Golden Falcon netters deliver first-ever coaching win for Pennington
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 21, 2013 1:47 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Charles B. Aycock cashed in an unexpected "two-for-deal" on Tuesday afternoon.
The Golden Falcons triumphed in the debut of new varsity girls' tennis coach Summer Pennington, and opened Eastern Carolina 3-A/4-A Conference play with a 9-0 decision over New Bern.
Ashton Walker, Casie Belom and Rachel Jackson -- three of the team's four returning starters -- each logged a shutout in singles action on the Luke Vail Tennis Courts. Aycock dropped just 12 games overall in nine contested matches during the 2-hour affair.
"I was pleased with the girls," Pennington said. "We didn't know anything about New Bern. They weren't nervous at all and went out there to get the job done. They've put in a lot of work in the offseason.
"All of them have been playing every day which shows me they want this and want to do a good job this season."
Sophomore and fourth-seeded Kassidy Pitchford secured the Golden Falcons' first point with a 6-1, 6-0 conquest Lane Welborn, who is one of five sophomores in the Bears' lineup.
Top-seeded Walker, the reigning ECC and eastern regional singles champ, worked the ball around the court against sophomore Bryanna Betancourt. The Aycock junior shook off some uncharacteristic unforced errors, and hit some beautiful winning shots either cross court or down the line on pivotal points.
Second-seeded Belom and third-seeded Cassidy Coerver, who each played in the lower half of the lineup last season, consistently kept the ball in play during their respective matches. Battling against opponents with unconventional groundstrokes, each managed not to lose a break point and roll to easy victories.
Fifth-seeded Rachel Jackson, the lone senior in CBA's lineup, earned the match-clinching singles point with a 6-0, 6-0 win over freshman Hannah Smith.
"The returning starters in the lineup played different than where they have previously," Pennington said. "I was pleased that they threw that out of the window and said 'I'm going to take this position and do the best I can.'
"They played very well ... worked hard and I was very pleased with their effort out there today."
Aycock freshman Haley Creech completed the sweep in singles with a 7-6 (3), 6-0 over sophomore Kendall Kaprowski. Creech overcame some opening-set jitters and calmly listened to the advice offered by Pennington, who played on four state runner-up teams at Greene Central from 2001-2005.
Creech cruised once she wrapped up the first-set tiebreaker.
"I expected her to be a little apprehensive," Pennington said. "With no middle school teams in the county, this is the first time the freshmen have played at a competitive level. I reminded her to play her game.
"She started moving her feet and got into a groove. Winning that first set in her high school career helped her find some confidence and she moved through that second set really quick."
Walker-Coerver, Belom-Pitchford and Jackson-Megan Parrish each prevailed in doubles play. The trio combined to lose just four games.
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