Ayden-Grifton defeats North Lenoir in battle of top ECC teams
AYDEN | A matchup between top teams in the Eastern Carolina Conference turned Ayden-Grifton's way quickly.
North Lenoir made a strong push, but fell to the Chargers 25-13, 25-19, 25-13 Wednesday. The Chargers (14-1, 6-0 ECC) got off to a blistering start and kept the momentum for their 14th consecutive victory.
"We kept working hard, communicating and doing what we've been doing all soon," Ayden-Grifton's Aaleyah Garris said.
The Chargers started the game on a 6-0 run, highlighted by a pair of Jordan Cannon service aces and two Zion Hardy kills. Ayden-Grifton would continue the onslaught, eventually going up 21-2 on a Garris kill. North Lenoir (11-3, 4-2) would score eight unanswered, led by three Summer Spence aces, to cut the deficit to 23-12, but Alexia Bryant's kill ended the run and Hardy's spike gave the Chargers the set.
Ayden-Grifton took the first three points of the second set, but North Lenoir fired back with a 6-1 run, highlighted by a Paytyn Jones kill and Kennedy Sullivan service ace. In a set with seven ties and four lead changes, North Lenoir would go up 15-14, but Emily Dykes' kill, followed by two aces would set up a 5-0 run and keep Ayden-Grifton ahead. Garris' ace would end the frame and put the Chargers up 2-0.
"I think we came together early and then got in our own heads later," Dykes said. "We were too focused on not making mistakes when we needed to just play our game."
North Lenoir jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set, but Ayden-Grifton countered with a 7-1 spurt, highlighted by three Bryant kills. The Hawks wouldn't get within three for the remainder of the match as the Chargers continued their impressive run.
Ayden-Grifton coach Linda Bryant said it was a good win, but there were lapses in need of rectification.
“We have to clean it up in certain areas,” Bryant said. “We have to be consistent the entire match and because the girls have been able to come back in some games, they’ve felt like they can do that all the time. In the playoffs, there could be a time where that’s not possible and we can’t just play hard for a while and then ease up.”
North Lenoir coach Heather Carson said there were some positives to take in Wednesday’s contest.
“I’m proud of the girls’ efforts, especially in the first set,” Carson said. “They could’ve given up after that start but they didn’t and got stronger over time.”
The teams will face each other again on Oct. 9, this match in La Grange.