10/02/09 — Warriors stretch conference lead

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Warriors stretch conference lead

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 2, 2009 1:46 PM

This time, Amber Miller and Grace Delbridge started strong.

And neither slowed down.

Fueled by disappointing tie-breaking losses in their previous encounter with Charles B. Aycock less than two weeks ago, Miller and Delbridge exacted a little revenge Thursday afternoon. Each claimed a straight-set singles victory as Eastern Wayne rolled past the Golden Falcons 8-1.

"I think it helped having our whole lineup here whereas at their courts, you're split so when they were down there, they were both losing," said Warriors coach Kelly Matthews. "Here they could look down (the courts) and see everybody winning, so I think that gave them some confidence.

"They've worked really hard this week and I was satisfied with them."

The outcome boosted Eastern Wayne (12-3 overall) to 7-0 in Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference play and moved it within one win of clinching a share of its third straight championship. C.B. Aycock (10-7) suffered its eighth straight loss against the Warriors and departed 6-2 in league play.

"They put it to us," said Golden Falcons coach Brad Matthews. "I think they've worked a little bit harder than what we have worked in the past couple of weeks, that was obvious. I'll take the blame for that.

"The bottom of their lineup, especially five (Miller) and six (Delbridge), really stepped it up. I don't think we stepped it up at all."

Miller upended Aycock's Nicole Kessler 7-5, 6-2. Delbridge won eight of the final nine games in a 6-4, 6-1 decision over freshman Katie Gurley.

Danielle and Janielle Daniel, one of three sets of sisters on Eastern Wayne's team, combined to drop just two games in singles action. Janielle posted a 6-0, 6-0 shutout of Abbey Strickland at the No. 3 slot, while Danielle turned back top-seeded Ashley Howell 6-0, 6-2.

Warrior senior Warner Underwood clinched the match with a come-from-behind, 6-4, 6-1 conquest of junior Harlie Howard at No. 4. Howard raced to a 3-0, first-set advantage before Underwood -- as she did in Pikeville -- rallied for a straight-set triumph.

"I told her to play like it was a challenge match as if it was for a position (in the lineup)," said Eastern Wayne's Matthews. "Being a senior, she has that maturity. She had to fight for it because she doesn't have a next year (like Howard). Once she got rolling, it was done."

Hollie Baker secured the Golden Falcons' lone point with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Miller Delbridge at No. 2.

"Hollie is a competitor, gets out there and does everything she can to win," said Aycock's Matthews. "She gets every ball that's hit to her, can cover a lot of ground ... just hustles. She's had a great year."

The Warriors, winners of 29 consecutive ECC matches, dominated the doubles. The top-seeded duo of D. Daniel-Underwood romped past Howell-Howard 8-1. The tandems of M. Delbridge-J. Daniel and Miller-G. Delbridge each logged an 8-5 victory at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.