09/06/12 — No. 8-ranked Gryphons turn back CBA netters

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No. 8-ranked Gryphons turn back CBA netters

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 6, 2012 1:48 PM

PIKEVILLE -- Katie Gurley tossed her racquet, wiped the sweat from her hands and face, grabbed her water bottle and searched for Charles B. Aycock head coach Luke Vail.

The two met at the fence near the court entrance.

Gurley took a sip of water and animatedly voiced her displeasure over falling behind 2-1 in the second set against Rocky Mount's Tanner Brice. She quietly listened to Vail, who never commented on what he said, and returned to the court.

Six games later, Gurley shook Brice's hand at the net after a 6-0, 6-3 victory -- just one of two singles points the Golden Falcons earned during their 6-3, non-conference loss to the state-ranked Gryphons on a hot Wednesday afternoon.

Top-seeded Ashton Walker encountered little trouble and claimed Aycock's other singles point with a 6-0, 6-1 decision over RM's MacKenzie Warner. The combo of Walker-Gurley secured Aycock's lone point in doubles action.

"Ashton and Katie played exceptionally well in both singles and doubles," CBA head coach Luke Vail said. "Our team played with a lot of heart in doubles. Rocky Mount's aggressive net play and consistency from the baseline was the difference in the match."

The Gryphons (5-1 overall) swept the regular-season series from the Golden Falcons, and exited 3-0 against Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference opposition this season.

"I think singles went really well, they're just so good at the top and I knew we were going to struggle there," RM head coach Barry Nethercutt said. "Beyond that, everything was a pretty clean match for us ... not many unforced errors, kept balls deep and we forced them to hit a lot of balls."

Chandler Brice, Eliza Fike, Mary Blair Thompson and Samantha Whicker each notched a straight-set win for Rocky Mount. Thompson outlasted Casie Belom 7-6 (6), 6-0 at No. 5 singles.

The doubles of T. Brice-Fike and Thompson-Whicker helped seal the outcome. Aycock's tandem of Rachel Jackson-Kimber Pender competed well against T. Brice-Fike before falling 9-7.

"Hopefully, this match will be a learning experience for our players," Vail said. "We are showing improvement, but we have to be mentally tougher on the bigger points."