Chapel Hill had been deep into the state volleyball playoffs many times before, while just appearing in a third-round game was historic for C.B. Aycock.
The two squared off in the state 3A tournament on Saturday night, and while the Golden Falcons were competitive for long stretches the Tigers just had too many weapons.
Senior Kyra Crider had nine kills while classmate Shea Golden added seven as Chapel Hill – seeded second in the bracket – topped Aycock 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-16).
The result set up the Big 8 Conference champion Tigers (22-5) for a fourth-round trip to top-seeded West Carteret on Tuesday night.
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“I liked how we came out with so much more focus tonight,” said Chapel Hill coach Ross Fields, who took over a program that had won state 4A crowns in 1994 and 2003 under the legendary Sherry Norris. “On Thursday night, Cleveland came in and really gave us a battle (losing in five sets.) We knew we’d have to fight again. Tonight we took a very good team out of a lot of things they wanted to do.”
Aycock finished 18-8 after suffering its first loss outside the Eastern Carolina 3A/4A this season.
“This was a great group of girls to take into battle,” Aycock coach Tangela Faulkner said. “We just struggled with serving and receiving tonight. We’ll just have to work even harder in the future.”
The first and third sets were the most competitive. In the first the score was tied four times and Aycock led by as many as three points.
But a string of seven straight serves from June Arricastres gave the Tigers the lead for good in that one.
Crider had three kills and an ace in that set, including a kill for the 25th point.
“Energy is something we struggle with a lot, but we didn’t tonight,” Crider said. “We were able to have a lot of fun.”
In the second set, Chapel Hill was up 2-1 before four straight serves from Golden including a pair of aces.
“We had really good energy and intensity, and our defense was amazing,” said Golden, who is headed for Middlebury College next season.
Katie Huge, the co-captain along with Golden, had 24 assists for the Tigers.
The score was tied four times early in the third set. But a strong of five straight serves from Huge helped the Tigers to a six-point lead.
Junior Arlanda Faulkner put up big numbers for Aycock, finishing with 14 kills, 12 digs, two aces and a block.
“We just didn’t play very well as a team,” Arlanda Faulkner said. “I didn’t think I had a good night hitting, either. But we all have those nights.”
Cassandra Lassiter had 17 kills to lead the Falcons, while Hannah Carter had 18 assists and 12 digs.