04/10/08 — League leaders: Golden Falcons seize top perch

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League leaders: Golden Falcons seize top perch

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 10, 2008 3:09 PM

PIKEVILLE -- One good deed deserves another.

Eastern Wayne halted Charles B. Aycock's phenomenal 28-year, conference-match win streak during the girls' tennis season in the fall.

Charles B. Aycock returned the favor Wednesday afternoon.

The Golden Falcons swept the singles and doubles matches in a 9-0 decision over the Warriors, who had their 24-match win streak snapped in Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference play. Aycock posted its sixth consecutive shutout of the season and seized sole possession of the ECC race at 4-0.

"Our guys were a little bit nervous because last year they beat us three times," said second-year Aycock head coach Kevin Coghill. "I told the guys to use that experience from last year. I said 'we've gotten better, so go out there confident and play confident.'"

The archrivals started their match last Thursday, but rain suspended play. Coghill said the team had a meeting afterwards, and each player identified the strengths and weaknesses of his respective opponent.

"We developed a game plan that day and I think it helped us to find a strategy for today," said Coghill.

Eastern Wayne head coach Nancy Dawson agreed Aycock had the experience edge.

"The thing that hurts us is we've got three returning players," said Dawson. "Three against six (returners) are not good odds, but that's okay. We are a lot better today than the day when it rained.

"We've won some good points. I'm proud of my boys."

Sophomore Blake Vail and senior Blake Cooper each remained unbeaten in 10 singles outings this season. Vail handed the Warriors' Drew Jackson just his second loss in 11 matches. Cooper benefited from a match-ending double fault to edge German exchange student Chris Knobling 6-2, 5-7, 10-8.

Cooper's victory clinched the overall win for Aycock, which secured its fourth shutout in conference play.

Second-seeded Addison Westbrook upended David Benton 6-1, 6-0. Fourth-seeded Ben Evans turned back Eric Barnes 6-2, 6-2, while teammate Dylan Quinn cruised past Charlie Umstead 6-1, 6-1.

Ben Nichols completed the Golden Falcons' singles sweep with a 6-4, 6-1 decision over Thomas Jackson.

"I think another big factor is their boys wanted it worse than mine did," said Dawson. "And that's not to take anything away from Aycock because they executed very well."

Vail-Cooper, Westbrook-Nichols and Evans-Quinn combined to claim the three doubles points. It was Aycock's 12th ECC victory in its last 14 tries and snapped a two-year, five-game skid against the Warriors since the latest conference realignment in 2005.

"Eastern Wayne is better than that 9-0 score," said Coghill. "The guys they have back from last year are good athletes. My guys are playing with a lot of confidence right now."

C.B. Aycock (9-1 overall) travels to Clayton today, while Eastern Wayne returns home for an ECC battle against county foe Southern Wayne.