Aycock seals ECC tennis crown
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 30, 2011 1:48 PM
The Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference women's dual-team tennis championship is returning to northern Wayne County.
But four-time defending champion Eastern Wayne certainly didn't relinquish its crown with a stout battle Thursday afternoon. The Warriors made archrival Charles B. Aycock work for it.
Brittany Parrish triumphed at No. 4 singles and sealed the overall outcome for the Golden Falcons, who prevailed 6-2 and seized their first ECC title since 2006. Aycock secured the No. 1 seed for the upcoming N.C. High School Athletic Association dual-team playoffs, which begin Oct. 18.
"I'm very proud of my girls," said fourth-year Aycock head coach Brad Matthews. "This is one of our goals we set at the beginning of the year and we accomplished it. Eastern Wayne gave us a great match and I knew it wasn't going to be easy.
"We had to earn every single game today."
Parrish certainly did.
Coming off a grueling, marathon loss to Hunt on Wednesday, Parrish took nearly 21/2 hours to dispatch the Warriors' Kristina Childre. Neither could find any momentum in the opening set and played backboard-style tennis, waiting for the other to make the mistake.
Parrish won 7-5.
"She lost to Hunt and was very upset about it," said Matthews. "I told her not to worry about it because today is the one we needed. She was down in the first set and had an awesome comeback. She started hitting some shots and really stepped it up in the second set.
"That was big for us."
Aycock (19-0 overall, 11-0 ECC) emerged victorious on five singles courts.
Top-seeded Brooke Barfield squandered two set points and fended off three game points before beating Grace Delbridge 6-1, 6-4. Third-seeded Katie Gurley rallied from a first-set deficit to defeat Jackie Johnson 6-2, 6-2.
Sixth-seeded Caroline Bone won 6-0, 6-1.
Second-seeded Ashton Walker started tentatively against the Warriors' Savannah Sutton and trailed 3-2 in the first set. Matthews stressed to Walker the importance of dictating the match's tempo and the first-year starter responded in dominating fashion.
Walker won the final 10 games and dealt Sutton a 6-3, 6-0 loss.
"She got some confidence and started hitting the ball," said Matthews.
Eastern Wayne (11-3, 8-2) halted Aycock's string of 10 consecutive shutouts against conference opposition this season. Fifth-seeded Blake Govan took a singles point when the Golden Falcons' Misty Edwards retired after twisting her ankle late in the second set.
Matthews said it's a high-ankle sprain and Edwards could possibly miss Aycock's final two regular-season matches.
The tandem of Delbridge-Govan stopped Gurley-Tiffany Godwin 8-1 at No. 2 doubles. The No. 3 doubles was not finished due to darkness.
"We were up against a good team," said Eastern Wayne head coach Craig Hassell. "Brad has a good, competitive group of girls ... bunch of athletes. I told the girls to have fun today and play smart tennis. They had a game plan, but if things didn't work, they switched it up and showed some versatility today.
"All down the line we played more competitive, smarter and patient."