10/19/10 — Golden Falcons advance in ECC

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Golden Falcons advance in ECC

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 19, 2010 1:46 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Intense and focused, Charles B. Aycock quickly took care of business in opening-round play of the 2010 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference volleyball tournament Monday afternoon.

Junior outside hitter Connor Davis cranked out a match-high 10 kills in the Golden Falcons' 25-10, 25-21, 25-19 triumph over league newcomer Cleveland. The match took just 64 minutes to play.

Fourth-seeded Aycock (10-8 overall) travels to unbeaten and top-seeded Triton for a semifinal-round contest today.

The Rams concluded the year 8-12 overall.

"The way we came out, pleased me," said Golden Falcons head coach Davis Harris. "We were attacking everything, moving extremely well in that first set. I thought we moved well the entire match. Our digs and passing were good."

Junior setter Rachel Jordan handed out 24 assists among five hitters in the three-set sweep. Madison Mercer and Bailee Hughes collected nine and six kills, respectively. Reagan Herndon provided three kills, while Brooke Bell added one kill.

Bell, libero Ashley Shingleton and Herndon defended well on the backline -- especially against Rams middle hitter Courtney Ireland. A certain all-ECC selection, Ireland finished with six kills and three blocks.

"I thought we dug (Ireland's) balls very well at times," said Harris.

Aycock used a monstrous 18-5 run to take control of the opening set.

Bell and Mercer each served an ace during the stretch. Bell dug out an off-speed hit from Ireland that dropped over the net, while Davis put away an overpass after Jordan saved an errant pass deep in the left corner.

Mercer's kill off Jordan's assist closed the set.

Fifth-seeded Cleveland slowed the tempo in its favor in the second set, and benefited from Aycock's early mistakes. The teams battled through four ties before the Golden Falcons took the lead 10-9 on Herndon's kill.

Jordan served two aces and Aycock kept a two- to four-point advantage the remainder of the set. Mercer's off-speed hit put the Golden Falcons up 2-0 in the best-of-five affair.

"I think we got into a relaxed mode a little bit, and that's when we started missing serves," said Harris, whose team had 14 errors at the service line. "We kept them in set two. We weren't the quicker people to the ball, slower in our hitting transition, too much watching the ball.

"We just kind of crept (to the net)."

That changed in the third set.

Davis' ace and Herndon's kill pushed Aycock ahead 3-0. Another Herndon ace and Mercer's kill extended the advantage to 16-10 midway through the set.

Cleveland fended off four match points before Davis smacked a match-clinching, cross-court kill that dropped in between three Rams defenders.