North Lenoir sweeps Aycock
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 31, 2007 2:51 PM
PIKEVILLE -- The ability to finish at the net is one of many key ingredients that has North Lenoir feeling confident and undefeated, while the inability to execute fundamentals has left C.B. Aycock searching for consistency.
Finishing points and closing out games helped the Hawks claim a 25-19, 25-14, 25-15 non-conference win Thursday evening.
Three aces from Conner Jordan helped North Lenoir (5-0 overall) turn a 10-6 margin into a 15-6 lead in the opening game. Aycock closed to within 21-18, but several Golden Falcons errors and a pair of kills from Marissa Lanier closed out the game at 25-19.
Aycock led 8-7 in game two, but Lanier tallied six more kills and a pair of aces from Jordan Hudson guided North Lenoir to a 25-14 victory.
The Hawks appeared to be cruising to a win in game three, after surging out to a 16-3 lead. Aided by numerous North Lenoir mistakes, Aycock pulled within 18-13, but kills by the Hawks on six of the game's final nine points brought the game to a close at 25-15.
Hudson paced the Hawks offense with 27 assists and Lanier finished with 11 kills in a complete-team performance dominated by textbook passing and finishing at the net. Anna Kennedy and Kayla Sutton each had five kills. Jordan added four aces and Kristen Davenport tallied two aces.
"We're all about trying to slam it and trying to make our opponents hit free balls back to us," North Lenoir coach Heather Carson said.
At times, Aycock (0-4) displayed the ability to hang with North Lenoir, but the inability to put balls away at the net along with fundamental breakdowns ultimately cost the Golden Falcons the opportunity to extend the match beyond three games.
"There were a couple of plays at the net where I thought we had some good hits, but give it to North Lenoir, they dug some of our better hits," Aycock coach Davis Harris said. "We just didn't finish some of the things we got."
With plenty of experience, talent and depth returning to a squad that finished tied for first in the Class 2-A Eastern Plains Conference last season, Humphrey has again set the bar high in terms of goals for her team.
"We want to try to be the number one seed out of our conference," Humphrey said. "Last year we were tied with Farmville and all the teams in our conference are good. So, right now that's our main goal."
Meanwhile, Aycock has just three returners back from a year ago, so getting a bevy of new players on the same page while grasping the basics are all a part of Harris' focus right now.
"We're working on a lot of things right now," Harris said. "We've got a lot of inexperience and it's not an excuse. We're still focusing on fundamentals. When we pass and we set, we have some pretty strong hitters. It's the intangibles right now that we're just not doing."
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