The Lancers walloped the Huskies, 11-2 twice, at East Los Angeles College (ELAC) in Monterey Park during a double header on Friday ending the 2019 regular season, and earning PCC another South Coast Conference title.
All 10 Lancers played throughout the busy afternoon, several in multiple games.
“We’re doing very, very well. The kids have a lot of energy today,” said head coach Jennifer Ho during the second match.
Xiaoming Yao dominated in her four singles games, 21-9, 21-9, 21-6, and 21-2. Emilie Kintanar won a 23-21 singles tie break, beating back a tough fight by the Huskies.
Two Lancers shared the day’s biggest scores, winning 6 points each for the team. Freshman Sophia Nguyen won 10 games, including eight in singles. For every 21 point game, Nguyen allowed her opponents only 9 or fewer points. Sophomore Jessica Lee, in her final regular-season play, won her eight games and scored the most doubles points.
“We’ll make it to the finals. That’s my confident [prediction],” Lee said.
Some Lancers are expected reach the top tier and play in the state individual championships for both singles and doubles, Lee added.
In each match, the Lancers kept the Huskies’ wins to one game in singles and one in doubles. Despite the Lancers’ dominance, both teams worked to create a competitive yet friendly atmosphere. On several occasions during games, the Lancers and Huskies praised each other across the net for good plays and techniques.
“It’s overall positive energy,” Lee said. “You can’t play badminton by yourself.”
The Lancers also scored their 15th South Coast Conference title with Friday’s wins, while retaining a 100% conference win streak. The 2019 title is Ho’s fifth consecutive at PCC. In a strong showing this season, the Lancers won 120 points in conference matches, giving up only 16 points to opponents (8 to ELAC, 7 to El Camino , and 1 to Compton) in the final score.
Friday’s victory gave the team a double dose of motivation and Lancer pride heading into the championships. PCC may face tough matches, particularly from the Coast Conference in northern California, where teams (including De Anza College) are traditionally very strong and competitive, Ho said. Earlier this season, the Lancers lost twice to De Anza.
The end of the season also brings a look ahead to upcoming team transitions. Lee is transferring to UC-Irvine in the fall. But before she will hit the court for the last time as a Lancer, she is helping her freshman teammates for continued success.
“Do drills, do drills,” Lee said. “I believe this year there is a lot of potential … They just need more time. We kind of rushed it in the beginning, since the practice season is not that long, and the games start right away.”
Yao will stay and evolve within the team.
“I think next year I’ll be the student assistant for the team,” she said, as she continues working toward graduation. “Just try my best to coach them, and just give them the benefit for improvement … they’re really a strong team.”
The Lancers now look forward to facing their rival — still to be determined — from the Pacific Coast Conference, covering Orange County and San Diego, in the semifinal match on May 1. PCC is hosting this year’s CCCAA state championship at Hutto-Patterson Gym. The tentative schedule has the state team championship on May 9, and two days of state individual championship matches May 10-11.
Back at ELAC, after the final game’s team handshake, Yao made a plan for whoever the Lancers will meet in the championships.
“My goal is to beat them!”
Her teammates smiled and cheered as they departed.