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Zias roll past Highlands in home finale

Freedom New Mexico

Junior middle blocker Kristen Beck had 17 kills and sophomore outside hitter Amber Durand had 16 kills and nine digs Tuesday night as Eastern New Mexico University closed the home portion of its volleyball schedule with a 25-13, 24-26, 25-20, 25-18 win over New Mexico Highlands at Greyhound Arena.

The Zias (13-14) finish their schedule with Lone Star Conference matches Thursday at Angelo State and Saturday at Abilene Christian.

Junior middle blocker Jessica King added 11 kills, while sophomore libero Dallas Russell had 21 digs and three of ENMU’s seven aces and senior setter Veronica Valdez-Kent posted 49 assists and 15 digs.

The Zias have an all-time mark of 44-21-1 against the Cowgirls, including 20-4 at Greyhound Arena.

ENMU jumped on Highlands (4-22) quickly in the opening set, building a 8-2 lead and never looking back. The Cowgirls never got closer than five points and the Zias closed it out with a 9-2 run featuring three kills from King.

The second set was closely contested. With the score 24-24, the Cowgirls pulled it out on a service error by Durand and an attack error by Beck.

Durand and Beck came back with consecutive kills to pull ENMU even 11-11 in the third set. Another kill by Beck put the Zias in front for good 14-13 and started a 5-1 run that gave them command.

No more than two points separated the teams in the fourth game until Durand’s kill put the Zias ahead 12-11 and started a 4-0 run that ended with a service ace. Highlands got within two, but two kills from Beck and one from King, followed by Grace Brandt’s service ace, pushed the margin to 20-14 and the Zias cruised from there.

Colleen Chauncey, Sarah Dirmeyer and Kelsey Groff had seven kills each for the Cowgirls.