By Jeremy Balan
Lowell High School rallied back from a nine-point deficit to win a crucial third game en route to a 3-1 win (20-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-17) at Galileo High School on Wednesday.
With the match tied up at 1-1, Galileo (8-4, 4-1) jumped out to a 14-5 lead early in the third game, but Lowell (5-3, 3-0) capitalized on frequent Lions mistakes to go on a 12-3 run and tie the game at 17-17.
Galileo recaptured the lead three more times in the game and held a 22-20 lead, before Lowell scored the final five points to go ahead 2-1 in the match.
The Lions appeared demoralized by the comeback and never threatened in the deciding fourth game.
“At that point, it felt like our guys couldn’t pick it up,” said Galileo Head Coach Huynh. “They made a lot of errors and couldn’t turn it around.”
The Cardinals were led senior middle blocker Spencer Wong, who had a game-high 13 kills.
“Spencer is solid and it comes from a lot of hard work,” said Lowell Head Coach Steven Wesley. “He’s really quiet, but he packs a punch that no one expects. Because no one expects it, he surprises them every time.”
Lowell also got solid contributions from senior outside hitters Zhongjie Huo and Alvin Ho. Huo had seven kills and Ho had five aces.
Galileo was led by outside hitter Jacky Peng, who had nine kills in the first two games, but only tallied a single kill in the final two games.
“We’re very inconsistent and inexperienced,” Huynh said. “We had trouble sustaining positive things for a long period of time.”
The Lions most consistent spark throughout was middle blocker Pat Ale, who had six kills and eight blocks, which would often bring out booming chants from the Galileo crowd.
“He’s our energy guy,” Huynh said. “I just hope that the rest of the guys can pick up on that, because we’re very quiet and that’s not helping.”
Both teams came in undefeated in AAA play, and with the win, Lowell moves into first place outright.
“We still have a lot of work to do, because they’re going to come back even harder [in our next meeting],” Wesley said. “We can’t sit back and be comfortable whatsoever.”
Huynh and Galileo are looking forward to their rematch with Lowell on April 23.
“This game reminds us that we need to keep improving,” Huynh said. “We want another shot at them and we’re going to beat them next time. Hopefully the boys get the message.”