10/12/10 — E. Waynetops C.B. Aycock tennis

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E. Waynetops C.B. Aycock tennis

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 12, 2010 1:47 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Once doubles partners Miller Delbridge and Amber Miller secured Eastern Wayne's final team point in twilight, the duo shook hands with their opponents at the net, gathered their belongings and walked off the court.

No one waited to greet them with high-fives.

In fact, there was no celebration at all.

It was business as usual for the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference tennis queens, who earned their fourth consecutive regular-season, dual-team championship Monday. Fifth-seeded Jackie Johnson and sixth-seeded Morgan Jeffreys collected the decisive singles points in an 8-1 romp over archrival Charles B. Aycock.

"I try not to let my players show too much emotion, win or lose," said second-year Warriors head coach Kelly Hoff. "I think you should just prove it on the court."

The Warriors (17-4 overall, 12-0 ECC) clinched the No. 1 seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs, which begin Oct. 19. The Golden Falcons (13-8, 10-2) grabbed the No. 2 seed and will make their 21st straight appearance in the postseason.

"I thought we should have been more focused, more determined since we were playing for first place," said Aycock head coach Brad Matthews. "We just acted like it was another tennis match. Mentally, we have to get tougher than we are."

Eastern Wayne competed without No. 2 seed Janielle Daniel, who missed the regular-season finale due to illness. Hoff bumped her starters up one notch and inserted Jeffreys into the No. 6 slot.

Five starters emerged victorious.

Top-seeded Miller Delbridge (14-7 singles) rolled past Abbey Strickland 6-0, 6-0. Second-seeded Grace Delbridge (17-3) turned back Katie Gurley 6-1, 6-1, while fourth-seeded Amber Miller topped Brittany Parrish 6-2, 6-0.

Johnson and Jeffreys also won in straight sets.

Daniel, G. Delbridge, Miller (20-1) and Johnson (10-3) each finished unbeaten on the ECC singles scene this season.

"With Janielle out sick, everybody from two down had to step up a notch, so I was proud of how they played," said Hoff. "I told them to take it serious. This is it (the ECC championship) and Aycock still wanted us, so play hard.

"When Amber took hers, I felt confident that we would take the rest. With everyone playing up, I thought it was a strain on us."

The Warriors, who have won 10 straight against Aycock, swept the doubles. M. Delbridge-Miller outlasted Strickland-Gurley 9-8 (2) at No. 1. The tandems of Jeffreys-Jenna Martin and Brittany Scurlock-Takeyah Shaw also triumphed.

Third-seeded Harlie Howard delivered the Golden Falcons' lone point. She captured a 6-4, 5-7, 10-1 decision over Warriors senior Joann Talton, who suffered her first defeat in ECC play and just her second overall this season.

"Harlie is going to play hard every point and she gets to every ball," said Matthews. "I was very proud of the way she played. She's a backboard and kept the ball in play. If you keep the ball in play, you can make other players make mistakes and that's what she did today."

The teams return to action Wednesday in the season-ending ECC tournament at Greene Central High School. Opening-round singles and doubles matches begin at 10 a.m.