Cowgirls end Zias’ winning streak at five

CNJ staff

LAS VEGAS, N.M. — Junior middle blocker Sarah Dirmeyer had 24 kills and freshman outside hitter Darian Mullen and sophomore outside hitter Ashley Nugent both compiled double-doubles as New Mexico Highlands edged Eastern New Mexico University 25-15, 13-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-11 Saturday in the Cowgirls’ invitational tournament, ending the Zias’ longest winning streak in nearly six years.

ENMU, which finished 3-1 in the two day event, had won five in a row — their longest since late in the 2004 season — after defeating Fort Hays State 25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18 earlier on Saturday.

Dirmeyer had three kills to stake the Cowgirls (3-5) to a 5-2 lead in the fifth set. ENMU closed to 11-10 on a kill by sophomore outside hitter Amber Durand and a Highlands attack error, but with the score 13-11 Mullen and Dirmeyer converted kills to end it.

Mullen had 14 kills and 10 digs and Nugent 10 kills and 10 digs for NMHU. The Zias got 14 kills from junior middle blocker Kristen Beck, 12 kills and 10 digs from sophomore outside hitter Amber Durand and 12 kills from sophomore outside hitter Megan Carpenter, while senior setter Veronica Valdez-Kent collected 36 assists.

ENMU 3, Fort Hays State 1 — Junior Kristen Beck had 14 kills and four aces, while sophomore Amber Durand posted a double-double with 12 kills and 14 digs as the Zias extended their winning streak to five by beating the Lady Tigers (2-5).

Fort Hays pulled out a second-game win to square the match, but the Zias held on in the third game after taking the lead for good at 18-17 on a kill by junior Stacey Main. ENMU scored the first three points in the fourth game and never relinquished the lead to close out the match.

Senior Veronica Valdez-Kent added seven digs and 37 assists for ENMU. Makayla McPhale had 13 kills and Tracie Hileman collected 12 kills, 14 digs and three aces for the Lady Tigers.