Trojans oust Golden Falcons from ECC volleyball tournament
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 16, 2012 1:48 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock is on the playoff bubble.
Now the Golden Falcons hope it doesn't burst.
Fifth-seeded South Johnston erased a five-point, fifth-set deficit and escaped with a 25-19, 25-16, 10-25, 17-25, 15-13 victory in opening-round play of the 2012 Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference volleyball tournament Monday evening.
The Trojans (11-14 overall) travel to four-time defending ECC champion Triton today. Third-seeded North Lenoir (19-6) is the guest of second-seeded Cleveland (14-7) in the other semifinal.
The title game is Wednesday.
If South Johnston loses, Aycock secures the postseason bid and most likely will travel to South Central in the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs, which begin Saturday.
"I have to give credit to South Johnston because they played with a sense of urgency, knew they had to win to play another day," Golden Falcons head coach Davis Harris said. "I was proud of my girls for the way they came back and forced that fifth set."
The fourth-seeded Golden Falcons (10-9) opened the fifth set with a 6-1 run. Courtney Warner's kill down the line capped the early offensive surge, but the Trojans slowly carved away at the deficit.
A four-hit violation on Aycock tied the set at 10-10. After a pair of ties, South Johnston took a 14-12 lead on a solo block. Meredith Burroughs' solo block gave the ball back to the Golden Falcons, who trailed 14-13.
South Johnston's Alexis Massengill sealed the match with a kill off an Aycock block.
"I thought we were in good shape, really confident that we were going to take the fifth set," Harris said. "They were the aggressor the last 15 points of the match. We tried to attack, but had some miss hits. I don't know if it was the fatigue from having to come from two sets down.
"South Johnston made some plays when they had to."
The Trojans' best offense was the Golden Falcons' defense in the first two sets. Massengill and her teammates feasted on numerous transition balls and easily terminated points with kills.
Aycock answered with a dominating third-set performance and carried that momentum into the fourth set. Burroughs' kill off Emily Martin's assist gave the Golden Falcons a 12-11 advantage, and they slowly pulled away from there.
"Too many free balls the first two sets," Harris lamented. "Then we came out with energy in that third set. When we play with energy and attack, we're a good team. When we sit back and play just defense, we're not a good team."
Madison Mercer led Aycock's attack with 17 kills, while Burroughs finished with 11. The Golden Falcons recorded 45 team kills and a .188 hitting percentage in the five-set affair.
Martin dished out 30 assists and Megan Dickerson provided 10 assists off the bench. Libero Madison Martin emerged the team's defensive leader with 24 digs.
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