The 2018 Lancers Badminton team was one for the ages. The determination, confidence, and competitive superiority all combined to form a perfect storm for Pasadena to finish a perfect 13-0.
Head coach Jennifer Ho started the season with high expectations, and said after their 21-0 win over Compton that her team “were state champions last year, and I expect them to win this year.” Sophomore Natalie Ong also said “last year, we only had two girls that really carried our team to the championship…this year, I think our team is more well-rounded.”
It took three weeks for PCC to allow another point to an opponent (a 16-5 win at De Anza College), but the month of March saw four separate 21-0 wins for the Lancers. As the season progressed, coach Ho’s confidence bubbled.
“We expected hard competition [from the conference], but they did not give us one. We beat everyone pretty bad,” said Ho. “The games [were] no problem for my girls, we were well prepared, and the [season] was stress free.”
“I felt confident and relaxed; a little bit nervous for the first game,” admitted Ong. “After experiencing the game, I felt a little more confident.”
The Lancers may have been confident, but it’s only because of all the hard work they put in during the course of the season. “I treat every practice like a championship game, putting in 110%,” said coach Ho. “Practice helps a lot with conditioning and our shots being more consistent,” said Ong. Freshman Jessica Lee explained that “We train outside [of PCC] too. We play on our own at clubs…we all trained really hard.”
The motivation to go full-on in practice comes from the winning mentality that coach Ho instills in her team, although her players seem to naturally have the hunger to win.
“I am a very competitive person and I have high expectations,” the coach said. “We came this far not just because of our individual skills, but because we help each other improve,” Ong agreed. Lee echoed Ong’s thoughts, saying that she felt “we all have a good attitude, and a good atmosphere. It’s all very friendly.”
The months of April saw PCC in peak form, beating El Camino and ELAC twice, including another win over De Anza. The Lancers beat Irvine Valley at home 15-6 to win the Southern California Championship, and then beat Fresno by the same score to win the CCCAA State Championship in San Diego. “I don’t like losing,” sophomore Amy Huang said bluntly. “I want to keep my record. I haven’t lost any games, so I want to finish it.”
The attitude towards winning that the Badminton team possess is rare in sports. It’s easy to find a team that has confidence, and it’s easy to find a team that’s successful, but it’s rare to find a team that’s both. Coach Ho rounded her team up perfectly in 2018, and the awards won by the Lancers will forever be remembered in PCC history. What we’re seeing with PCC’s Badminton squad is not just a good team, it’s a dynasty.