09/09/05 — This time, Aycock spikers emerge victorious

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This time, Aycock spikers emerge victorious

By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on September 9, 2005 2:27 PM

PRINCETON -- Two volleyball teams with hopes of contending for their respective conference titles -- Charles B. Aycock and Princeton -- staged a thriller in their final non-conference tune-up.

Much like their first meeting of the season, it took five sets to decide the outcome. But this time, the Golden Falcons avenged their only loss of the season with a 25-23, 25-22, 20-25, 23-25, 15-6 win at the Bulldogs gymnasium on Thursday.

Aycock improved to 4-1 heading into next Tuesday's contest at Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference newcomer Wilson Beddingfield, which knocked the Falcons out of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association playoffs last season.

"We went five with them (Princeton) last week and came out on the short end," Aycock coach Davis Harris said. "These are two scrappy teams playing each other. I was concerned going into game five what might happen if we didn't pull this one out going into conference.

"We have to start out against the best and we finished up non-conference against the best team we've played so far."

Princeton (2-2) dropped its second-straight non-conference game as it opens its Class 1-A Carolina Conference slate on Tuesday at home against Spring Creek.

"Aycock is a very scrappy team," Princeton coach Trudi Rast said. "They are all over the court and I felt like we played well to hang with them for five games. I saw a lot of good things tonight, but there is still a lot we can work on."

After seeing a 2-0 lead evaporate, Aycock stepped up with the game on the line in the decisive fifth game.

Princeton's Sarah Gibbs, who had a huge game at the net, posted a block to close the Falcon lead to 4-3, but that would be as close as the Bulldogs would get. Behind solid all-around play by Jazzmine Lee, Julia Lancaster and Kandace Burroughs, Aycock won 11 of the final 14 points of the game and match.

With Christina Scarcella at the service line, the Falcons' Kristen Paynter posted the final kill on an assist from Lancaster to close out game five at 15-6.

"I'm telling my team to play to win. I think we played not to lose, especially in game four," Harris said. "We weren't hitting and attacking and we came out in game five and played to win."

Neither team managed much of a big lead in any of the first four games as Aycock's 19-12 advantage in the second set proved to be the biggest margin for either side.

All four games came down to which team had the ability to finish a close battle down the stretch. After claiming the first set 25-23 behind a couple of dazzling saves near the net by Jazzmine Lee late in the game, Aycock opened up a close second set and went up by seven.

Princeton stormed back with Kaitlyn Haddock at the service line, scoring seven straight to make it 19-19 after a miscue by Aycock. The second game saw one more tie at 21-21, before the Falcons closed it out 25-22 when Princeton mishandled a serve.

"The biggest thing I like about this team is they will lay it on the line," Harris said. "Somebody has to play one perfect against this team if it's going to hit the floor."

The third and fourth games proved just as closely contested. The Bulldogs' Kortnie Yutzy served up back-to-back aces to give her team a 14-12 lead in the third as Princeton consistently held off any Aycock comeback attempts. A Princeton kill attempt sailed deep, tying the game at 18-18, but the Bulldogs never trailed or faced a tie again from there as Yutzy served out the final two points of the game to help pull her team within one at 2-1.

Princeton's Kristen Parker served up five points in a row to give her team a 6-0 margin to open the fourth, only to see the Falcons rally to take a 9-8 advantage on a kill by Burroughs. Aycock held the lead for most of the middle stages of the fourth, but couldn't put the scrappy Bulldogs away.

Stephanie Daughtry, who had seven aces, seven kills and 14 digs, put Princeton up 20-19, while teammate Sarah Gibbs, who finished with 15 kills, posted a spike to make it 23-22. Eventually, Jenny Wallace finished off the 25-23 nail-biter with a kill for the Bulldogs -- forcing the fifth and final game.

"We kept fighting. They wanted to stay in it. We had good serves, a lot of passing and a lot of kills," Rast said.

Parker finished with six digs and four aces, while Brittany Rose (16 assists) and Brittany Davis (13 assists) paced the passing game for Princeton.

Harris applauded the effort at libero of Amy Fryt and Garrett Forrest.