09/27/06 — ECC volleyball Ñ C.B. Aycock sweeps Southern Wayne

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ECC volleyball Ñ C.B. Aycock sweeps Southern Wayne

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 27, 2006 2:28 PM

DUDLEY -- Outside hitter Jazzmine Lee might not have played her sharpest game of the season, but the Charles B. Aycock senior produced several key plays Tuesday afternoon.

Lee provided three kills in late-set situations and helped the Golden Falcons turn back county rival Southern Wayne 25-21, 25-16, 25-23 as first-half play concluded in the Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference. Aycock improved to 8-3 overall and 3-2 in the league.

The Saints, who didn't play a non-conference schedule, fell to 1-4.

Lee collected a double-double -- 10 kill and 10 digs -- but had as many attack errors as successful kills. Aycock recorded 28 kills and 19 attack errors as a team during the 67-minute match.

"Jazz was off a little bit at times, but played her way through it and did a lot of good things to help us," said Aycock coach Davis Harris. "Our attacks weren't crisp tonight. I don't think we attacked as much as we should have.

"The first game we had too many free balls."

Aycock never found an offensive rhythm and eventually fell behind 16-12 on a combination of hitting mistakes and unforced errors. The Saints, however, couldn't keep the momentum and finally surrendered their slim lead late in the set.

Southern Wayne struggled to close blocks in single and double coverage. The Golden Falcons' Amy Fryt, a senior, hit through a Saints solo block and sparked a set-ending 4-2 run.

Lauren Pratt (five kills) contributed a kill and Lee slammed a short serve-receive return by the Saints to make it 23-21. Southern Wayne compounded its troubles with consecutive unforced errors to close out the first set.

"They don't get more aggressive when they get ahead, they ease up," said first-year Saints coach Colby Mangum. "I really have no explanation for why that is. They're not accustomed to winning; not used to being ahead."

Defense helped the Saints gain an early vantage in the second set. Libero Meredith Davis, who registered a match-high 14 digs, covered the back line and passed with precision to setter Sam Otellio. Otellio dished out two assists, both to Charlie Garten, in a 6-2 run.

Aycock played steady and transitioned well from defense to offense on its side of the court. Laura Thigpen served an ace and Lee ripped a kill against Christy Weaver's solo block attempt, which put the Golden Falcons in front 8-7.

Tied at 12-12, Aycock tallied 10 of the next 12 points. Fryt (seven kills) and Shelly Lancaster (four kills) emerged the offensive leaders during the surge. The Saints stopped the run on Otellio's off-speed hit that rolled off the net and dropped untouched on the Golden Falcons' side of the net.

Pratt's solo block and a hitting error gave Aycock the second set 25-16.

"The second set we got in a better groove," said Harris. "(But) the third game, we fell behind. We got flat-footed and Southern Wayne does a great job covering the floor.

"We haven't played anybody that dives on the floor like they do. I don't know how much they took us out of our game, but they got on a little run."

The run Harris referred to started with the set tied 13-13.

Garten's kill off Otellio's assist and Haley Gerstler's service ace down the line highlighted a 4-0 run. Aycock climbed within 17-16, but Davis had an overpass to drop untouched and Michelle Joyner contributed a kill to give the Saints a little cushion at 19-16.

Southern Wayne kept its lead and had serve at 23-19. A hitting error and Lee's kill off Julia Lancaster's assist trimmed the deficit to 23-21. Another hitting miscue and a Jordan ace tied the set at 23-23.

Lee recorded her final kill to make it 24-23. The Saints ended the match with a serve-receive error.

"They should have won that (third) game," said Mangum. "But it was good enough for them to have the lead and compete, and then they let up. They have a bad habit of doing that.

"A killer instinct is what we have to work on."

Aycock remained unbeaten in nine regular-season ECC meetings against the Saints, and avenged last year's opening-round ECC tournament loss. Meanwhile, Southern Wayne is a combined 0-20 in regular-season play against the Golden Falcons and rival Eastern Wayne since the league's inception in 2001.

"We're still adjusting and experience is a big deal," said Mangum. "Southern Wayne, historically, has not been a winning program in volleyball. I think they need to get used to winning.

"They need to want to win right now. They're okay competing and they're okay having people tell them 'you played so much better today.' But that's not enough any more.

"That's the bridge we have to cross now."

Southern Wayne begins second-half play at home Thursday against Eastern Wayne, which owns sole possession of second place in the league. C.B. Aycock is the guest of defending ECC champion Wilson Beddingfield.

Notes: Aycock setters Lancaster and Jordan dished out seven and 14 assists, respectively. ... Otellio had a match-high 16 assists for the Saints. ... Garten and Haley Thornton paced SW with eight and five kills, respectively. ... The Golden Falcons served seven aces, compared to six for the Saints. ... The teams combined for 63 digs.