) managed only four aces.

Junior outside hitter Veronica Valdez-Kent had a match-high 14 aces for the Zias. Sophomore middle blocker Jessica King contributed 12 aces and six block assists.

Texas Woman’s (9-8, 2-1) opened a 5-1 lead in the first set and never trailed. ENMU, though, got out to a 4-1 lead in the second game, helped by two kills from Valdez-Kent and one from King, before Texas Woman’s erased a 7-6 deficit and took the lead for good with a 13-4 charge that was sparked by three consecutive aces from sophomore Hayley Summers, who finished with four aces for the match.

The Zias never trailed in the third game. The set was tied at 6-6 and 8-8 before a kill by freshman middle blocker Megan Longoria put ENMU back in front for good.

Texas Woman’s pulled to within a point twice, but kills by freshman Madison Rhoades and King helped put the Zias back in control, and Valdez-Kent finished it with a kill on set point.

The Pioneers then led all the way in the fourth game except for two ties, the last at 8-8. Summers then put down a kill to start a 4-0 run and Texas Woman’s led by as much as seven points down the stretch.

Freshman Megan Carpenter added nine kills and Rhoades had eight for the Zias. Senior libero Caitlin Murphy had a match-high 25 digs — her sixth consecutive outing with at least 24 digs — while junior setter Karen McIntyre collected 40 assists, eight digs and three block assists.

ENMU continues its road trip with a 1 p.m. conference matchup on Saturday at Texas A&M-Commerce.