Cowgirls riding 3-match win streak

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Mullen hits 50 kills over weekend road trip

By Dave Kavanaugh

She wasn’t playing blackjack, and she was a long way from Vegas — either one — but Darian Mullen’s 21 proved to be a winning number Saturday night.

Mullen swatted down 21 kills in a whopping 54 attacks with just six errors for a .278 attack percentage, leading New Mexico Highlands to a 3-2 win at Chadron State this past Saturday in Chadron, Neb.

The victory extended Highlands’ winning streak to three matches, tying the team’s longest.

The Cowgirls, playing in their second season under Bryan Crawford, have surpassed last fall’s overall win total and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference record at 10-10 and 4-7, respectively. Nine matches still remain in the regular season.

Mullen, who added eight digs and two solo blocks to her stat line, continues a midseason flourish. Onetime Robertson High star Jazmine Harge added 10 kills, and Bailey Weidner had nine.

Jessica Piper led the Cowgirls in digs with 30, and Tarissa Mellin and Lexis Satele split setting duties, collecting 20 and 16 assists, respectively.

Still searching for their first RMAC win, the Eagles (3-16, 0-10) put up a fight. NMHU won the first set 25-20, but Chadron stormed back to take the next two, 25-22 and 25-22.

Highlands put together its best hitting effort of the evening in game four, committing just five errors in taking the set 25-17. The Cowgirls trailed 2-0 in that one before mounting a run of seven straight points. A Daisy Gonzales service ace gave NMHU a 10-3 lead and it got no closer than four after that.

Then in the winner-take-all game five, the visitors pulled out a 15-10 decision. The game was knotted up at 8-8; then Mullen had three kills and Piper two aces in Highlands’ match-clinching 7-2 run.

The previous night, NMHU went the distance in a 3-2 verdict at Black Hills State in Spearfish, S.D.

Four Cowgirls finished in double digits in the kill ledger. Mullen racked up 29 and hit a scorching .455. Harge had 16 and Moreno 15 with 14 digs. Weidner  chipped in 11 kills and 16 digs. Mellin notched 72 assists and Piper had a team-best 18 digs.