Aycock knocks off Cleveland
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on September 7, 2012 1:48 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock was not about to make the same mistake twice.
After failing to put away South Johnson in a five-set loss on Tuesday, the Golden Falcons overcame a fourth-set deficit for a 25-21, 15-25, 25-18, 25-22 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference victory over Cleveland on Thursday evening.
The opening set was a back-and-forth struggle as both teams found their hitting touch early. Rams' middle hitter Courtney Ireland pounded out three kills to go with three blocks in set one.
Aycock answered with six kills from Meredith Burroughs. Burroughs supplied a pair of key kills late in the first set and three costly Cleveland errors closed out the set.
The Rams regrouped in set two and jumped out to a 12-4 lead while feasting on Golden Falcons' miscues. Ireland delivered a block and a kill as the advantage swelled to 17-9. The Golden Falcons climbed to within 19-14 on Taylor Bradshaw's kill.
Aycock faltered on critical points and Marina Roe's kill helped end set two.
The Golden Falcons (3-5 overall, 2-2 ECC) reeled off six consecutive points in the third set to take a 16-12 lead. Madison Mercer contributed a block and a kill.
Aycock overcame four late kills from Ireland to claim the set. Ireland finished the match with 12 kills.
"We tried to stay away from Ireland as much as we could," Golden Falcons' head coach Davis Harris said. "She is their best passer, their best hitter and she is probably their best setter. We just tried not to serve to her when she is on the back line.
"Up front, I told our girls not to back down from her."
Aycock trailed 18-13 in set four and Davis implored his team to fight back during a timeout. The Golden Falcons rallied for six straight points, three of which came off kills from Burroughs, to tie the game at 18-18.
"We should have closed it out at South Johnston and we didn't," Harris said. "It is always in the back of your mind. We called a timeout and I told the girls, 'you've just got to fight. You can turn the corner right now or go through it all again.
"Do not play scared just go out there and fight and attack.'"
Burroughs and Mercer combined for four kills late in the match to help finish off Cleveland. Burroughs tallied 11 kills and Mercer had 10.
"Meredith and Madison got some big hits and some big kills," Harris said. "They got them at the right time and at times when Cleveland was making a run."
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