Zias outlast Cowgirls in five sets

Freedom New Mexico

Facing a total of six match points in the fifth set, Eastern New Mexico University’s volleyball team rallied to beat New Mexico Highlands 25-17, 25-22, 24-26, 22-25, 20-18 Tuesday night at Greyhound Arena, ending a seven-match losing streak.

Senior middle blocker Kristen Beck posted a career-high 23 kills for the Zias (6-22), while junior outside hitter Amber Durand and freshman setter Kennedi Catano had season bests with 30 digs and 52 assists, respectively.

Durand also had 17 kills for ENMU, while senior middle blocker Jessica King added 11 kills.

The Zias appeared on their way to a possible three-game sweep, winning the first two sets and leading 19-15 in the third, before the Cowgirls (11-17) rallied.

Except for a 2-2 tie, the Zias trailed the entire fourth set. They got within 24-22 late on a kill by King, but Ashley Nugent finished it for the Cowgirls with a kill.

ENMU ran off the first three points of the fifth set, but Highlands went on a 6-0 run to open a 13-9 lead. Dominique Benton’s kill made it 14-10, but Beck had bookend kills in a 4-0 run that kept the match alive.

With the score 18-18, Durand’s kill gave the Zias the lead for good before Highlands setter Brooke Fahnestock committed a ballhandling error on match point.

Brooke Tuttle led four Cowgirls in double figures in kills with 17, while Sheila Olaechea had 38 digs and Fahnestock posted a double-double with 49 assists and 16 digs.