PCC women’s badminton team lost the 2016 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) State Team Championship to Fresno City College (FCC) on May 12, despite cruising through the South Coast Conference (SCC) all season. However, Pasadena’s Rebecca Tzou placed first in the 2016 CCCAA State Individual Championship on May 13-14.

Going into the CCCAA State Team Championship, the PCC Lancers had just seized the championship title of the SCC with a winning streak of 12-0.

“Our goal was to win the State Championship this year as a team,” said PCC head coach Jennifer Ho.

PCC’s top players, Rebecca Tzou and Sandra Maw, defeated FCC’s top players, Lucy Lor and Panhia Vang, in both singles and doubles. However, Fresno was able to defeat PCC’s lower ranked players and the Lancers fell 11-10 at home. Fresno clinched their first statewide team championship title.

“It was a tough game. I was playing more than 100 percent of myself,” said Maw. “My right thigh muscle was pulled and my toe nails were bleeding.”

In the CCCAA State Badminton Individual Championship the next day, PCC’s Tzou and Maw were the defending 2015 doubles champions. Due to injury suffered by Maw, the duo did not get to play. Both Maw and Tzou were in tears.

“I was really sad because I was really banking on doing a repeat of last year’s championship,” said Tzou. “It really hurt that I could not defend my title.”

For the doubles finals, East Los Angeles College’s Jean Buenaflor and Serena Lieu defeated FCC’s Lor and Vang to win the double’s championship, 14-21, 21-11, 21-16. PCC’s pair of Eugenia Mendez and Ana Espinoza won the consolation doubles title, beating De Anza’s YuYu Hsuan Liu and PanYue Liao, 21-17, 21-12.

“I had to win,” Tzou said. “We had to win somewhere. We had been this close but we never got there.”

Despite underperforming as a team, Tzou crushed her opponents and won the singles championship with a perfect 33-0 season. Tzou rallied to defeat Cora Tanuwidjaja of Irvine Valley, 18-21, 21-10, 21-15.

“This gold medal was not just for me. It was for my team and my partner Sandra, who was in pain,” said Tzou. “The gold medal was shared by my teammates and passed around.”

Tzou’s teammates ran on to the court to bear hug her from every direction.

“When Rebecca won the runner-up singles title last year, I knew that she had the chance to be number one this year,” said Ho. “In addition to skills and endurance training this year, we mentally prepared her to work under pressure.”

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