Freedom New Mexico
It looked like a match that Eastern New Mexico University, mired in a long Lone Star Conference losing streak, could win.
Unfortunately for the Zias, Southwestern Oklahoma was having none of it.
The Mustangs, mired in their own seven-match losing streak, fought off ENMU challenges in each of the first two games and then nailed down a 25-21, 28-26, 25-17 victory over the Zias Saturday afternoon at Greyhound Arena.
The loss was the 38th in a row against LSC competition for the Zias (5-16, 0-6 LSC), dating to a five-game win over Angelo State on Sept. 30, 2006 at Greyhound Arena.
Emily Walter had 11 kills and Jenny Naramore added nine kills and four total blocks for Southwestern (5-22, 2-4).
The Zias fell behind early in all three sets — 5-1 in the first, 7-1 in the second and 6-1 in the third. They mounted comebacks in each of the first two games, but went down quietly in the third.
Freshman Madison Rhoades had eight kills and seven digs for the Zias. Sophomore Jessica King added seven kills and two blocks (one solo), while senior Caitlin Murphy compiled 15 digs.
The Zias pulled ahead 17-15 with four consecutive points in the first game, but the Mustangs closed on a 7-2 run that included kills by Kristen Kaufman and Megan Longoria.
ENMU rallied in the second game for a 16-15 lead on a Southwestern attack error. They led twice more by a point, including 25-24 on an ace by Karen McIntyre, but kills by Naramore and Walter put the Mustangs back in front.
After a service error tied the match at 26, two ENMU attack errors gave the game to Southwestern.
In the third game, the Zias cut their early deficit to 8-6, but Southwestern scored the next four points and ENMU never got closer than four points after that.
ENMU hits the road next week for conference outings at Midwestern State on Thursday and at Cameron on Saturday.