10/23/11 — Aycock sweeps Hunt

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Aycock sweeps Hunt

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 23, 2011 12:49 PM

PIKEVILLE -- What a grinder.

Playing its best "survivor" role, Charles B. Aycock advanced in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 3-A volleyball playoffs with an opening-round 25-21, 25-20, 25-18 triumph over Wilson Hunt on Saturday afternoon.

The Golden Falcons (16-5) claimed their first postseason victory since 2003, and 13th overall in program history.

"It always is a grinder when we play Hunt, even when we were in the same conference," said Aycock head coach Davis Harris, who picked up his ninth playoff win all-time. "I'm not going to say we played the best (match), but it wasn't just all us."

Yeah, it was a grinder.

Aycock started flat in each set, but managed to push through on the key points. The teams traded 23 ties and 10 lead changes in the 67-minute, three-set affair.

"We were very sluggish ... was a Saturday and we were kind of lazy," said Golden Falcons middle hitter Madison Mercer. "We worked hard and tried to pull through. We told each other to pick it up or we're not going to get past the first round.

"We knew we had beaten them two times in a row and we came out here thinking it was going to be easy, but we couldn't have that mindset."

The Warriors, the No. 4 seed from the Big East Conference, collected eight service aces and effectively pushed the ball to different areas of the court which disrupted the Golden Falcons' offensive system. Hunt (8-15) coerced Aycock to deliver several transition balls in the flow of play and commit 22 total errors -- 11 hitting, five in the serve-receive game and six unforced miscues.

But the Warriors weren't much better.

Aycock limited Hunt to a minus-.040 hitting percentage and benefited from 37 total errors overall. Coach Teresa Allen's team permitted 5-0 and 5-1 runs to end the first and second set, respectively.

The Golden Falcons closed out the third set with a 10-3 spurt.

"We had some miscommunication at times, but got it back after we gave up some points (each set)," said Aycock setter Emily Martin. "We were trying to keep positive attitudes, but sometimes it's hard. This time we just concentrated more and realized we could do this."

Mercer paced Aycock with match highs in kills (12) and blocks (three), while Martin dished out 11 assists. Rachel Jordan distributed 12 assists among four hitters, including senior Connor Davis, who cranked out 11 kills.

Six-foot-four middle hitter Kiana Ballard led Hunt with six kills and four solo blocks. Senior hitter Brittany Edwards supplied five kills and five solo blocks.