Lincoln will look to rebound after Oakmont loss

Zebras could be on playoff bubble
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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The Lincoln High girls volleyball team finished their first round through the Foothill Valley League with a 2-3 record. As fate would have it, they had to begin the second round playing the FVL’s No. 2 and No. 1 teams back-to-back.

No. 2 Oakmont came calling Wednesday and came away with a 3-1 decision, similar to the first meeting between the two clubs Sept. 17. There was improvement in the second match, but both teams displayed it.

“It was kind of a very similar match that we had (Sept. 17), other than the end of it being so tight that it was not the same as our previous against them,” said co-head coach Emma Oehler. “But other than that it was still a 3-1 loss and at the end of it they just came out the better team.”

In the first meeting, Oehler said the Fighting Zebras were taken back a bit by the Vikings’ speed. Wednesday, Lincoln seemed to counter Oakmont’s speed well, but the visitors showed they have advanced well beyond speed.

“We lost most (preseason games) and that’s fine; they were better teams than us, some of them are, and that’s how (we) got better,” said Oakmont head coach Devon Quok. “Entering league, we went on a seven-game winning streak and lost Monday for the first time in a few weeks. (We were) 4-1 coming in tonight, second place outright, and then took care of business tonight, which we should continue to do the rest of the league season going into playoffs.”

Quok attributed her team’s current success to a tough preseason schedule. Before entering league, the Vikings were 9-11, having lost seven of their first eight games of the season.

Quok said she has a young team (two seniors) eager to learn from those ranked teams that beat them early on. Lincoln does have a couple more seniors, but for the most part is a young team as well.

“We could have played a tougher preseason this year; we really could have. We had some tough competition in tournaments and some non-league,” Oehler said. “But level of play, (Oakmont) definitely plays a tougher preseason and they do run a strong offense and we have some young girls coming up that haven’t seen that yet.”

Ironically, the Zebras are ranked higher in the Sac-Joaquin Section than the Vikings. That could well change, however; depending on how Lincoln fares in their final four regular-season games.

Against Oakmont, the Zebras lost the first two sets 25-17 and 25-18. Sept. 17, Lincoln lost the first set 25-13 and won the second 25-17. However, the Vikes went on to win sets three and four 25-13, 25-21.

Wednesday, the Zebras won set three 29-27. The home club got great blocks from Mackenzie Eutsey, Ellyse Cook and Morgan Colyer. Colyer and Makayla Franco began supplying the firepower and forced Oakmont into a number of errors.

Lincoln jumped out to a 17-7 lead at one point, but then let the Vikings back into the contest, tying the set at 25-25. But a couple bone-jarring kills by Colyer ended the match in the Zebras’ favor.

The fourth set was a 25-18 win by the Vikes.

“We’re going to do our very best (to make playoffs),” said Oehler. “I think we have enough potential to do it and we definitely have the talent to do it. So if we can come together and continue to work together I think we can be an absolute contender to make the playoffs.”

Lincoln has one more home match; the rest will be on the road. Nevada Union comes calling Oct. 15; the Zebras fell to the Miners 3-0 in the first round.