Golden Falcons suffer first loss
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 31, 2006 1:47 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Inconsistent play led to a roller coaster ride for volleyball teams from Charles B. Aycock and South Johnston on Wednesday afternoon.
The Golden Falcons crashed in the end.
The visiting Trojans rallied from a 2-1 deficit and claimed a 23-25, 25-19, 16-25, 25-19, 15-12 non-conference victory. South Johnston evened its worksheet at 3-3, while C.B. Aycock endured its first defeat in three outings.
"South Johnston, if they were on a run or we were on a run, it didn't matter. They stayed intense and played with energy," said C.B. Aycock head coach Davis Harris. "And when South Johnston got on a little run, we would start backing off and help them set (up) what they wanted to do.
"That was a lack of intensity because things were not going our way."
Davis' observation summarized the final two sets.
C.B. Aycock struggled with its offensive game plan and failed to spread South Johnston's defense to create more scoring chances. Golden Falcon hitters continued sending balls to the same spots and didn't force the Trojans to move any defensively.
Davis urged his team to send balls down the line or toward the back corners, which seemed open a majority of the time. But the Golden Falcons were too content with working the middle, which allowed the Trojans to easily transition from defense to offense and build momentum.
"Our hitters have to do a better job of spreading the court," said Davis. "We were hitting to the same person every single time. We have to make them work; not kill the ball every time because a tip is a kill."
Senior middle hitter Jessica Lockamy started a 6-2 run with a monster kill off Lauren Pratt's block attempt. Lockamy then slammed a short return off an overpass from the Golden Falcons. Aycock answered with a Shelly Lancaster kill and Jazzmine Lee ace, but couldn't keep the serve.
Senior middle hitter Jodi Darden, who provided a match-high 16 kills, followed with back-to-back kills in the middle to make it 18-10.
"You have a certain few who click well together; play well together," said fourth-year Trojans coach Kim Peacock of Lockamy and Darden. "They've got great court awareness. We got back on the same page as a team during the fourth set.
"(Overall) we were just trying to be consistent."
Down 24-15, Aycock fended off four set points. Pratt pounded out a kill to middle court off an Emily Jordan assist. The 6-foot-2 senior blocked Darden, dug up the ball and smashed another kill to make it 24-17.
Lee's off-speed hit and a tremendous hustle play by LeeAnn Sager closed the gap to 24-19. The Trojans' Lockamy forced the decisive fifth game with a kill off Pratt's block attempt.
Sophomore outside hitter Mary Beth Raynor emerged the offensive spark for South Johnston in the final two sets. She collected three kills and Lockamy served two aces as the Trojans raced ahead 10-1.
Davis exhausted his two allotted timeouts during that stretch.
"They were standing on the court with their heads hanging," said Davis. "The biggest thing is the intensity level has got to pick up in good and bad (times). When we pick up the intensity, we look pretty good. When it's not going right, we sit back on our heels and play defense the whole time.
"We're not going to win like that."
Trailing 11-3, Aycock tallied nine of the next 11 points. Pratt blocked two Trojan kill attempts and kept another ball in play with a dig off a Darden block attempt. Laura Thigpen served two aces and Jordan fired an ace to pull the Golden Falcons within 13-12.
"Inconsistency and struggling on serve-receive," said Peacock of Aycock's final run. "C.B. Aycock has got some great servers. It was difficult for us. We got into a slump and our recovery time was a little slow."
South Johnston regained the serve on Lockamy's kill off Krystal Moore's assist. Junior outside hitter Ashley Benton finished off the Golden Falcons with a solo block against Lee.
Aycock suffered its first five-set loss of the season.
"When we got a little run (going), the intensity level picked up," said Davis. "But we just dug ourselves too deep a hole. We just can't bring our intensity and energy when things are going right.
"That's something we've got to change and work on."
The Golden Falcons entertain unbeaten North Lenoir today.
Notes: The five-set match lasted 108 minutes, and featured 18 ties and seven lead changes. ... Pratt and Shelly Lancaster each had six kills, while Pratt added four solo blocks. ... Aycock's Julia Lancaster and Emily Jordan combined for 15 assists. ... Lee served four of the Golden Falcons' 13 aces as a team. ... South Johnston's Lockamy finished with 12 kills. ... Aycock fell to 1-1 in home games this season.
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