By RYAN HERMAN
After losing its first three games all Tammy Leatherman asked of her West Lincoln volleyball team was for it to be more assertive.
The Rebels responded in a big way.
West Lincoln dug deep to rally from a big hole in the first set, then didn’t let up as it knocked off Lincolnton 3-0 Tuesday for its first win of the season.
Set scores were 26-24, 25-15 and 25-15.
The Rebels (1-3, 1-1 Southern District 7 2A) trailed 18-10 late in the first set, and after a timeout called by Leatherman came out fired up.
They used a 14-6 run to tie it at 24-all, then scored the final two points, including Erin Huff’s drop shot, to clinch the set.
“That was the big momentum changer,” Tammy Leatherman said.
From then on the Rebels rolled.
West Lincoln, which played “well-balanced,” Leatherman said, had 12 aces and nine kills as a team.
Madison Ferguson had four aces, and helped spark a 7-0 run in the second set that put the Rebels up 12-7.
Lincolnton (0-3, 0-2) got to within four at 13-9 in the set, but West Lincoln, which last week lost to 3A schools Fred T. Foard and North Lincoln and dropped a conference game to Maiden, used a small 4-0 run to stretch it back out and win the set by 10.
Again the Rebels attacked the net in the third and deciding set, breaking free from a close game early to go ahead 8-3.
The teamwork continued and gave them a much needed win, especially on a rival’s home floor.
“We have a hard time beating Lincolnton at Lincolnton,” said Leatherman, now in her third year leading the Rebels’ varsity. “It was very big.”
While the season’s first win was big for West Lincoln, the Wolves were left still searching for theirs.
Sarah Greer and Nicole Arzuaga had five kills each, Arzuaga added 23 digs, Greer 12 digs and Ashley Duncan had 11 digs and a block for a Lincolnton team that has been shutout now in nine straight sets.
After the Wolves jumped in front big early, coach Kathy-Jo Lindroth thought her team had possibly turned the corner.
Following West Lincoln’s rally, Lincolnton’s frustration started to mount.
“We were excited, we were winning, and then all of the sudden (West Lincoln) came back,” said Lindroth, whose team was swept by North Lincoln and Newton-Conover last week. “It messed us up pretty good. It was hard to come back after that.
“We can play (but) when we make some mistakes or we’re down we feel like we can’t come back.”