Lincoln spikers hope playoffs lead to Lowell

Most teams tied for first place don’t have much need for second chances. But that’s exactly what the Lincoln girls’ volleyball team is hoping for this postseason — another chance to beat 11-time defending champion Lowell.

The Mustangs (10-1 Academic Athletic Association) won 10 consecutive matches before falling to Lowell in the regular-season finale, pushing them back into a three-way tie for first. The Cardinals (10-1) drew the top seed for the San Francisco Section playoffs out of a hat and Lincoln will play at Balboa (10-1) today at 5:15 p.m. for the right to advance to Thursday’s final.

“Anything can happen,” Lincoln coach Charles Chan said. “It still feels like we can win the championship.”

Lowell will host fourth-seeded Washington (8-3) at 5:15 p.m. in the other semifinal and all four teams must feel as though they have a chance to win it all after a very balanced year among the teams at the top of the AAA standings. Lincoln lost to Lowell but beat Balboa in three games, while the Buccaneers were the only team to knock off the Cardinals. And although the Eagles lost to all three first-place teams, they didn’t even lose so much as a game in any of their other matches.

Still, Lowell has earned the right to be classified as the favorite and Chan blamed last week’s loss to the Cardinals on service errors and a certain “mysticism” that surrounds the program. The Mustangs lost to Lowell in four games in last year’s final, though this season’s young team is buoyed by the strong play of sophomore right-side hitter Lydia Lee.

“This is probably the most talented Lincoln team I’ve seen and coached in recent years,” Chan said. “[If they play Lowell again, they need to remember] they’re not playing the team that’s won championships 11 years in a row. They’re playing a brand-new team.”

No football tie: While the San Francisco Section’s volleyball seeds were determined at random to break the deadlock, commissioner Don Collins has ensured the final football playoff seed will not come down to a drawing. Mission (4-3, 2-3 AAA) and Balboa (3-6, 2-3) are tied for fourth and meet Friday at 4 p.m. at Kezar Stadium in the final regular-season game. The AAA normally resolves ties in accordance with National Federation of High School Association football rules — meaning each team gets the ball at the 10-yard line with four downs to score — and if the score remains even after three series foreach team, it goes down as a tie. But because of the circumstances, the league office has decided the Bears and Buccaneers will play overtime sessions under the lights until a winner is determined.

NorCal golf: Jari-Lee Tolentino of St. Ignatius fired an 11-over 84 to finish in a tie for 22nd place at Monday’s NorCal golf championships at the par-73 Spring Creek Golf and Country Club in Ripon. San Francisco Section individual champion Andrea Fung (94) of Lincoln finished 52nd, while section titlist Galileo finished 12th with a six-player total of 653. For complete results, go to www.cifstate.org.

Staff Writer Matt Elliser contributed to this report.

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