Yingwen Lin of the PCC Badminton Team plays against ELAC at the Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium on Friday, April 11 2014. (Nagisa Mihara/Courier)
Yingwen Lin of the PCC Badminton Team plays against ELAC at the Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium on Friday, April 11 2014. (Nagisa Mihara/Courier)

With the upcoming season rapidly approaching, the women’s badminton team is shaping up to be a promising mix of new and returning players eager to reclaim the South Coast Conference title.

“This is the deepest and biggest team we’ve had in probably four or five years,” said coach Bill Sanchez. “I think it’ll be a very, very good team.”

Entering his eighth season as head coach, Sanchez has high hopes for this season. Besides the obvious goal of winning matches, he wants each player to improve and create bonds that will hold the team together.

“You always hope that we just get better every match,” he said. “Improvement is key. Our daily goal is to be a little bit better than the previous day and once the conference starts that we’ll be a well-oiled machine.”

Freshman Rebecca Tzou already feels comfortable on the squad and confident in the team’s abilities. Continuing the family legacy set by her four sisters, Tzou joined the team hoping to further her skills.

“I really enjoy it, [Coach Sanchez] is really good, and we have a nice, tight-knit group,” said Tzou. “We’re very supportive of each other and I really enjoy that because I know some other teams, there’s a lot of fractions…so it’s not a cohesive unit.”

Bonding is just as important to the team as practicing is. Without trust and respect for each other, the team cannot succeed since badminton is not a wholly individual sport; doubles requires a team of two working as one.

There will be many opportunities to bond over the course of the season, as the team will travel and often times have to stay overnight.

Returning sophomore Yingwen Lin also shares Tzou’s determination to strengthen her skills in addition to making more friends.

“I joined the team last year and it was good, but I didn’t play well, so I want to improve this year,” said Lin.

By giving each practice her greatest effort, Lin hopes to be a well-rounded player. While friendships and improvement are integral elements to the team, Lin has her eyes on the prize, particularly the conference title.

“I hope we can win the South Coast Conference this year,” she said, referencing the team’s prestigious history.

“[The team] has a long history of being the champions, and I hope to live up to that,” Tzou added.

For five consecutive years, from 2009 to 2013, the team walked away with the SCC championship title. That streak was broken last year, when the Lancers took second place in conference with a record of 8-4.

Whatever challenges the team may face, optimism, along with raw talent, should drive the Lancers into a competitive mindset determined to reclaim the championship title.

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