10/12/05 — Warriors rally to topple Aycock

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Warriors rally to topple Aycock

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 12, 2005 2:00 PM

Up two sets to none, Charles B. Aycock looked poised to maintain control of its own destiny for the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference's second N.C. High School Athletic Association playoff spot.

Eastern Wayne had other ideas.

On senior night, the Warriors battled all the way back from a 2-0 deficit to claim a dramatic 18-25, 27-29, 25-9, 25-22, 15-6 win in their home gymnasium.

Garrett Forrest

News-Argus/Mitch Loeber

Aycock's Garrett Forrest passes the ball during Tuesday's game.

The outcome creates a dead-lock for that final playoff spot between Eastern Wayne, Aycock and Wilson Hunt with one league game and the conference tournament remaining. If the three teams finished tied, they will draw for conference tournament seeding and the team that advances farthest in the tourney will grab the second spot.

Hunt has a 1/2 game lead over the Warriors and Falcons, both at 5-4 in the ECC, but Hunt still has to face league-unbeaten Wilson Beddingfield on Thursday.

Despite losing the second set 29-27, Eastern Wayne started gaining momentum, before a dominant third-set performance.

With reserve middle hitter Carly Boyette up front, the Warriors raced out to a 10-3 lead. During the early run, Boyette had three kills and one block. With the margin at 12-5, Boyette took serve and served on 11-straight points with three aces during the stretch as the Eastern Wayne lead grew to 22-5.

In a set mired with miscues, an unforced error by Aycock ended the set at 25-9.

"Carly was huge today. I have three, second-string middle hitters and it never fails ... it's whoever is the better that day," Eastern Wayne coach Bruce Burridge said. "Carly was the better today. Whichever one I put in the third game, they come in and tear it up."

The Warriors surged ahead 6-1 in the fourth, but the Falcons bounced back to take a 10-9 advantage after a kill attempt by Eastern Wayne sailed deep. The rest of the fourth was closely contested with neither team leading by more than four.

Deniz Alemdar, one of three Eastern Wayne seniors, served on six-straight points with Boyette providing a kill and a block as the Warriors led 21-18. The two rivals traded serves the rest of the way, before the fourth set ended like the third with an Aycock unforced miscue.

"They put some pressure on us and we total went away from what we were doing in games one and two," Aycock coach Davis Harris said. "We quit moving our feet ... I don't know how to explain it."

Eastern Wayne never trailed in the fifth and final set, keeping the momentum. Boyette and Jasmine McLamb each had an ace in the fifth, while Anna Wilkins delivered two kills. Leanna Rothwell contributed a block on the final point -- sealing the comeback win at 15-6.

"We didn't wake up until halfway through the second, then we got some life," Burridge said. "We don't quit, and for that I give credit to our senior leadership. They do whatever it takes. We get stronger as the game goes on."

Most of the first two sets were back-and-forth battles with the opening two sets featuring 17 ties and seven lead changes. Unlike the final three sets, Aycock seemed to get stronger down the stretch in sets one and two.

The Falcons took the lead in the first set at 16-15 and went on to claim nine of the next 12 points to take the first 25-18. Aycock's Jazzmine Lee and Angela Lane's had two kills each in the final nine points.

Lee came on strong late in the second set again with a tip and a kill down the stretch as the Falcons held on for a 29-27 win.

"We were in the driver's seat for the second spot, but we blew it," Harris said. "We have to win Thursday and hope for the three-way tie."

In their regular-season finales, Eastern Wayne travels to Kinston, while Aycock visits Southern Wayne. The ECC tournament begins Oct. 17 at top-seed Wilson Beddingfield with the top-two teams receiving first-round byes.