By RYAN HERMAN
VALE –– After being swept in straight sets at Maiden and down two sets at West Lincoln, East Lincoln’s volleyball team refused to quit.
The Mustangs have their second conference victory to prove it.
East Lincoln kept the game alive by rallying from a six-point deficit late in the third set, came from behind to take the fourth then held steadfast in the fifth to knock off the Rebels, 3-2, on Thursday for its second Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference win.
West Lincoln took the first two sets 30-28 and 25-16, and had the Mustangs (2-1, 2-1) in a hole at 19-13 in the third. But they rallied to win the pivotal third set, 25-21, the fourth 25-23 and the final set 20-18.
Taylor Wilson had seven aces, 13 service points and five kills, Cassidy Whisnant had 13 service points, two aces and two kills, Ashley Blackwell added nine service points, two aces and two kills, Katelyn Nickols had five service points, four kills and an ace, Brittany Dove had 11 service points, four aces and five kills and Alyssa Cureton had 10 service points, five kills, an ace and two blocks.
Six points away from winning its second conference game this week, West Lincoln (1-5, 1-2) lost the serve when Dove’s push over the net made it 19-14.
East Lincoln then rattled off the next four points, three of which came on Rebels errors, and pulled within one at 19-18.
A kill by Erin Huff gave West Lincoln a two-point cushion, but a kill by Dove began a 7-1 East Lincoln run that kept the game going.
The Mustangs trailed 20-18 late in the fourth set before using a 6-1 run to take control and force it to a fifth and deciding set.
East Lincoln jumped out 3-0 –– the second time it scored the first point of a set –– and led by as many as four at 12-8. But behind the serve of Madison Ferguson and a kill from Ashton Johnston the Rebels took the lead at 13-12.
Again, two points away from dropping their second straight league game –– the Mustangs fell to Maiden 3-0 on Tuesday –– they rallied to force the set into extra points.
Tied at 18, a West Lincoln error gave East Lincoln the lead. Huff’s shot then hit the pole atop the net, handing the Mustangs the victory.
Ferguson had 15 service points, five aces, three kills and a block, Kayla Bumgarner had 16 service points and an ace, Marlee Boston had 10 service points, Huff had six service points and four kills, Amanda Ritch had two blocks and two kills, Johnston had six kills, there service points and a block, Maria Baker had 14 service points and five aces and Megan Gloska had two aces and four service points.