08/31/05 — Falcons pound Wilson Fike

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Falcons pound Wilson Fike

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 31, 2005 2:11 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Although the high school volleyball season is less than two weeks old, the one main characteristic -- senior leadership -- every coach seeks finally surfaced for one team Tuesday afternoon.

Disgruntled with letting a six-point lead evaporate and nearly losing the opening set, the Charles B. Aycock seniors expressed their disappointment with their younger teammates. The message didn't fall on deaf ears.

The Golden Falcons conquered their sluggish start with consistent play offensively and defensively, and turned back Wilson Fike 25-23, 25-12, 25-15. Aycock remained unbeaten in two outings, while the Golden Demons exited 0-4.

"We didn't play with a lot of energy in the first game and when we don't play with energy, we start making mistakes," said Aycock coach Davis Harris. "They fed off our mistakes and we survived game one.

"We responded well in game two with a lot more energy. I give that (credit) to my seniors for getting everyone pumped up in the huddle (and) that carried over onto the court."

Fike coach Felicia Battle, who has three seniors on her team, alluded to the leadership as well. Whenever the Golden Demons attempted a comeback and seemed to grab momentum, they'd make an unforced error to give the Golden Falcons another opportunity to pull away.

Battle lamented that no one stepped up to take charge.

"I really think all we're missing is that spark from senior leadership," said Battle. "If my seniors can believe (we can win), it will trickle down to everyone else.

"We played some amazing volleyball, digging out some shots. But we got into the pattern of volleying back and forth, and it didn't work out in our favor."

The opening game featured seven ties and six lead changes. Aycock led 15-9 after the Golden Demons committed a four-hit violation, but quickly watched the advantage disappear.

Fike pulled within 16-13 on kills from Kellen Skinner, Caroline Clark and Leah Mayo off assists from senior setter Dillon Sauls. They eventually tied the game at 17-17 thanks to several unforced Golden Falcon errors and Clark's service ace.

Aycock moved back ahead 20-17 behind Shelly Lancaster's off-speed hit, Kandace Burroughs' kill and Julia Lancaster's service ace. Fike continued its scrappy play defensively and forged ties at 20-20, 21-21, 22-22 and 23-23.

A ball-handling error and Angela Lane's ace closed out the opening set 25-23 in the Golden Falcons' favor.

Fike never recovered.

"We ran out of gas and believing we could do it," said Battle. "You saw the body language, but I'm still encouraged. A substitution here or there ... they're playing better."

The Golden Demons encountered several lulls in its rotation in games two and three. Battle's team also stopped defending the net and dropped back to cover the middle floor area.

That allowed the Golden Falcons to watch the ball, especially on transition plays, and set their offense in motion. Burroughs flourished with eight of her match-high nine kills in games two and three combined. Setters Julia Lancaster, Christina Scarcella and Amy Fryt teamed up for 23 assists.

Aycock's defense recorded 45 digs and got solid play from liberos Garrett Forrest and Fryt.

Laura Thigpen emerged the top server with seven aces.

"We served well today," said Harris, whose team had 18 aces overall. "We've got some good servers and I've got confidence in them. The floor coverage was good after the first game. We started moving our feet and quit making mistakes like we did in the first game.

"We had one stretch we got a little sluggish (in game three), but we played our way out of it. We finished up with energy."

Aycock entertains Princeton at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Notes: The Golden Falcons lost six seniors, including four starters, to graduation. ... Burroughs and Lancaster started last year and Jazzmine Lee played mostly back row. ... Aycock has just six non-conference games on its schedule -- two each with Fike, Clayton and Princeton. ... Princeton coach Trudy Rast, a former Aycock athlete, is 0-2 against her alma mater.