LSC co-title in football highlights ENMU's year
link File photo: Josh Lucero
ENMU’s Kevin Reaves dodges a tackle from Midwestern State’s Greg Saladino on a fourth-quarter punt return during the Greyhounds’ 40-21 win over the Mustangs on Nov. 9 at Greyhound Stadium.
Highlighted by a co-championship in Lone Star Conference football, Eastern New Mexico University’s men’s teams posted winning records in four sports during the 2013-14 school year.
In addition to football, the Greyhounds also posted winning records in soccer, basketball and baseball.
The Zias, meantime, weren’t as fortunate. ENMU women’s teams had sub.-500 marks in basketball, soccer, volleyball and softball, sneaking into the LSC postseason tournament in eighth place in the nine-team basketball league but finishing in the cellar in the other three sports.
FootballHow they fared: 7-3 overall , 5-1 in Lone Star Conference. Tied for league title with Tarleton State. Season review: ENMU finished the season with six straight wins to complete its first winning season since 2004 under second-year coach Josh Lynn. In the process, the Greyhounds earned a share of Lone Star Conference title for the first time since 1991. Included in the win streak were wins in which ENMU rallied from a 28-0 deficit to beat Angelo State 29-28 and a 21-point deficit to beat nationally-ranked West Texas A&M 39-38. Noteworthy: ENMU outscored its opponents 181-81 in the second half, never allowing more than 12 points while holding seven opponents to seven points or fewer. Tarleton State was the only opponent to outscore ENMU (10-7) in the final 30 minutes. Go figure: 17 — Greyhounds who scored a touchdown, led by senior running back Christian Long with 11.
Men’s soccerHow they fared: 9-5-4 overall as an independent Season review: Buoyed by a mid-season, seven-game unbeaten streak, the Greyhounds finished with a winning record for the fourth time in five years. On the year, the Greyhounds allowed just 24 goals, the second-fewest in team history. Noteworthy: Kal Herbert, a four-year starter from Willaston, England, led the Hounds with seven goals en route to being named to the Daktronics all-South Central Region. Go figure: 53 — Career wins for head coach Harold Munoz in six seasons. His career record is 53-40-16.
Women's soccerHow they fared: 4-8-5 overall, last in the Lone Star Conference at 1-5-4. Season review: The good news is the Zias took 10 teams into overtime, which tied the NCAA Division II record set by Newberry College in 2007. The bad news is Zias were 0-5-5 in those games, including four overtime losses in their last eight matches. The Zias were stingy on defense, allowing two or less goals in all but their season opener, a 3-2 loss to Regis in — you guessed it — double overtime. Conversely, ENMU struggled to score and was shut out eight times . Noteworthy: Junior Maurisa Jones tied for fifth in the conference in goals with five while junior Alyxandra Ortiz led the conference in save percentage (.865). By the numbers: 1.02 — Goals against scoring average — second-best in team history.
VolleyballHow they fared: 8-20 overall, eighth in the Lone Star Conference at 4-12. Lost in the first round of the conference tournament to West Texas A&M. Season review: In a season of small gains under first-year coach Sia Poyer, ENMU reached the LSC tournament for the first time since 2004. Led by LSC freshman of the year Lauren Frye, the Zias posted their second-most wins in a season since 2006. The Zias finished the season with three wins in their last five home matches after a 1-10 start at Greyhound Arena. Noteworthy: In November, the Zias beat Midwestern State for the first time since Sept. 27, 2004, ending a 12-match losing streak. It was also the first time ENMU won consecutive road matches in conference play since 2004. By the numbers: 5.48 — Conference-best digs per game by ENMU senior libero Hayley Couch.
Cross countrySeason review: The Greyhounds finished a distant second to West Texas A&M in the Lone Star Conference meet. Kaspers Briska was fifth and Mikey Davila sixth for the Hounds. Davila advanced to the NCAA championship, where he finished 54th.
The Zias finished fourth in the LSC meet, with Bayleigh Baker the top finished in eighth place. Sabrina Huelga was the top finisher in the South Central meet in 36th place.
