Aycock suffers first loss of season in Deep Run
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 27, 2004 2:00 PM
DEEP RUN -- South Lenoir avenged its only loss thus far this season and handed the Charles B. Aycock volleyball team its first defeat of 2004 on Thursday evening at Munn Gymnasium.
Senior outside hitter Kari Ham provided 17 kills as the Blue Devils outlasted the Golden Falcons 25-17, 21-25, 25-23, 15-25, 16-14. South Lenoir improved to 5-1 overall, while Aycock departed 3-1 and remained winless on the Devils' court for three consecutive years.
"After the first game, I thought it was a great match," said Aycock coach Davis Harris. "We're still young and we're still learning -- a team with a lot of inexperience. We showed a lot of character coming back, I think, on the road.
The two teams combined for 90 kills and nearly the same number of digs defensively in the two-hour, 30-minute battle. Each team played to its strength and smartly capitalized on each other's mistakes, especially in the service game.
The Golden Falcons played well in spurts in the opening game, but struggled with their serve receive. Ham's kill off Ashley Heath's assist started a 10-5 run that included two aces from Crystal Hardison, and two more kills and an ace from Ham.
Aycock also committed four errors during that stretch.
South Lenoir, of the Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference, jumped ahead in the second game. The Golden Falcons rallied and claimed a 14-13 lead on back-to-back hitting errors by the Blue Devils.
Lindsey Newman provided two kills and Chrissy Setliff played strong at the net as Aycock increased its advantage to 21-17. Smith changed her team's offensive strategy at that point and started showing a middle-hit attack.
"My girls really didn't hit it where I wanted them to hit," veteran South Lenoir coach Lisa Smith said. "Nicole (Corn) did and the other girls did once in a while, but they were leaving one spot (left line) open all night long.
"But we used the middle when we had to."
The movement bothered the Golden Falcons' defense as Molly Pollock hammered consecutive kills off Heath assists. Jenny Jackson stopped the 4-0 run with a kill off Julia Lancaster's assist, and closed out the game with a pass that dropped near the backline.
Ham came alive in the third game with two aces in a three-point span and two kills off Heath assists. The offensive surged helped the Blue Devils seize a 14-8 lead. Aycock rallied to within 15-13 before Ham delivered three kills in a six-point stretch, giving South Lenoir a 21-16 lead.
"Ham killed us again," Harris said. "She's a good player and she really knows how to bring it. I think she was even better tonight than she was the other night.
"Her hits are tough to dig. We need to work on our digs a little bit better."
The Golden Falcons climbed within 22-21 on Setliff's ace, but could get no closer. Nicole Corn, a senior middle hitter, dumped an offspeed hit to change the game's momentum. She added consecutive middle kills off Heath assists to give the Devils a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five match.
Aycock built as much as a 12-point lead in the fourth game. Karlie West served a pair of aces, junior outside hitter Kandace Burroughs and Newman each contributed three kills.
Ham connected on back-to-back kills as the Devils fought off two game points. The Golden Falcons' Stephanie Ballance tied the match at 2-2 with a soft hit after Jazzmine Lee had dug a monster kill attempt by Ham.
The final game featured 10 ties and 10 lead changes. Each team capitalized off the other's mistakes with the most-crucial plays occurring in the final stages.
Pollock slammed a kill to the backline that bounced off an Aycock defender and hit the roof. Burroughs gave the Golden Falcons their last lead at 13-12 on a kill off Lancaster's assist.
Two hitting errors and Ham's slam off another Heath assist closed the door on Aycock, which was playing its first road game of the season. Heath finished with 21 assists.
"We just made a couple of less mistakes than they did," Smith said of the final game.
Lancaster handed out a match-high 23 assists, while Setliff added 12. Newman emerged the Golden Falcons' kill leader with 15, followed by Burroughs (12) and Jackson (9). Eight different Aycock players had at least one kill.
"We played a good team. We got beat by a good team," Harris said. "I haven't won down here, but I'm coming back. We're going to win one eventually."
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