LAWTON, Okla. — Eliminated by Abilene Christian in the semifinals of the Lone Star Conference volleyball tournament, the Eastern New Mexico University volleyball team now turns its attention to a possible Southwest Region tournament berth.
Lone Star Conference South Division champion ACU pulled away for a 26-30, 33-31, 30-23, 30-17 win over the Zias Friday to move into the finals against host and North Division champion Cameron.
On Saturday night, ACU captured the tourney title with a 30-18, 30-25, 30-23 rout of the Aggies.
ENMU (24-8) entered the weekend ranked sixth in the region, and still appears to be in good shape for a berth in the three-day, eight team regional. The event will be played at Nebraska-Kearney or Fort Hays State (Kan.), beginning either Thursday or Friday.
Senior middle blocker Emilie Rodman had 14 kills and six block assists and senior outside hitter Anna Bellum added 10 kills and 13 digs, but after controlling the first game the Zias (24-8) saw their play steadily fall off.
“We didn’t pass very well tonight, and that probably determined the outcome,” ENMU coach Mike Maguire said. “We played pretty well in the first game, but we looked a little sluggish, I thought.”
ENMU led 10-3 in Game 1 behind two kills from Bellum and a kill and a service ace by junior Lindsay Schiely, and stayed in control the rest of the way. The Zias inched ahead 30-29 in a seesaw second game, but ACU pulled it out on a kill by Michelle Bernhart and a service ace by Ashlee Motola.
The third game was tied 16-16, but Bernhardt’s kill started a game-ending 8-2 run for the Wildcats. The Zias led 7-4 and 9-8 in the fourth game before ACU went on a 7-0 run with two aces from Liz Snoddy and steadily pulled away.
Bernhardt compiled 18 kills and 11 digs for the Wildcats, while Motola added 15 digs and Abbie Lowry and Amanda Slate each had 11. ACU had a 10-4 edge in service aces, led by Snoddy with five.
Abilene Christian 3, ENMU 1
ENMU 30 31 23 17
Abilene Christian 26 33 30 30
Kills — Eastern New Mexico, Emilie Rodman 14, Anna Bellum 10. Abilene Christian, Michelle Bernhardt 18, Ashlee Motola 15, Abbie Lowry 11, Amanda Slate 11. Block solos — Eastern New Mexico, none. Abilene Christian, Sophia Kindred 1, Slate 1. Block assists — Eastern New Mexico, Grace George 7, Rodman 6, Lindsay Schiely 2. Abilene Christian, Slate 8, Bernhardt 4, Lowry 4, Kindred 3, Motola 2. Set assists — Eastern New Mexico, Amber McCarthy 24, Margie Goble 18. Abilene Christian, Lindsey Martin 55. Digs — Eastern New Mexico, Jessica Weeks 17, Kelley McGinty 14, Bellum 13, Olivia Boan 11. Abilene Christian, Kellen Morrow 13, Bernhardt 11, Liz Snoddy 11. Aces — Eastern New Mexico, McCarthy 2, McGinty 1, Schiely 1. Abilene Christian, Snoddy 5, Martin 3, Motola 1, Malia Plumlee 1. Records — Eastern New Mexico 24-8, Abilene Christian 27-7. T — 1:45. A — 175.
At Lawton Oklahoma
(Seeds in parentheses)
Eastern New Mexico (3S) def. Central Oklahoma (2N) 30-26, 30-28, 16-30, 30-12
Angelo State (2S) def. Texas Woman’s (3N) 29-31, 30-15, 30-28, 30-22
Abilene Christian (1S) def. Eastern New Mexico 26-30, 33-31, 30-23, 30-17
Cameron (1N) def. Angelo State 30-21, 21-30, 30-22, 30-24
Abilene Christian def. Cameron 30-18, 30-25, 30-23