Golden Falcons head back to eastern final
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 20, 2009 1:47 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Play smart and confident.
Charles B. Aycock executed those two goals to near perfection and earned a second consecutive trip to the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A dual-team eastern regional on Tuesday afternoon.
Addison Westbrook and Dylan Quinn each claimed a critical tiebreaker in singles play and the No. 6-ranked Golden Falcons rolled past county archrival Eastern Wayne 5-1.
Aycock (15-1 overall) travels to No. 3-ranked and unbeaten Southern Nash on Thursday for the east regional title. The Firebirds handed the Golden Falcons their only loss this season.
"We wanted to try and stay as positive as we can," said Quinn, one of four returning starters for Aycock. "We had a good team last year, but we really think this is our best year to make it to the state championship (match.)"
Quinn trailed the Warriors' Mike Barnette 4-3 in the second set and stormed back to force the third-set tiebreaker. Quinn won seven of the first eight points in the final game and tripped up Barnette 3-6, 7-5, 10-4.
"I wanted to win for the team. I stopped getting mad at myself (for mistakes) and just pulled it out," said Quinn. "When I got into the tiebreaker, I was confident. If you can get into the other person's head, you can control the game.
"He's a good net player and I had to play smart tennis."
Westbrook struggled with first serves and unforced errors in opening-set action against Aaron Dunmire at No. 2 singles. Dunmire led 5-4 until Westbrook found his stride and pulled out a 7-6 (5) win.
Westbrook dominated the second set 6-0.
"I started making some consistent shots and playing smart," said Westbrook. "I got more confident in my shots after I won the first set."
The Golden Falcons received singles wins from top-seeded Blake Vail, third-seeded Ben Nichols and fifth-seeded Rawad Alawar.
Nichols controlled the tempo from start to finish in a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Warriors senior Eric Barnes. Alawar secured the team's regional berth with a 6-3, 6-3 conquest of Joe DiCesare.
Vail defeated Russell Turner 6-2, 6-1 and avenged a loss to the freshman in the eastern regional semifinals just 10 days ago. Vail improved to 4-1 against Turner this season and raised his career record to a phenomenal 84-4.
"I was just really prepared today and I wanted to win this match worse than any other match I've played this year," said Vail. "I let myself down (the last time) and felt like I didn't play to my standards. I came out and played like I should today.
"I had to attack him, work him around (the court) and get to the net. The difference is, for once, I actually made some volleys."
Eastern Wayne's lone victory came from senior Will Kastner. In a battle of left-handers, Kastner upended Aycock's Bradley Wilson 6-3, 6-3 and finished 5-0 in singles play against the Golden Falcons this season.
The Warriors concluded its 2009 campaign with a 13-4 record.
"Will and fellow senior Eric had great final years and will be missed," said first-year Warriors head coach Craig Hassell. "Our guys fought hard, but simply lost to the better team today. Hat's off to coach (Kevin) Coghill. He has done a tremendous job with his team the past few years, especially in postseason play."
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