Sports in the News
Captain Leads Way As Badminton Completes Perfect SCC Season
With top player Priscilla Lun unavailable and No. 2 player Iris Xu injured, the Pasadena City College women's badminton team saw its "Big 3" down to one going into its South Coast Conference final dual match Friday. That left sophomore JK Nguyen-Le to truly serve her role as team captain.
Nguyen-Le gave a stirring pre-match speech to her teammates and it inspired the Lancers to complete a perfect SCC season at 12-0 with an 18-3 win over East Los Angeles College at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium. PCC Head Coach Bill Sanchez has directed three straight conference team titles as his program extended a SCC winning streak of 23 matches dating back to last year.
"Right before I handed out the pre-game lineup, JK said she wanted to talk to the team," Sanchez said. "I was really impressed with what she had to say. She talked about how important it was to accomplish their team goal, which was to finish undefeated in conference. She told them that just because two top players were out didn't mean they couldn't do it. I was inspired. Heck, I wanted to grab a racquet myself and play after her speech. JK then performed at No. 1 singles and was near perfect. She took a new doubles partner and played at a level I hadn't seen from her before."
Nguyen-Le (pictured) swept past Huskies No. 1 player Lisa Vittayarukskul, 21-8, 21-11, and No. 2 Leanna Xu, 21-11, 21-13. At No. 2 doubles with fellow sophomore Thoa Huynh, the pair defeated Vittayarukskul-Xu, 21-14, 21-8, and upended Diana Su and Diana Kwok, 21-13, 21-10.
Sanchez also was impressed by his other doubles team of Jewy Liang and Ellen Yu, who beat Vittayarukskul-Xu, 21-13, 21-17, and Su-Kwok, 21-18, 21-4. Liang, Huynh, and Clara Chang each recorded a pair of singles wins. Nina Sangalang added a singles win and the doubles team of her and Chang also scored a match victory.
PCC will participate in a two individual tournaments and play two non-conference matches in Northern California in preparation for the May 4 Southern California Championship match. The Lancers, last year's state runner-up and SoCal champion, will play the winner of the Orange Empire Conference (still playing conference matches). Irvine Valley and San Diego City are vying for that conference's first place.