10/19/13 — Northern Nash eliminates CB Aycock volleyball

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Northern Nash eliminates CB Aycock volleyball

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 19, 2013 11:10 PM


PIKEVILLE -- "This is our house, right here!" shouted Katie Gay to her Charles B. Aycock teammates during a timeout late in the fourth set.

And the Golden Falcons almost protected their nest until they got stuck in a serve rotation that proved crucial Saturday afternoon.

Northern Nash erased a five-point, fifth-set deficit and emerged victorious 17-25, 25-7, 28-26, 22-25, 15-11 in opening-round action of the 2013 N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3-A volleyball playoffs. The Knights (12-8 overall) travel to Mideastern champion Topsail on Tuesday.

Aycock concluded the year 5-13 overall.

Junior middle hitter Meredith Burroughs, who pounded out a match-high 24 kills, helped the Golden Falcons build an 8-3 advantage in the decisive fifth set. Burroughs eventually rotated out of the lineup and Northern Nash senior Alexus Hill stepped onto the front line.

The 5-foot-7 hitter recorded consecutive solo blocks to pull the Knights to within 10-9. After an Aycock service error, Hill knotted the set at 11-all with a kill.

Golden Falcons head coach Emily Burke burned her second timeout, and encouraged her players to stay aggressive and fight for every point. But Aycock became too passive, and its season ended four points later on three unforced errors and Hill's match-clinching block.

Hill finished with a double-double -- 10 kills and 10 blocks.

"The difference between the last set and the fourth set was 5 (Hill) got her (positive) attitude back," Burke said. "The girls know Meredith is not the only person we have and that she can't be up front all the time. We've got to learn that when she's not up front, we're going to have to work a little bit harder.

"We've got to spread the ball out a little bit more, keep things rolling and can't panic. They were getting points off of our mistakes. Instead of being aggressive, we were playing on our heels trying to play defense the entire time, and you can't do that."

Burroughs capped the first set with an ace.

Northern Nash, in its 21st postseason appearance, earned the second-set win from the service line with eight aces. The Knights scored seven of the final 10 points to take set three.

Gay's kill to the back left corner closed out the fourth set and knotted the best-of-five match at 2-all. Gay ended the day with seven kills and one solo block.

"I was proud of them for fighting the whole way through," Burke said.

Aycock owned a 50-34 edge in team kills, while Northern Nash led 12-6 in blocks and 19-12 in aces. Eight Golden Falcons combined for 38 assists in the final match for five seniors -- Burroughs, Gay, libero Madison Martin (29 digs), Cierra Harris and Morgan Foss.