10/19/05 — Aycock tennis wipes out West Carteret

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Aycock tennis wipes out West Carteret

By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on October 19, 2005 2:18 PM

PIKEVILLE -- When West Carteret tennis coach Craig McClanahan found out who his team's first-round opponent was in the postseason, he knew his Patriots were in serious trouble.

He was right.

In less time than it took West Carteret to take the two-plus hour bus trip to Pikeville, the Charles B. Aycock Falcons sent the Pats back to Morehead City with a 6-0 loss.

"When I saw we got C.B. Aycock, I knew our playoff run was going to be short-lived," said McClanahan, who had numerous battles with the Falcons when West Carteret was in Aycock's conference. "They made it to the Final Four last year, and they're strong as usual -- they're strong and steady throughout the lineup.

"I expect them to go three rounds -- maybe four -- before they get someone who will give them some competition."

The Golden Falcons breezed through all six singles matches, winning all 12 sets while losing a total of just 12 games.

With the outcome of the match decided, the doubles matches were not contested.

"The biggest thing about the first round is everybody's anxious," Aycock coach Luke Vail said. "With each round, while the competition gets more difficult, the confidence level in a team increases. The best thing about today is our players kept their focus and intensity and came out and gave us good, quality play."

Raychel Batts won her first singles match against Courtney Whisler 6-0, 6-1. The junior improved to 20-0 with the triumph.

"As a team, if we're going to do it (advance to the state finals), we need to do it this year," Batts said. "I think we have a good chance."

In second singles, senior Carlyn Claiborne improved to 17-1 with a commanding 6-0, 6-0 win over Mary Charles Hale.

"Carlyn came out and really dominated," Vail said. "She picked up on the fact that her opponent has difficulty returning powerful shots, and she pounded the ball and was on top of her game."

Claiborne said she hopes her final season at C.B. Aycock is a memorable one.

"Since this is my senior year, and since went to the Final Four last year, it'd be great to go out with a bang and go all the way as a team."

Claiborne said in the postseason, consistency is the key to success.

"At this point on the season, either you have it or you don't," she said. "You can't change what you've learned, you just have to step it up even more, do what you've been doing and hope it works. You always have to remember to play your game, not their game."

Senior Nicole Taylor (16-2) won 6-0, 6-2 against Carteret's Maggie Forman in third singles; Laine Purcell (16-3) grabbed a 6-1, 6-1 triumph over Joanna Dodge in fourth singles; Lizzie Sodoma (14-4) beat Kristen Carusos 6-1, 6-4 in fifth singles; and Kristen Prosser (12-2) cruised past Emily Carr in sixth singles, 6-1, 6-1.

"I'm excited," Taylor said. "I think we have a really good chance this year. Personally, I think I played one of my best games today. I was getting a lot of my shots down the line."

"We've had an outstanding season thus far," Vail said with a smile, "but we'd like to accomplish bigger things."