Last Wednesday the PCC badminton emerged victorious against San Diego Community College in two “nerve-wracking” doubles performances.
“The journey was nice,” Coach Jennifer Ho recalled. “But we got there and only had an hour to warm up.”
The team had to hit the ground running since San Diego’s home court advantage afforded them a comparatively extensive warm-up.
The teams were neck and neck throughout the first 10 singles and two doubles championship matches. When it reached the last two matches, San Diego was ahead, and the Lancers needed to win both of the last two doubles matches to clinch the victory.
The first match was close. “The sets were 21-14, 19-21, and 19-21,” Ho said. The Lancers started off slow, but, after analyzing the opposition’s gameplay in that first losing set, they played superiorly.
The pressure was on for the Lancers during the match’s third set. “In doubles we had to win both to go on to finals,” sophomore Xiaoming Yao said, “But the other team just needed to win one doubles match.”
“Me and Jessie [Lee] [had played] their number one and number two singles, and we lost both,” explained Yao. But, as it turns out, singles gameplay does not always translate to doubles. “Me and Jessie kind of practice a lot for doubles; I think we were better than them in teamwork.”
Yao’s teammate came in clutch to win the deciding point against San Diego in that last set. Yao described the moment—a bird placed in an impossible spot by the opposing team, and Jessie somehow reacting fast enough to return it—“It was really amazing because no one expected her to get that bird.”
That was only one of two. The underdogs still had one match to go to secure the win.
After Yao’s match, freshman Sophia Nguyen said of her doubles match, “the first set we won; the second set we lost; then the third we had to win.”
Her match held the most pressure of the entire day, yet she was calm and composed in the face of her team’s fate.
She contrasts her biggest mistake, her backhand, with her favorite moments, “smashing” the bird.
“When I would hit it to them [with my backhand], it was really slow, so it was easy for them to hit it back,” Nguyen said. “The other team would give us easy birds, high and in the middle of the court, so that I could smash them.”
In her retelling of her match, Nguyen does not seem to have felt very stressed. It is no wonder, though, as she says, “I play Monday to Friday, two hours each.” 10 hours of practice makes for quite the level head.
The team will play Fresno at home on Thursday at 3 p.m. for the State Championship final.
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