09/30/05 — Falcons can't stop unbeaten Bruins

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Falcons can't stop unbeaten Bruins

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 30, 2005 2:04 PM

PIKEVILLE -- That bull's-eye gets bigger each time Beddingfield's volleyball team enters hostile territory, but no adversary has delivered the decisive, killing blow this season.

The Bruins remained unbeaten in 17 outings with a 25-7, 25-7, 22-25, 25-15 victory over Charles B. Aycock in Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference play Thursday afternoon. Beddingfield completed its regular-season sweep of the Golden Falcons and rose to 6-0 in the ECC.

The Golden Falcons (7-4, 3-3) dropped to fourth place with four conference matches remaining. They travel to Kinston next Tuesday and entertain Wilson Hunt in a key league match next Thursday.

"The first game I really think we didn't play too bad, they were just putting it on us," said Aycock coach Davis Harris. "As the score got wider and wider, our feet got slower and slower; and we didn't get to the (loose) balls.

"That carried over into the second game. We felt like we were playing hard, but the score wasn't getting any closer."

Beddingfield played near flawless the first two sets.

The Bruins chased down every loose ball and passed with precision on offense. Senior setter Ashley Davis delivered assists to four players -- outside hitters Kelly Minshew and Barbara DeRatt; and middle hitters October Harris and Jean Best.

Best's 6-foot-4 presence bothered Aycock from time to time, but Harris did the most damage. The 6-foot senior provided a match-high 16 kills to go along with four solo blocks in the four-set affair.

"We started out playing really well, covered the floor well and picked up every ball," said Bruins coach April Filzen.

Tied at 3-3 in the opening set, Beddingfield seized control with a 12-2 run. Harris notched two blocks during that stretch and added two kills off Davis assists.

Best sparked a set-ending 9-0 run with a block against Golden Falcon outside hitter Kandace Burroughs. Davis served an ace and Best delivered three consecutive kills.

DeRatt and Best emerged the leaders during a commanding 7-0 run in the second set. Harris' off-speed hit off Burroughs' blocking error and her block against Jazzmine Lee helped start a 10-1 run.

"October, when she gets hold of one, there is nothing you can do," said coach Harris. "If you're not standing right where she's hitting the ball, there is not a lot you can do with it.

"It's hard to hold it together when that's (big runs) happening. We didn't quit. We pulled it back together."

Aycock capitalized on the Bruins' fatigue in the third set. Beddingfield had just one substitute, while Harris used 15 different players -- 14 in the first two sets combined.

The Bruins raced to a 15-8 lead, but the momentum. Julia Lancaster pounded a kill off a short serve-receive return to begin a 13-3 spurt. Burroughs and Lauren Pratt came up with huge plays at the net, including Pratt's block against the Bruins' Harris on an off-speed hit that appeared headed for midcourt.

Pratt and Harris traded kills before Aycock gained set point at 24-20 on Kristen Paynter's kill down the line. Beddingfield fended off two set points on Minshew's kill and a Harris ace.

But Harris served out on the next point and that forced a fourth set. The Golden Falcons finished with eight kills in the set and minimized their unforced errors.

"I think we just kind of got overconfident in game three. We turned our switch off," said Filzen. "We finally realized that they were ready to play against us and if we wanted to win, we'd have to play together.

"That third game we started playing individually. We had a lot of hitting errors, serving errors ... things that hurt us."

Beddingfield gained an early 7-3 lead in the final set. Aycock closed within 8-7, but three consecutive hitting errors allowed the Bruins to cruise ahead 14-7.

The Golden Falcons battled and kept balls in play, but could never close the gap. Best had several strong plays at the net and Harris capped the Bruins' 17th straight victory with a mid-court kill off Davis' 27th assist of the match.

"Credit us," said coach Harris. "We took the third game and figured out we could play with one of the best the east has to offer. I was very proud of them for that.

"Even in this last game, we made some mistakes, but I felt like we were playing at their level. We need to do that from start. But give Beddingfield credit, they just keep coming at you and coming at you."