The preseason is a great time to prepare for league play, but not always the best indicator of how a team will fare in conference. The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section gives each league a certain number of automatic bids to the postseason playoffs and that’s of the ultimate goal for each team.
The CIF SJS offers the Pioneer Valley League three automatic bids in all winter sports except wrestling. Wrestling is earned more on an individual basis.
Basketball and soccer are team sports and Lincoln is looking solid – as far as preseason goes. The Fighting Zebras are at the top, or near the top, in all but girls basketball. Right now the lady cagers are sitting in fifth place with a 9-7 record. Placer is in fourth at 9-6.
Lincoln has a good team, but they are not consistent. Kalyna Kim leads the team in scoring, but she cannot carry the team. All five players on the floor at any given time have to know their roles and play them well.
The boys basketball team has developed into the heart-stop kids. In the nine games where the difference in the score has been held to single digits, the Zebras have won eight of them – two in overtime. They currently sit on top of the PVL preseason standings with a 13-3 record.
Placer and Colfax have kept pace, but Bear River and Center are dark horses. A loss to either one of them could mean staying home for the playoffs.
Boys soccer head coach George Bonilla seems to have found the magic formula for the playoffs. His Zebras lead the PVL preseason, where they are 8-0-1. And did I mention they are the CIF SJS Division III defending champions?
An easy-going coach, Bonilla has not scheduled any games since Lincoln shut out Mesa Verde 7-0 Dec. 22. Their first game since Christmas break was at Foothill (1-4-2) Wednesday. Hopefully the holiday rust will not play a factor in that one.
As it turned out, the Zebras did not lose that one, but did not win it either. The Mustangs rallied in the second half to tie the match 2-2. Lincoln’s record now stands at 8-0-2.
It should be noted that Foothill ranked just behind the Zebras in the PVL preseason standings.
Head coach David Zinzun also has the girls soccer team turning heads. His Zebras lost their first two matches and have not suffered even a tie since. They have outscored their last six opponents 34-2!
And if to make matters worse (or better, depending on one’s perspective), the girls club blistered Foothill 12-0 on the Zebras’ pitch Wednesday. The Lincoln JV girls set the stage for the victory by handing the Mustangs’ JV a loss by that same score.
Whether the girls club is better on offense or defense is really just a flip of the coin.
It is go time and the Zebras appear to be running a full gallop.