Zias hope to change fortunes

CMI staff

PORTALES — Sia Poyer knows Eastern New Mexico University well, having graduated from the school and served as an assistant volleyball coach for 14 years.

Poyer, who has spent the past eight seasons at Valdosta (Ga.) State, is determined to get the Zias back on track.

His work is definitely cut out.

Since losing in the NCAA Division II regional final at Nebraska-Kearney in 2004, the Zias have gone just 55-184 (.230) over the past eight seasons. In Lone Star Conference play, they are a stunning 10-99 (.092), with three winless seasons and three others with just one victory.

Poyer, married to former ENMU volleyball and basketball standout Jennifer Goble, missed all of that. During his time as an assistant under Mike Maguire, the Zias were 187-81.

He’s not paying any attention to the team’s recent history.

“I don’t really look at it that way,” he said. “Most of the kids are JC (junior college) transfers, so they’ve only been here for a year.

“We have our team goals. We want to get to the conference tournament and win a conference championship.”

ENMU opens the 2013 campaign with four matches this weekend in a tournament at Midwestern State.

The Zias return three starters from last year’s 6-24 squad (1-19 LSC) in senior libero Hayley Couch, senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Maddams and junior setter Kennedi Catero. Also back is senior middle blocker Bree Lucero of Fort Sumner, who saw only limited action last season.

Lindsey Barron, who led the team in kills last season, is being redshirted after playing through a nagging shoulder injury last year.

Among the transfers are setter Karra Day and middle blocker Agatha Gibbons, both juniors who came from New Mexico Military, and junior outside hitter Alix Russell.

Freshmen include outside hitters Lauren Frye and Courtney Lawson, libero/defensive specialist Lindsey Bost, setter Tiana Roebuck and outside hitter Zeinah Lemusu, who had a medical redshirt last year.

Poyer spurred a Valdosta State program coming off back-to-back four-win seasons. He posted a 112-119 record, capped by three winning seasons.

Why take on the ENMU challenge?

“It’s my alma mater, (and) we had some significant success here,” he said. “The (ENMU) volleyball program was a huge part of my life.

“I want to be successful, win a conference championship and get to the NCAA (tournament).”