Golden Falcons regain top spot in ECC 3-A race
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 11, 2011 12:05 AM
PIKEVILLE -- It took nine tries, but Charles B. Aycock is finally back on top at the halfway point of the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference women's tennis race.
Oh yeah, the streak is over, too.
Senior Misty Edwards earned the decisive singles point in a 9-0 triumph over four-time defending ECC champion Eastern Wayne on a hot, muggy Friday afternoon. The Golden Falcons (10-0 overall, 6-0 ECC) snapped the Warriors' 46-match unbeaten streak in league play.
Edwards claimed the first set 6-0 against Blake Govan at the No. 5 slot.
"She came over and her right arm was shaking," said Aycock head coach Brad Matthews. "I asked her what was wrong."
"I'm still really nervous," said Edwards.
"Misty, you won the first set," said Matthews.
"I know, but I still have one to go," said Edwards.
Govan had other thoughts and seized a 4-1 lead in the second set. Edwards refocused, found her groove again and reeled off five straight games to seal the straight-set victory -- and dual-team match.
Aycock improved to a phenomenal 336-8 in conference play since 1979.
"They are a very solid team, very impressive," said Eastern Wayne head coach Craig Hassell. "Our girls got off to a very slow start and when you play a team like this (and) get behind early, you see what the consequences are."
The Golden Falcons lost a combined five games in opening-set play on the six singles courts. Second-seeded Ashton Walker and sixth-seeded Caroline Bone each posted identical 6-1, 6-0 scores.
Top-seeded Brooke Barfield turned back Grace Delbridge, one of the Warriors' two returning starters, 6-1, 6-2. Barfield dropped her first game on serve in the opening set and won 12 of the next 14 games to remain unbeaten in 10 outings this season.
Katie Gurley cruised past Jackie Johnson 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 3 spot. Brittany Parrish completed the shutout effort in singles with a 6-0, 6-4 conquest of Kristina Childre.
"We came out and played really well," said Matthews. "One through six ... all of them were really consistent. You could tell they all wanted it, wanted to win really bad and get back on top. They beat a good team today, they really did."
Aycock posted two comeback victories in doubles.
The No. 2 tandem of Gurley-Edwards trailed 5-2 and upended Delbridge-Govan, 8-6. The No. 3 duo of Parrish-Bone were down 7-4, and won the final games in a 9-7 thriller over Childre-Dove.
Barfield-Walker cruised 8-0 at No. 1 doubles. The Golden Falcons secured their eighth shutout of the season with six occurring against conference opposition.
"I told the girls before the match to be loose, have fun and go out there and play smart ... see what happens," said Hassell. "We're rebuilding (after) losing four out of six (starters). We'll get better and hopefully we'll learn from this, take it and improve from it."