Joseph Schell/Special to The ExaminerSenior Elaine Guan goes up for a spike during Balboa’s AAA championship victory against Lowell on Thursday at Kezar Pavilion.

Joseph Schell/Special to The ExaminerSenior Elaine Guan goes up for a spike during Balboa’s AAA championship victory against Lowell on Thursday at Kezar Pavilion.

Balboa makes history with first AAA title

Balboa High School finally put an end to its dreaded championship drought on Thursday night, and they did it against the Academic Athletic Association’s best team.

With a 25-23, 25-16, 15-25, 25-15 win over Lowell at Kezar Pavilion, the Buccaneers clinched their first AAA girls’ volleyball title in school history and ended what was an undefeated league season for the Cardinals.

Balboa has made the playoffs every year since 2004 and has reached the championship game in three of the past four years.

“I can’t even state it in words, it’s just huge,” Balboa coach Val Cubales said. “This sport has been dominated for so long by Lowell and Lincoln, but these girls have worked so hard to get here.”

The Bucs (19-11) were led by a match-high 15 kills, including five in the final game, from junior outside hitter Cynthia Ngan, but four other hitters also tallied five kills or more.

“It feels so great. We made history,” Ngan said. “We just wanted to beat them and give it to them. I don’t even have the words. We just got it this year.”

Balboa controlled the deciding fourth game, but it was a seesaw first game that put the Bucs up early. The opening game featured 18 ties, eight lead changes, and no team led by more than two points. Tied at 23-23, Ngan put down a kill to give the Bucs an edge, then a block from junior middle blocker Kayla Toatelegese put the game away.

“That was a big game, and that was a game we really wanted,” Cubales said. “It really set the tone for the rest of the match.”

Lowell (29-8) dominated the AAA all season and brought a 13-0 league record into the championship game, but never seemed to get in sync offensively, other than a standout third game.

“We just played tentative,” Lowell coach Steven Wesley said. “I don’t think it had to do with relaxing or being anxious, we were just over-thinking everything and tried to be perfect.”

CARLMONT 3, NORTH SALINAS 0
Third-seeded Carlmont struggled early, but defeated North Salinas 25-23, 25-13, 25-15 to advance to the semifiinals of the Central Coast Section Division I volleyball playoffs for the second straight year.

“I thought we really turned up our defense,” Carlmont coach Chris Crader said. “Even though we were making errors, we were digging so many balls it was hard for them to generate points on their side of the net.”

The Scots committed 19 errors in the first set, but started to turn it around as senior outside hitter Shelby Vance found her rhythm. Vance came up just short of a triple-double, finishing with 15 kills, 10 digs and six aces.

Zack Farmer contributed to this report.

Preps sports coverage provided in partnership by The San Francisco Examiner and www.SanFranPreps.com

Balboa High SchoolPrep SportsSan Franciscosports

Just Posted

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia Gombojav Zandanshatar said his country and San Francisco face similar challenges on issues including COVID recovery and climate change.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Mongolian leaders meet with tech, film leaders on city tour

‘I really want San Franciscans to meet the new Mongolian generation’

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10), seen during a team practice, connected on 17 of 25 passes in a Week 1 victory over the Detroit Lions. (Courtesy Terrell Lloyd, San Francisco 49ers)
Jimmy vs. Trey: The NFL’s most ridiculous QB controversy

Let’s not forget who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl

Most Read