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San Francisco Takes State Badminton Title Over PCC, 11-10

San Francisco Takes State Badminton Title Over PCC, 11-10 image

The Pasadena City College women's badminton team came oh so close to a state team title Thursday. The Lancers greatest season in 11 years of the intercollegiate sport came to a thrilling finish, but it was City College of San Francisco prevailing, 11-10, in the CCCAA State Team Championship Match at PCC's Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.

PCC, the Southern California champion, saw a 13-match win streak stopped and ended the team season at 13-2. San Francisco (9-0) made history by becoming the first Northern California team to win a badminton state title.

The championship came down to the final No. 1 doubles match.

The Rams’ duo of Maggie Choy and Janice Wong came back from an 11-6 deficit in the third set and beat PCC’s No. 1 freshmen pair of Iris Xu and JK Nguyen-Le, 21-12, 11-21, 21-18. Xu’s point gave Pasadena its last lead at 16-15 before San Francisco’s squad went on a 5-0 run. Wong’s overhead smash landed for match point, ending PCC's season. 

The Lancers lost despite their Nos. 1-3 players sweeping their six singles matches. Xu, No. 2 Jewy Liang, and Nguyen-Le all were 2-0 in singles play. Unfortunately for the Lancers, their bottom ladder went pointless against CCSF with the Rams picking up four key points behind two match victories each by No. 5 Jody Chan and No. 6 Chloe Chung.

The momentum of the match switched in PCC’s favor prior to the third set of the No. 1 doubles contest. The Lancers’ No. 2 team of Liang and Anna Tom roared back from a 1-0 set deficit to defeat Wendy Zhu and Rufina Wu, 13-21, 21-18, 21-12. In the third set, Zhu-Wu led 11-9, but Liang-Tom, the heroes of PCC’s Southern California championship match win over San Diego City College May 5, went on a stunning 12-1 run to win two key points that gave the Lancers a brief 10-9 team scoring lead.

San Francisco was tied 3-3 after the first round of singles, took a 6-5 lead after the first doubles round, and had a 9-8 lead going into the final two doubles matches.

“You just can’t ignore the value of depth,” said PCC Head Coach Bill Sanchez. “We had a stronger upper ladder, but San Francisco had depth all the way through from 1 to 6. People think those bottom ladder points don’t mean much, but in a state title match, they made the difference.”

San Francisco Co-Head Coach Fred Glosser had a two-word description for the final doubles matches. “Heart attack,” he said. “At the midway point of the two doubles, I’m thinking we’re going to win at No. 2 and lose at No. 1. When we lost that No. 2, it really looked like we were in trouble. The two PCC girls are great players, but we found a way.

“In badminton doubles, to make the right serve can mean everything. We started to come back because Janice Wong was making perfect serves.  With Wong and Choy, you got two sophomores with experience and they kept their composure.  Doubles was our strength coming into the match.”

Choy-Wong also recorded a doubles win over Liang-Tom, 21-11, 21-19. Another key point for San Francisco was when Wu (No. 3 singles) downed Tom, 17-21, 21-11, 21-17 in the first round.

The 11-10 score was the closest state final since San Diego Mesa won the very first badminton championship by the same tally against De Anza in 2000.

Even in defeat, Sanchez thought the entire match was a great experience for his team.

“You see how competitive a Tom and Liang were for us, and you can’t help but feel proud about their efforts,” Sanchez said.  “All of our players worked hard to get this far. We made it to our first state final, and now we want to get back here and finish the job next season.”

[Photo--Pasadena's JK Nguyen-Le makes the shot with doubles teammate Iris Xu looking on during the CCCAA State Championship match Thursday at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 05/13/10
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
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