Prep volleyball -- CBA drops Blue Devils in four
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on August 19, 2004 1:58 PM
PIKEVILLE -- After losing eight seniors to graduation, Charles B. Aycock's volleyball team passed their first tough test of the season with a 25-21, 16-25, 25-5, 25-17 win over perennially solid South Lenoir.
It surely won't be the Golden Falcons' last test, but coach Davis Harris was pleasantly surprised with his team's ability to battle back after a disappointing second-set loss to the Blue Devils.
"To come back to win 25-5 gives me a lot of hope," he said. "We are inexperienced after losing eight seniors, but our seniors this year kept us picked up, and our new players helped us a lot.
"I'm still worried about our inexperience, but coming back against a good team shows a lot of character."
Aycock, sporting a mixture of upperclassmen, sophomores and freshmen, committed a handful of unforced errors both offensively and defensively in the second as South Lenoir put the set out of reach and tied the match at 1-1.
The third set saw the Golden Falcons battle back in impressive fashion.
With senior Stephanie Ballance at the service line, Aycock posted nine straight points to take a commanding 15-2 lead. Sophomore Eastern Wayne transfer Jazzmine Lee capped the run with a kill.
The Golden Falcons went on to claim the set 25-5 as senior Karlie West served on four consecutive points.
Aycock's serving was particularly strong in the third as Ballance had three aces, while Newman, Chrissy Setliff and West had one ace each. Ballance finished with six aces on the match, while Setliff added five aces.
"We had to serve well, so they couldn't get the ball to her (Kari Ham)," Harris said. "We had to look for the holes, because we've got some girls who can place the ball. Stephanie had a big run, and it looked to me like she was just being smart."
Behind the strength of three kills by the hard-hitting senior Ham, South Lenoir kept the fourth set tight through the early and middle stages. A nicely-placed tip by sophomore Julia Lancaster pushed Aycock ahead 13-11 as Jenny Jackson -- one of six Falcon seniors -- served on three big points.
From there, Aycock -- the defending Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference champs -- never led by less than five and claimed the match-clinching set 25-17.
Senior hitter Lindsey Newman had a strong kill and block down the stretch to help put the game away. Newman had a team-high 13 kills on the game.
In the first set, the Golden Falcons led comfortably in the early going before a trio of unforced errors pushed the Blue Devils ahead 12-11. Despite some big kills by Ham, South Lenoir never led or tied the first set again.
"If she jumps and gets a good set, she's going to put the ball down," Harris said. "She's a good player. I think our serving didn't allow them to get the ball to her as much as they would have liked."
Aycock showed solid balance in the first as Newman and Lancaster had two blocks each, while Ballance had three kills and Lee added two.
"In the first set, we mixed it up," Harris said. "We set the back and the front and tried to keep them off-balance. In the second game, we set the front and forgot about our back."
Much like the first, the second set started tight but quickly got away from Aycock. Ham took serve as South Lenoir built a 13-9 edge after Aycock was whistled for a four-hit violation. The Blue Devils consistently built their lead aided by some unforced errors and what Harris feels was a lack of diversity in the Falcons' attack,
South Lenoir's Nicole Corn delivered back-to-back aces to push her team to a 21-12 margin. Aycock trimmed the lead to 23-15 after an ace by junior Christina Scarsella -- forcing Blue Devil coach Lisa Smith to burn a time out.
The breather seemed to help her team regain composure as it closed the set at 25-16.
Aycock opens defense of its conference title on August 24 against Goldsboro.
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