The story coming into the day was who wasn’t there.
In front of the full roster of both teams and a vocal contingent of fans, Jun Ouyang’ s power serve was too hard to return, givinghe and partner Alan Ly a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 victory at No. 1 doubles and the Mustangs a 4-3 victory. It was the first section title in school history for top-seeded Lincoln (8-0), which has knocked on the door for years but watched Lowell win 17 straight championships and 59 of 70 overall.
Balboa, which finished the year 6-2 after beating the Cardinals 4-3 in the semifinal, was also looking for its first title.
“Half of this team is seniors and Lowell has won every year since we’ve been born — 1990,” Ly said. “We’ve said all year this was our time and it’s pretty hard to describe now that we’ve done it.”
Ouyang and Ly — playing their first official match together all season — seemed to be on the secondary stage for much of the afternoon with much of the crowd focused on the No. 4 singles match between Simon Zhong of Balboa and Mark Solovey of Lincoln. The two baseliners traded rallies of 20-plus shots from the first point through a third-set tiebreaker, until Zhong finally outlasted Solovey 6-4, 3-6,
“My guys seemed like they were cruising and then all of a sudden it’s 5-5,” Lincoln coach Greg Simmons said. “And like everyone here, I tensed up.”
Ly and Ouyang recovered to force five errors and break Balboa in the next game before Ouyang served out the match. The Mustangs advance to the NorCal tournament, while Balboa can take solace in knowing it played for the title just four years after finishing last in the Academic Athletic Association.
“On the first day of practice, I told the guys we were the best team and we ended practice every day by holding a tennis racket up and simulating celebrating a championship,” Simmons said. “And man does it feel great to get the Lincoln name on that trophy.”
Doubles: Alan Ly-Jun Ouyang (L) def. Phillip Chung-Jude Xie 4-6, 7-5, 7-5; Aaron Wu-Willis Wong (L) def. Josh Tam-Roger Lam 6-3, 7-5; Jeffrey Chum-James Wan (L) def. Ryan Zhong and Derrick Duario 6-0, 6-1.