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"The Big 3" Gives Women's Badminton Right Start For 2011

As close as Pasadena City College came to a state title last year in a heart-breaking finals loss to City College of San Francisco, women's badminton head coach Bill Sanchez felt the 2010 squad was missing one important person. As the 2011 season opened Wednesday, Sanchez was excited over the prospect of having not just his two best players from last season coming back, but also welcoming the return of the missing person--2009's No. 1 Lancers' performer Priscilla Lun.  

Lun (pictured) took last season off to concentrate on her studies, but now joins the Lancers' version of the "Big 3" with 2010 top player Iris Xu and No. 2 talent and this season's team captain JK Nguyen-Le.

The sophomore trio swept its six singles matches and four doubles contests in defeating host East Los Angeles College, 19-2, in the South Coast Conference opener for both teams.

In the No. 1 singles slot, Xu downed ELAC's Ruth Wei (21-8, 21-5) and Khahn Dinh (21-13, 21-13). At No. 2, Lun showed her '09 form with routs over Wei (21-2, 21-2) and Dinh (21-3, 21-5). At No.3, Nguyen-Le battled in a victory over No. 3 Lisa Vittayarukskul (21-10, 21-19) and had an easier time with ELAC's No. 4 Leanna Xiu (21-7, 21-7).

In No. 1 doubles, Xu-Nguyen-Le swept past Wei-Dinh (21-16, 21-15) and Vittayarukskul-Xiu (21-7, 21-13) while Lun teamed with another sophomore Thoa Huynh at No. 2 doubles to beat Wei-Dinh (21-13, 21-14) and Vittayarukskul-Xiu (21-3, 21-6).

In No. 5 singles, yet another Lancer sophomore Jewy Liang won her two matches, and No. 6 player Ellen Yu, the team's only starting freshman, also recorded straight set victories. Liang-Yu then teamed in No. 3 doubles to win their only match over Dina Su and Diana Kwok (21-13, 21-8).

"You don't want to get ahead of yourself when discussing the potential of this team," said Sanchez, who directed the program's first Southern California Regional title last season and has coached back-to-back conference championships in 2009-2010.

"We got the Big 3, but it's important that the lower ladder does its part. It may not take all six players to win a championship, but you certainly can't do it on three or four players alone. The key is depth in the back end. San Francisco proved that last year with some lower ladder wins over us. With that said, we are loaded with seasoned, experienced players. We just want to stay consistent and be on an upswing late in the year."

PCC is scheduled to host El Camino College-Compton Center Friday, March 4 in a 2 p.m. conference match at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.

Release Date: 03/03/11
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu