Warriors make Falcons work
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 8, 2009 1:46 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Eastern Wayne made sure archrival Charles B. Aycock worked to gain a share of its second consecutive Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference men's tennis title Tuesday afternoon.
And work, they did.
The Golden Falcons gutted out two third-set tiebreakers in singles play and turned back the Warriors 5-4 in cold, blustery conditions. Aycock (9-1 overall) remained unbeaten in eight ECC outings this season and claimed a series sweep of Eastern Wayne, which dropped to 6-2 in league play.
"I was pleased with how we fought today ... gutted it out," said Aycock coach Kevin Coghill. "It was a tough day to play with the wind and cold, and a tough day to coach. But it was an exciting match and really it could have gone either way."
Aycock collected its 18th consecutive ECC regular-season victory and seized the league's No. 1 seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs.
The Warriors (9-3, 6-2 ECC) must win their final two regular-season matches against Kinston and Beddingfield to obtain the league's No. 2 seed for the postseason. Eastern Wayne emerged the east regional runner-up in 2007.
"I was real proud of them for what they accomplished today," said Eastern Wayne head coach Craig Hassell. "Everybody wants a 'W,' but it's a good loss. We had our full lineup and that's just the way it goes sometimes.
"Number four and five singles, it (the outcome) came down to those matches. Anything can happen in a third-set tiebreaker. A little bit of luck comes into play."
The Golden Falcons' Dylan Quinn rallied for a grueling 7-6 (9), 4-6, 10-5 triumph over the Warriors' Mike Barnette at the number four spot. Teammate Rawad Alawar squandered four match points before squeaking past Joe DiCesare 6-3, 6-7 (5), 10-7 at number five.
"Winning the tiebreaker gave us some confidence at five," said Coghill. "Rawad has really stepped up and is playing really well after struggling at the beginning of the year to get into the lineup."
Aycock juniors Blake Vail and Addison Westbrook each seized a straight-set singles win. Vail erased a 4-3 second-set deficit to defeat freshman Russell Turner 6-1, 6-4.
Westbrook outlasted Aaron Dunmire 6-2, 7-6 (5). It was Dunmire's first match in nearly a month after sitting out with a shoulder injury.
Eastern Wayne senior Eric Barnes shook off an error-filled second set to defeat Ben Nichols 6-4, 6-7 (5), 10-8. Fellow Warrior Will Kastner had little trouble in a 6-2, 6-1 triumph over Kareem Alawar at No. 6 singles.
"Down low, we're still struggling with our confidence," said Coghill. "They had two different starters from the last time and that helped them a whole lot. They've gotten better and I'd like to think that we've gotten a little bit better."
The top-seeded tandem of Vail-Quinn secured Aycock's title repeat with an 8-0 rout of Barnes-Barnette. The Warriors reeled off three straight games to take No. 2 doubles and the third-seeded duo of Kastner-DiCesare rallied from a 7-3 deficit to win 9-7.
"They made us work and the weather made us work," said Coghill. "It was a tough day overall, but I am proud of the guys. Now we're going to have finish off Hunt and Southern Wayne (after Easter)."
C.B. Aycock 5
Eastern Wayne 4
Singles: No. 1 Blake Vail (CBA) d. Russell Turner 6-1, 6-4; No. 2 Addison Westbrook (CBA) d. Aaron Dunmire 6-2, 7-6 (5); No. 3 Eric Barnes (EW) d. Ben Nichols 6-4, 6-7, 10-8; No. 4 Dylan Quinn (CBA) d. Mike Barnette 7-6 (9), 4-6, 10-5; No. 5 Rawad Alawar (CBA) d. Joe DiCesare 6-3, 6-7, 10-7; No. 6 Will Kastner (EW) d. Kareem Alawar 6-2, 6-1.
Doubles: No. 1 Vail-Quinn (CBA) d. Barnes-Barnette 8-0; No. 2 Turner-Dunmire (EW) d. Westbrook-Nichols 8-5; No. 3 DiCesare-Kastner (EW) d. R. Alawar-K. Alawar 9-7.
Records: C.B. Aycock 9-1 overall, 8-0 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference; Eastern Wayne 9-3, 6-2 ECC
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