No.7-ranked Golden Demons push Golden Falcons out of postseason
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 3, 2010 1:47 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Two for two.
One week after eliminating Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference champion Eastern Wayne from the N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team tennis playoffs, Wilson Fike ousted the ECC runner-up on a cool, breezy Tuesday afternoon.
The No. 7-ranked Golden Demons dominated action at the top three singles spots and pulled out two tiebreakers at the lower seeds in a 5-1 conquest of Charles B. Aycock.
Fike (17-5 overall) earned its third consecutive trip to the eastern regional championship match and will travel to perennial power Cardinal Gibbons on Thursday. Aycock (15-9) lost in the eastern semifinals for the third time in its last four postseason appearances.
"We played as good as we could possibly play today," said Golden Falcons head coach Brad Matthews. "Unfortunately, we didn't win. Fike is a great team ... was just better than we were."
Top-seeded Mallory Short, second-seeded Meredith Pruden and third-seeded Sarah Flinn combined to lose only one game in their respective three-set victories. Their teammates encountered sterner tests toward the bottom of the lineup.
Aycock's Brittany Parrish pushed Anna-Claire Summerlin to the limit in a 7-6 (2), 7-5 loss at No. 4 singles. The Golden Falcons' Misty Edwards prevailed 6-0, 3-6, 10-5 at the No. 5 slot. Fike's Emma Jane Proctor claimed a come-from-behind 1-6, 6-4, 10-8 decision over Caroline Bone.
"They played well," said Matthews of Parrish, Edwards and Bone. "We knew we had a chance at four, five and six (singles). All three of them were close. At one, two and three, they just really out-matched us. I thought we come out of singles 3-3, but we lost two of three (at the bottom).
"I was proud of how they played."
Two Golden Falcon seniors -- Abbey Strickland and Harlie Howard -- played their final match. They helped Aycock advance to four straight dual-team playoff appearances and six victories in 10 tries during that stretch.
The lone county team to appear in every dual-team playoff since 1990, Aycock was denied its 52nd postseason win in program history. The Golden Falcons finished runner-up in conference play for the fourth consecutive season behind archrival Eastern Wayne.
The team certainly exceeded Matthews' expectations.
"Going into the beginning of the year, me and Coach (Luke) Vail talked about that we'd be fortunate to finish second in the conference and make the state playoffs, which would be a good year for us," said Matthews. "We did a lot better than what people thought we could. I'm very proud of every single one of them. I'm already looking forward to next year (and) looking for a great year next year."