Earlier this summer, Eastern New Mexico University volleyball coach Mike Maguire might have been ready to predict a big season for the Zias.
Then injuries and a couple of defections hit. Now, the projections are a bit lower.
“A winning record,” Maguire said when asked what would constitute success. “That might be asking a lot, but I think we’ve got some good kids. The plan was looking great (before the personnel losses).”
It would be a big accomplishment for a program which has struggled to a 30-121 record over the past five years after Maguire led them to 16 consecutive winning campaigns (1989-2004).
The Zias left on Thursday for Canyon, Texas, and the season-opening West Texas A&M Classic. They face Dallas Baptist and St. Edward’s today, and Lubbock Christian and Western State (Colo.) on Saturday.
Maguire coached the Zias for 20 seasons (1987-06) before giving up those duties to spend fulltime on his roll as athletics director. He now is concentrating on the volleyball program, which went 16-75 record in three seasons under Kim Falkenhagen and currently has a 38-match losing streak in Lone Star Conference/LSC South competition.
He’s happy to be back.
“We’ve regrouped,” said Maguire, who led ENMU to 16 consecutive winning seasons (1989-2004) and has a 392-269 record at the school. “This is a perfect situation. I get to do it my way, which is nice.”
The Zias return six players who saw extensive action last year when ENMU finished 6-22 (0-12 LSC). They include senior setter Veronica Valdez-Kent of Canyon; senior defensive specialist Grace Brandt of Dumas, Texas; senior setter Karen McIntyre of Houston; sophomore right-side hitter Megan Carpenter of Friendswood, Texas; junior middle blocker-outside hitter Jessica King of Las Cruces, and senior libero Dallas Russell of Portales.
Top newcomers, all junior college transfers, are sophomore outside hitter Amber Durand of Onalaska, Wash., and junior middle blockers Kristen Beck of Odessa, Texas and Stacey Main of Alturas, Calif.
Coach: Mike Maguire (1st year, also coached from 1987-2006)
2009 record: 6-22 (0-12 Lone Star Conference)
September: 3-4 — at West Texas A&M Classic (3 vs. Dallas Baptist, 8 a.m., and St. Edward’s, 12:30 p.m.; 4 vs. Lubbock Christian, 8 a.m., and Western State, 12:30 p.m.); 7 — at Oklahoma Panhandle State, 6 p.m.; 10-11 — at New Mexico Highlands Cowgirl Classic (10 vs. Johnson & Wales, 9 a.m., and Southwestern Oklahoma, 3 p.m.; 11 vs. Fort Hays State, 9 a.m., and New Mexico Highlands, 1 p.m.); 16 — Texas Woman’s, 7 p.m.-x; 18 — Texas A&M-Commerce, 2 p.m.-x; 23 — at Central Oklahoma, 6 p.m.-x; 25 — at Southwestern Oklahoma, 1 p.m.-x; 28 — Texas-Permian Basin, 7 p.m.
October: 1-2 — at Texas-Permian Basin tournament (1 vs. Fort Hays State, 2 p.m., and Texas-Permian Basin, 6 p.m.; 2 vs. Oklahoma Panhandle State, 5 p.m.); 7 — Midwestern State, 7 p.m.-x; 9 — Cameron, 7 p.m.-x; 12 — Oklahoma Panhandle State, 7 p.m; 14 — at East Central, 6 p.m.-x; 16 — at Southeastern Oklahoma, 1 p.m.-x; 21 — Texas A&M-Kingsville, 7 p.m.-x; 23 — Incarnate Word, 7 p.m.-x; 26 — West Texas A&M, 7 p.m.-x; 30 — at Tarleton State, 1 p.m.-x.
November: 2 — New Mexico Highlands, 7 p.m.; 4 — at Angelo State, 6 p.m.-x; 6 — at Abilene Christian, 1 p.m.-x.
All times Mountain. x-Denotes Lone Star Conference matches.