Warriors stay unbeaten
By Rob Craig
Published in Sports on September 21, 2007 2:55 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Defending Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference co-champion Eastern Wayne refuses to relinquish its volleyball crown.
The Warriors proved it again Thursday afternoon.
Two days after defeating 2006 co-champ Wilson Beddingfield in five games, Eastern Wayne ventured to archrival Charles B. Aycock. The youthful Golden Falcons didn't present the same challenge as the Bruins and the Warriors prevailed 25-20, 25-15, 25-17.
Eastern Wayne climbed to a perfect 11-0, including a 4-0 ledger in ECC play. Aycock (2-8) fell to 1-3 in the league.
"When you come to Aycock, it doesn't matter what the records are," said Eastern Wayne coach Bruce Burridge. "It's going to be a dog fight. There's such a rivalry between us."
To prepare for the contest, Warriors' assistant coaches Kevin Daniels and Deniz Alendar spent time working with the players on some new wrinkles to their game plan. The strategy seemed to pay off with immediate dividends as Eastern Wayne came out firing on all cylinders.
Brooke Newsome, Brittani Billups and Jordei Osby all recorded early kills as the Warriors jumped ahead 7-0 in game one.
The Golden Falcons proved to be resilient and pulled within 21-19 following a kill and two service aces by Beth Carter. The sophomore finished with seven kills and two aces.
"Beth has come a long way since last year," said C.B. Aycock coach Davis Harris. "She's been really aggressive. The difference a year makes with her has been unreal."
Aycock could get no closer, however. Billups and Alysa Artis each connected on kills in the Warriors' game one win.
The Golden Falcons grabbed a 3-1 lead in game two on kills by Bridgette Briggs and Carter, and an ace by Emily Jordan. The advantage quickly dwindled as Billups and Osby slammed shots from both sides of the court. The duo combined for 10 kills in game two.
"Those two girls, Billups and Osby, they put it down quick," said Harris. "Had we just been standing there watching it, that would've been one thing, but we were going down there and trying to get it."
Billups supplied a game-high 15 kills.
"Brittani's better than what she's putting out," said Burridge. "Today was a little bit of an off day for her because I think she's even better than this."
The two teams struggled to get a consistent attack going in game three.
Eastern Wayne led by just two at 13-11 before a big kill by Osby seemed to change momentum. Osby, who missed a week due to an ankle injury, finished with 11 kills and three blocks in her second game back.
"Day by day, Jordei is getting stronger and that ankle is healing," said Burridge. "She's a huge asset."
Billups added two more kills to give the Warriors a 16-11 advantage. Aycock never could match the aggressive play of Eastern Wayne and eventually succumbed 25-17.
"To beat them we needed to force them into mistakes, but they were doing more of the attack than we were," said Harris. "We don't like to lose, but I'm not disappointed in the way we played. Eastern Wayne attacked us ... they beat us."
On the other side, the Warriors couldn't be any hotter right now.
"Today was a total team win," he said. "All the way from the assistant coaches to the last player sitting on the bench. We're on a roll and we just need to ride it as long as we can."
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