Men’s basketballHow they fared: 14-13 overall, finished tied for fifth in the Lone Star Conference with a 7-7 mark. Lost in the opening round of the LSC tournament to Texas A&M-Commerce. Season review: The Hounds hovered around the .500 mark most of the season until ripping off three wins in a row in mid-January to move to 12-8. ENMU lost five of its last seven games, including a gut-wrenching 74-73 setback to Texas A&M-Commerce in the first round of the conference tournament. ENMU lost a five-point lead in the game’s final minute. One of the highlights was a 94-63 rout of rival West Texas A&M in the final game of the regular season. Noteworthy: The Hounds never won more than three games or lost three games in a row during the season. ... Head coach Andrew Helton unexpectedly resigned in April after five seasons, including leading the Hounds to the LSC tournament the last four. Assistant coach Stott Carter will serve as interim coach next season. Go figure: 9 — Seniors on the team, including all-conference guard Rodney Blackmon, who led the Hounds in scoring in each of his two seasons at ENMU.
Women’s basketballHow they fared: 6-20 overall, last in the Lone Star Conference with 4-12 mark. Season review: The Zias had a rough start to the season and an even rougher finish under first-year coach Joshua Prock. After starting the season with six losses, the Zias went 6-8 from late November to late January — including starting league play 4-1. After a 90-76 win over Texas A&M-Commerce on Jan. 22, the Zias ended the season 0-12. The Zias shot just under 38 percent form the field, including 22.3 percent from 3-point range. Noteworthy: Seven players averaged at least 5.5 points per game, led by junior transfer Tori Tucker of Floyd at 11.5 ppg. Go figure: 6 — players on the roster of 12 from eastern New Mexico.
BaseballHow they fared: 26-24 overall, tied for fourth in the Lone Star Conference at 15-20. Lost out to Angelo State on a head-to-head tie-breaker for the fourth and final spot in the conference tournament. Season review: The Greyhounds rode the LSC’s second-best hitting team (.304) to their first winning season since 2000, and only their fourth in program history. Honorable mention all-America outfielder Matthew Burks paced a Hounds offense that averaged almost six run a game. After losing 10 of its first 14 conference games, ENMU was a game over .500 over its next 21 LSC games and were still in the hunt for a spot in the four-team conference tournament until the second to last game. Noteworthy: Burks led ENMU with a .384 batting average, 71 hits, 50 runs, 116 total bases and 10 home runs. Go figure: 0.00 — Senior reliever Kyle Kesmarki’s earned run average. He appeared in 10 games, going 1-0 with two saves while pitching 10 2/3 innings. He allowed four hits, struck out 11 and walked three.
SoftballHow they fared: 15-40 overall, last in the Lone Star Conference at 3-24. Season review: The Zias are in a rebuilding mode, going 68-194 the last five seasons. ENMU split its first 12 games under first-year coach Kristen Soukup. After winning its conference opener, ENMU lost its next 22 league game before ending the season by splitting a four-game series with Texas A&M-Kingsville. The Zias were last in the league with a 6.52 earned run average, with Zias pitchers allowing 54 home runs. Noteworthy: Nine Zias batted over .300, with junior Marleyna Pinon leading the way at .351. ... Shelby Ripple led the team with five home runs. ... The Zias set a conference record with five triples at Oklahoma Panhandle. Go figure: 47 — Sacrifice bunts by the Zias, a conference high.
TrackSeason review: Senior Isaiah Samoei of Eldoret, Kenya, placed fifth in the 10,000 meters and 13th in the 5,000 meters at the NCAA Division II track and field championships. Samoei finished third in the men’s 5,000 meters at the NCAA indoor track meet with an ENMU-record time of 14:10.39.
The men finished eighth in the Lone Star Conference meet, although they did have individual champions in Samoei (5,000 meters) and Briska (3,000 steeplechase).
The Zias finished seventh in the nine team LSC meet. Junior Alesha Jones finished second in the 800 meters for the Zias.
Noteworthy: Samoei has competed in five NCAA championship meet events, won six LSC Championship meet events and earned three All-America honors in track and field over his career at ENMU.
— Compiled by Rick White