By Dave Wagner
The table is set for the Eastern New Mexico University volleyball team.
Coming off five-game matches on the road against their three toughest foes to begin Lone Star Conference South Division play, the Zias now have a chance to put together a solid streak.
ENMU shook off a bit of a sluggish start Thursday night to methodically dispatch Texas A&M-Kingsville 30-22, 30-20, 30-22 at Greyhound Arena, kicking off a run of five consecutive home games in the division.
Outside hitter Kelley McGinty posted team highs of 11 kills and 14 digs as the Zias (17-5, 2-2 South) struggled a bit coming off a 2 1/2-hour win at rival West Texas A&M on Tuesday night, ending a 23-match losing streak against the Lady Buffs.
ENMU hosts last-place Tarleton State at 2 p.m. Saturday, then gets a chance to avenge losses to Abilene Christian and Angelo State next weekend.
“We didn’t play to our potential, but we played well enough to win,” said McGinty, a senior from Longview, Wash. “Next weekend is going to be a real test for us against Angelo and Abilene. Hopefully, we can get some good fan support.”
Kingsville (7-16, 1-3), with a roster comprised of five freshmen, one junior and two seniors, showed flashes against the Zias but couldn’t sustain it for long periods. The Javelinas faded in the third game as the Zias worked their subs in.
The Zias put the first game away with a seven-point run off McGinty’s serve, breaking a 20-20 tie. Junior Lindsay Schiely had three kills in that stretch.
“We played well up to 20 points, and then we made a couple of errors,” fifth-year Javs coach Jane Kieschnick said. “Eastern is scrappy; they’re not going to let a ball hit the floor.
“We made some ‘young’ mistakes. We just made too many hitting errors, and defensively we didn’t block.”
The Zias probably had every reason to be tired from Tuesday night. Coming back from Canyon, they got a call from the ENMU cross country team, which had bus problems while on the way back from a meet at Angelo State.
They detoured to pick up their compatriots and didn’t get back to Portales until 5 a.m., ENMU coach Mike Maguire said.
Add to that the notion that, on paper, Kingsville didn’t figure to be much of a test.
“You try to block those things out, but it is hard,” McGinty acknowledged. “These are the teams that’ll sneak up and bite you.”
Maguire said that while the late night on Tuesday probably had some carryover affect, the Zias generally played well.
“I thought (setters) Margie (Goble) and Amber (McCarthy) did a pretty good job tonight,” Maguire said. “I’m feeling good (about the team’s position in the division race). If we can just get a little better each match, I’ll feel really good.”
For Kingsville, 6-foot-1 freshman middle blocker Sarah Rauschuber had 11 kills and two block solos. But the Javs had nearly as many attack errors (34) as kills (36).
“We’ve got to become mentally tougher and be able to suck it up,” Kieschnick said. “At this level, you can’t get by on just athletic ability.
“If we can keep our core of freshmen together and continue to learn, I think we’re going to become good.”
ENMU 3, Texas A&M-Kingsville 0
Texas A&M-Kingsville 22 20 22
ENMU 30 30 30
Kills — Texas A&M-Kingsville, Sarah Rauschuber 11, Shaday Smith 9. Eastern New Mexico, Kelley McGinty 11, Anna Bellum 10, Lindsay Schiely 9. Block solos — Texas A&M-Kingsville Rauschuber 2, Heidi Scheopner 1. Eastern New Mexico, Grace George 1, Emilie Rodman 1, Schiely 1. Block assists — Texas A&M-Kingsville, Tenesha Marsh 3, Scheopner 2. Eastern New Mexico, George 7, Rodman 4. Set assists — Texas A&M-Kingsville, Natalie Walther 30. Eastern New Mexico, Margie Goble 19, Amber McCarthy 15. Digs — Texas A&M-Ki8ngsville, Leslie petros 14, Kellie O’Leary 10, Walther 10. Eastern New Mexico, McGinty 14, Jessica Weeks 11. Aces — Texas A&M-Kingsville, Scheopner 2, Smith 2, O’Leary 1, Rauschuber 1. Eastern New Mexico, Olivia Boan 1, McGinty 1, Schiely 1. Records — Texas A&M-Kingsville 7-16 (1-3), Eastern New Mexico 17-5 (2-2). T — 1:24. A — 179.