Aycock nets playoff berth at Triton's expense
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 10, 2012 1:48 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Charles B. Aycock's bid for its 22nd consecutive dual-team playoff appearance didn't appear in jeopardy until doubles play began Tuesday evening.
Triton captured tense affairs on two courts, but the Golden Falcons got the lone point they needed from a vastly-improved duo. The No. 2 tandem of Rachel Jackson-Kimber Pender emerged victorious 8-3 and helped the Golden Falcons escape, 5-4, at Mount Olive College.
Aycock (15-5 overall) seized the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference's No. 2 seed for the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs, and will travel to Coastal champ Jacksonville on Oct. 16.
"I guess it's like baseball, you just never know what's going to happen," Golden Falcons head coach Luke Vail said. "It's a nice win for Rachel and Kimber. They, by far, had their best doubles match of the year.
"I'm happy and proud for them."
The Golden Falcons led 4-2 after singles.
Top-seeded Ashton Walker became the first Aycock player to complete regular-season play unbeaten since Raychel Batts accomplished the feat in 2006. Walker improved to 20-0 overall and has yet to lose a set after her 6-0, 6-2 decision over Jennifer Byrd.
Katie Gurley battled through a nail-biting first set and handed the Hawks' Cailin Goff a 7-5, 6-2 loss at No. 2 singles. Jackson prevailed at No. 3 and Casie Belom took out Triton's Haley Raynor at the No. 5 slot.
"Katie really stepped up and played well," Vail said. "They had two tiebreakers the first two times they played. Katie overpowered her (Goff) today and worked the court really well.
"Casie was a big win because that was the last singles match."
Byrd-Goff rallied from a mid-set deficit and turned back Walker-Gurley 8-6 at No. 1 doubles. Teammates Raynor-Lydia Jones stopped Belom-Cassidy Coerver 9-8 (4) at No. 3.
Jackson-Pender experienced little trouble in an 8-3 conquest of Caroline Dunham-Madison Newton. The Aycock teammates avenged two regular-season defeats.
"We played well in singles, but not as well in doubles as we should have played," Vail said. "We pushed too many volleys long, too many backhands out and were too inconsistent at number one and three doubles. But, it's a good feeling to know that you finished second.
"Digging yourself a hole losing that first conference match (to Triton) made it a journey uphill. Really and truthfully we probably have exceeded our expectations."
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