Girls Volleyball: Lincoln beats Balboa again in championship rematch

Lincoln's Cathy Cai (right) and Michelle Cai (left) leap up to contest a Balboa attack on Friday at Balboa High School. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

By Bonta Hill

In a highly anticipated rematch of last season’s Academic Athletic Association championship between Lincoln and Balboa, it was the Mustangs that once again walked off the court in jubilation.

The visiting Mustangs outlasted the Buccaneers with an exciting and hard-fought 18-25, 25-23, 25-21, 27-25 victory in both teams’ AAA opener on Friday in a packed Balboa gym.

Lincoln freshman Rianna Menikheim follows through on an attack against Balboa on Friday at Balboa High School. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

Trailing 23-19 in the fourth game, Lincoln scored eight of the next 10 points, including freshman Amanda Loo’s kill with Balboa needing just a single point to force a fifth game.

Loo would then serve up an ace to put the Mustangs ahead, and after Balboa’s return on the next point wend out of play, the Mustangs began to celebrate.

“During the timeouts, I told the team not to look at the score. If we win [or] lose, just go down fighting,” said Lincoln assistant head coach Curtis Lee, who was serving as head coach in the absence of Vincent Tang. “It was a stressful [game and] Balboa’s a very good team, but I like the way we fought tonight with two players out with injuries.”

Fighting and scraping is what Lincoln did, especially when it looked like the match was going into a fifth game.

Loo, fellow freshman Rianna Menikheim, and the Cai sisters, Cathy and Michelle, were strong all night for the Mustangs.

The sisters combined for 11 blocks and nine kills, Loo finished with four aces and six blocks, and Menikheim finished with six kills.

“The Cai sisters are really huge to our blocking scheme and the way we set up our defense,” Lee said. “Loo was actually sick tonight and Menikheim had an injured thumb, but they just kept fighting through it.”

Balboa, which was coming off of a three-game sweep of University, never faced a deficit of more than five points in the match after controlling the first game.

The Buccaneers were led by Cynthia Ngan’s 17 kills, and the solid play of libero Shayna Provochnick, but couldn’t get the critical points when they needed them.

“I felt like our execution was off a little bit, and Lincoln doesn’t make that many mistakes, and we couldn’t capitalize on big plays,” said Balboa head coach Val Cubales.

As the big home crowd left disappointed, Cubales reminded his team that it’s still a young season with much bigger games to play down the road.

“It’s the first game of the season. We have to keep our heads up because we were playing great, and we just have to learn from this and have fun,” Cubales said. “The whole league has improved, so we’ll have to take it game by game and not just worry about Lincoln. Lowell is there, Burton and Mission have improved, and Washington is still in the mix.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The Cai sisters can Dunk!

  2. Anon says:

    “Trailing 23-19 in the fifth game”…there were only 4 games;
    I think your individual stats are totally off. You are mixing up players.
    The game of volleyall is not just highlighting the hitters. Someone who really knows volleyball would know it takes good passes and sets for the offense The hitters depend on defense specialists and a good setter in order to execute the plays. By giving inaccurate stats and not analyzing adequately, you are not giving credit where credit is due.

    • Observer says:

      This is dumb, passes and sets are a big part of the game just like a catcher throwing the ball back to the pitcher or a football center making a snap to the quarterback. How often in a story do you hear “The center made 50 perfect snaps in the game? You don’t because that would be stupid and boring. Just because you are a defensive player or a setter or your kid is a defensive player of setter doesn’t mean you need to come on here and complain because you didn’t get your name mentioned in this article.

      • ffff says:

        Football, and Baseball are two different sports, it takes less skill to throw a ball back the the pitcher, or hike a ball between your legs.

      • Anon says:

        Oh, my bad??? So I guess Posey (SF Giant’s catcher) only has to throw a ball back to the pitcher…I guess anybody can do his job???
        Perhaps it was boring hearing about him during the World Series….

        • Observer says:

          Another idiot. At any point did I say that’s all the catcher did? I made an analogy of how defense and passing in volleyball, when done correctly, doesn’t warrant mention. Like throwing the ball back to the pitcher or snapping a ball in football. Maybe you should take some reading comprehension classes.

          • vballfan says:

            But you are wrong, defense should be mentioned. And it was, for only about one sentence but it was still mentioned. Without the defense you can’t get anywhere and trust me it isn’t boring. Despite that I think everyone is getting a little to carried away with this whole analogy thing..

            • Observer says:

              LIKE I SAID, passing and defense are important, but a snapper is never going to get any ink in an article when a quarterback throws for 300 yards. Ask any coach and they’ll say the center on a football field is one of the most important positions, but it doesn’t factor into a story, just like a libero or a setter may be in volleyball. This isn’t really that hard to understand people.

  3. Anon says:

    “Trailing 23-19 in the fifth game”…Thank you for quickly correcting this.

  4. vballfan says:

    I agree with everything you are saying with the defense and setters, but in this case who would you suggest get more credit, and on both teams?

    • Anon says:

      The Balboa libero was mentioned in the article but she was really key in serve receive and even stepping in front of fellow players in the back row to give good passes to the setter. In addition, she dug
      some key Lincoln hits to convert them to their advantage.
      On the other hand, Lincoln’s passing and digging was not as consistant so the setter had to run everywhere to push out the sets and put them into play including blocking and defending the right back.
      In terms of giving hitters credit on kills, you have to look at the number out of total attempts. In terms of this match, Lincoln came out ahead because they didn’t give up and kept fighting as a team.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Kara Wong is M.V.P in my book !

  6. Anonymous says:

    balboa’s libro is theeee best libro i seen so far. she digs every ball.

  7. VB fan says:

    I agree that the Setter & Libero are important, but that can be mentioned in the schools newspaper, at the school level. The Balboa Libero does good but she is not consistant (respectfully).

    At the end of the day, people only remember who won, and when they see KEY players, they know which VB CLUB they come from, because everyone who KNOWS volleyball, knows that all key players come from CLUB and do not get their skills from the high schools around here!!

    • Fan of volleyball says:

      You sound pretty stupid. Libero and the Setter are almost the key players. Think about it. Without a good back row pass, and a setter that runs around everywhere if a bad pass is made, the front row HITTERS, would not be looking good at all. Hitting is not everything..they (libero and setter) should be mentioned in this article. Also, not all key players come from club. But I agree that good players are known for clubs, and don’t get their skills from high schools :)

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