"We come out really strong in that first game, we usually struggle in the second game and we fight back in the third game," Stigall said. "When the girls decide that they're going to win, then they start to play. That's something we're working on."
Boyle (12-10) has done much of that work in two major invitational tournaments. The Rebels went 3-2 in the Lafayette Invitational last weekend, and they were 2-3 in last month's Bluegrass Invitational, also in Lexington. They'll also play in a tournament at Seneca next weekend.
"We play in some really good tournaments," Stigall said. "I've tried to schedule some pretty competitive tournaments. It can do some damage to your record, but it helps you in the long run."
Shell said the players recognize the benefits of knocking heads with teams such as they have seen in the invitationals.
"We push ourselves, and we know what we can do," she said.
The Boyle girls can do more this season because of their work on the fundamentals of the game, Stigall said.
"Our skill level is there," she said. "We've really improved a lot this year, from hard hitting to serving to targets."
The Rebels haven't always been able to avoid jams such as the one they were in Tuesday against the Golden Lions, but perhaps they are better able to escape them.
Rebels trailed 9-3 before they rallied
After winning the first game against the Lions (6-15), Boyle fell behind 5-0 at the start of the second game and never recovered. The third game began exactly the same way, and the Rebels trailed 9-3 before they started to rally.
"I think it's just the want for the game," Shell said. "We realize that we're losing it, and we realize as a team what we have to do."
Sophomore Stephanie Slone had seven aces for Boyle, many of them in the decisive game, and junior Meagan Lankford had seven kills and four aces.
The win gave Boyle a measure of revenge for Boyle, which was eliminated from last year's 26th District Tournament with two losses to Garrard.
It was also the sixth straight loss for Garrard, which was winless in the Lafayette tourney. But coach Dennis Custard said his team, which has only two players with varsity experience from last year, is playing well even in many of its defeats.
"They did an excellent job last night," Custard said. "We've been playing good ball; they just can't finish. We've been in every game; we just can't get those two or three points we need."
The match ended with a confession by Garrard's Amie Noe, who admitted that a disputed Boyle serve that appeared to land out of bounds actually touched her first, giving Boyle the clinching point.
"She stood up to be honest, when I think there's a lot of girls that would lie. That says a lot about her," Stigall said.