Aycock takes five-game thriller from South Central
By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 15, 2004 1:56 PM
PIKEVILLE -- The start of the Class 3-A N.C. High School Athletic Association volleyball playoffs may be nearly two weeks away. But, Charles B. Aycock and South Central -- both poised for the postseason -- dueled in a battle with an unquestionable playoff atmosphere on Wednesday in the Golden Falcons' gymnasium.
After falling behind 2-1, Aycock battled back in resilient fashion to claim the final two sets in a thrilling, 25-22, 26-28, 18-25, 25-20, 15-13 win over the visiting Falcons from Winterville.
South Central (15-8, 11-4 Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference) lost its first match in over one month, dating back to a home loss on Sept. 14 to Aycock. The Golden Falcons improved to 15-3 overall and sit in second place in the ECC with a 12-2 mark against conference foes heading into the final week of the regular season.
"You've got to close it out. You don't want to go into the playoffs on the down side," Harris said. "We need to keep the momentum going next week."
With the fourth set deadlocked at 12-12, Aycock's Karlie West took serve and pushed her team out to a 17-12 advantage. West had two aces during the run and finished with seven aces on the game.
Teammate and fellow senior Lindsey Newman posted three of her career-high 19 kills down the stretch in the fourth to help the Golden Falcons continue to stretch their lead -- eventually tying the match at 2-2 with a 25-20 win.
The fifth and decisive set featured five ties and three lead changes. Aycock's Jazzmine Lee's impressive save near the back wall found Newman as she passed over the net to give the home team an 8-5 edge.
South Central battled to take five of the next six points as Emily Perkins' kill put her team up 10-8.
Newman continued to shine, posting five more kills, including three of the final five points. With South Central's M.C. Nelson at the service line, Newman sealed the set and match at 15-13 with one final spike.
"We just got our energy back and we really wanted it," Newman said. "Teamwork is everything. If you don't trust your team, you are nothing. You all have to work together and communicate."
Aycock looked poised to take a 2-0 lead in the match, jumping out to a 23-17 lead in the second set after an ace by West. Quickly, South Central turned the momentum of the set and match by going on the offensive. Stephony Newkirk and Nicole Nunamaker turned in solid play at the net, while the Golden Falcons struggled to generate offense.
South Central went on to outscore Aycock 11-3 and won the second set 28-26.
The visitors used that offensive momentum to jump out to leads of 7-2 and 14-7 in the third set, before the Golden Falcons made a push late in the third. Aycock trailed as much as 22-11 after an unforced error, but rallied to outscore South Central 7-3 in the late stages before eventually falling 25-18.
Despite dropping the set and falling behind 2-1, Harris believes the late charge was key in giving his team confidence going into the final two sets.
"We got a some momentum at the end of game three, and we had a little going into four," Harris said.
The first set saw Aycock take the offensive and benefit from strong serving by Chrissy Setliff. Setliff took serve with her team leading 10-6 and jumped the advantage to 15-6 keyed by two aces. South Central closed to within three, three times later in the first, before Aycock's Jenny Jackson finished off the first set at 25-22 with a kill.
The Golden Falcons close the regular season with a road match at rival Eastern Wayne on Tuesday and a home contest next Thursday with Washington.
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