Boys Volleyball: Galileo stuns defending champ Lowell in three-game sweep

Galileo junior outside hitter Jacky Peng puts the ball past a Lowell blocker on Thursday at Galileo Academy. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

By Jeremy Balan

In the 16 years that the Academic Athletic Association has featured boys volleyball, Galileo Academy has never won a league championship, but head coach Mark Huynh knows a little something about breaking championship droughts.

In 2009, his first year at the helm of Galileo’s football team, Huynh led the Lions to a AAA championship, breaking a seven-year drought.

This spring, he may have the horses to break another streak, after the Lions upset defending champion Lowell 25-21, 25-19, 25-21 on Thursday at Galileo Academy.

Galileo junior Jacky Peng tries to get the ball past a pair of Lowell blockers on Thursday at Galileo Academy. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

The Cardinals (2-4, 1-1) are a markedly different team from last year’s, so the win wasn’t a total shock, but Huynh knows there are still plenty of hurdles to overcome.

“I expected a challenge, and we were ready for five [games]. It was a surprise,” Huynh said. “I still think Lincoln is the team to beat. They should have won the championship last year, but Lowell came back and beat them. When we play Lincoln, we’ll really know how good we are.”

The Lions (7-2, 2-0), who are without a senior starter, were led by juniors Alan Tse and Jacky Peng. Peng had a match-high 11 kills and Tse added six, to go along with three aces and two blocks, but the pair combined for 10 kills in the first game, which opened up opportunities for other hitters.

“We tried to use the easy plays they gave us and not make mistakes,” Peng said. “There are still a lot of games to play, but it’s not a bad start.”

On a roster that features just two seniors, the pair of juniors have taken on a leadership role.

“They’re taking leadership and ownership,” Huynh said. “They know it’s their team and we’re excited about this season and next year, with all six of my [starters] still there.”

The Lions’ attack was more than competent, but the biggest issue for Lowell throughout was unforced errors. The Cardinals had 30 unforced errors in the game, including a stretch in the second game where 8 of the Lions’ final 12 points game on Lowell errors.

“A lot of the game is mental, so if you’re defeated mentally, it’s over with,” said Lowell head coach Steven Wesley. “The new guys don’t have enough experience to realize they just need to get over [mistakes] and snap back on the next point.”

Like Galileo, Lowell is very young, and with the loss of key seniors from last season’s team, Wesley is looking for new leaders to take form.

“The team is young, and they play like they’re young. That’s the one thing that’s going to hold them back,” Wesley said. “We had a good season last year, where some people were riding other people’s [coattails]. So it’s time for those people to step up a little. They needed a loss to feel that.”

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  1. ...... says:

    for the past four years, the coach of Galileo has had the horses to win AAA league champs in volleyball but has failed to do so. Why is sooo much credit given to the coach? Don”t most of his starting line up play club volleyball in the off season?

  2. Hugh says:

    Wow, boys volleyball….haha

  3. Steph says:

    The man the coach the father figure. He leads in any sport and every sport. Coach Huynh deserves this credit and much more. You name the sport and give him a team. Guarantee this man leads a teak to a championship. I don’t care who you are but it’s hard to find any coach in the bay area that has had his success in 4 sports.

  4. yoMAMA says:

    To the guy named “…”: You have no right to talk about Galileo’s coach like that. He is dedicated to his coaching. Not many public school coaches stay almost 3 hours after school to help the team and take his team to tournaments on weekends. Apparently they have been doing pretty well this season, and comments like this are unnecessary. To scared to put your real name? Obviously you are. Don’t hate because your team never won a championship when you were on the team. Like “Steph” said, I don’t care who you are but it’s hard to find any coach in the bay area that has had his success in 4 sports.

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