It started with smiles and high-fives, advanced to hugs and became full-fledged body slams by the end.
In a season full of revelry for the Lincoln boys’ volleyball team, the Mustangs saved their biggest celebration for after the San Francisco Section final. Host and top-seeded Lincoln beat No. 3 Lowell 22-25, 25-18, 25-13, 25-16 Thursday in front of an enthusiastic crowd to complete a perfect 8-0 season and ended the match with a raucous group hug in the middle of the floor.
It was the eighth section title in 12 years the Academic Athletic Association has had the sport for the Mustangs.
"Our old coach Miss Mo [Florence Morodomi] always told us tolove the game and have fun on the court," Mustangs setter Curtis Lee said. "Because if you’re not doing that, what’s the point of being out there?"
Lee made plenty of his teammates happy Thursday as the senior spread his match-high 35 assists around to five players. Kenneth Lee and Brian Wong each had 10 kills for Lincoln, which had five-point runs midway through the second, third and fourth games to open up comfortable leads.
Sam Stewart (six), Jason Alvarez (six), Ramiro Raygosa (five) also had kills for Lincoln, while Curtis Lee added two — including a well-placed dink to end the second game.
"I like to keep them guessing — not only the other team, but our guys as well," Lee said of his willingness to spread the ball around. "You feed the hot hand, but if a guy makes a mistake you have to give it right back to him to keep the confidence up."
The Mustangs appeared to have their confidence shaken early in the match, when Lowell roared back from a 9-0 deficit to win the first game. But Lincoln regrouped during the changeover and didn’t trail again for the remainder of the match.
"I was a little worried because Lowell always seems to play their best against us," Mustangs coach Roberto Chui said. "But it’s hard to rattle our guys, and once they shook off those early butterflies, they played great."
Christopher Shinn led Lowell (5-3) with 15 assists, while Jonathan Li hammered down six kills. Outside hitter Frank Yang made a number of nice hustle plays and had three aces in a critical 6-0 run that gave the Cardinals control of the first game.
This was the final match of the year for both teams as there are no state playoffs.