By RYAN HERMAN
VALE –– Following West Lincoln’s overwhelming loss at Maiden last week Rebels coach Tammy Leatherman vowed her volleyball team would bounce back, and it did against Lincolnton.
Amanda Ritch had six kills and Ashton Johnston accounted for seven points as host West Lincoln handled the Wolves 3-0 Tuesday to sweep the regular season series and gain ground in Southern District 7 Athletic 2A Conference play.
“I think we played a lot better. We played more as a team,” Leatherman said. “We covered for each other.”
While the Rebels (3-6 SD-7) made plenty of mistakes of their own, they benefited from 47 Lincolnton errors –– 16 on serves alone.
After winning the first set 25-16 in part to 16 Wolves miscues, the teams combined for 32 errors in the second set, won 25-22 by West Lincoln.
The errors frustrated Lincolnton coach Kathy-Jo Lindroth, but were used as fuel by the Rebels.
Nicole Arzuaga led Lincolnton with 10 points, mostly on drop shots and hits to where the defense was not.
Of the 75 points scored by West Lincoln, nearly 63 percent of them were due to errors.
“At this point I’m at a loss for words, really,” Lindroth said. “We gave them 16 points on missed serves alone. That’s really the biggest thing I’m upset about.”
All three sets began with an error by the Wolves, and in the first the Rebels started with eight unanswered points to pull ahead 8-0 and never look back.
The second set also went West Lincoln’s way, as did the third, which was won by the Rebels 25-19.
Lincolnton (0-9 SD-7) tried its best to rally and keep the game going, turning a 24-16 deficit to a 24-19 game. But an errant serve gave West Lincoln its final point and the game, snapping a two-game skid.
The Rebels are at East Lincoln on Thursday. The last time the two teams played West Lincoln gave up a two-set lead to fall 3-2.
Leatherman believes her team, one spot behind the Mustangs in sixth in the league standings after East Lincoln’s 3-0 loss to Maiden on Tuesday, is more prepared to close things out this time around if it finds itself in the same scenario.
“Anytime you get some momentum going it helps you,” Leatherman said. “Just the fact that (against Lincolnton) they were playing as a team, covering for each other, helping each other, when one got down they pulled them back up. That’s what we’ve got to do against East Lincoln. We’ve got to be a team.”