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With All Freshmen, Women's Badminton Opens 2012 On Winning Note

With All Freshmen, Women's Badminton Opens 2012 On Winning Note image

After three straight South Coast Conference championship seasons, the Pasadena City College women's badminton team entered 2012 with a little uncertainty. The Lancers and three-time, SCC Coach of the Year Bill Sanchez have reloaded the roster with all freshmen due to the graduation of his entire player ladder from the 2011 undefeated conference title team.

The only returning piece from the '11 Southern California Regional finalist and '10 CCCAA State runner-up teams is former team captain Jessica Nguyen-Le, who now is Sanchez's assistant coach.

While the coaches weren't sure what to expect in Wednesday's season opener, the newbie Lancers impressed Sanchez during a 15-6 victory over East Los Angeles College at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium. PCC extended its conference winning streak to 24 matches dating back to early 2010.

Pasadena's opening day No. 1 player Angie Ortiz (Pasadena High) and No. 2 Cynthia Gutierrez (one of three newcomers from Azusa High) were responsible for eight of the team's 15 scoring points. Ortiz dominated in singles wins over ELAC's No. 1 Leanna Xu, 21-9, 21-11, and No. 2 Xiao Dan Lei, 21-11, 21-7. Gutierrez fiercely battled to wins over Xu, 26-24, 21-19, and Dan Lei, 21-16, 23-21. In top doubles, Ortiz-Gutierrez scored wins over Xu-Dan Lei, 21-15, 21-9, and the Huskies' No. 2 squad of Diana Su and Shirley Su, 21-14, 21-12.

Another Lancer who did her part was No. 3 singles Grace Espinoza, who won matches over Diana Su, 21-13, 21-15, and a full-pack over Shirley Su, 21-12, 17-21, 21-10. At PCC No. 6, Beatriz Bermudez showed resilience with her comeback win over No. 5 Theresa Chiang, 15-21, 22-20, 21-11, and another tight one over No. 6 Pei Si Quiong, 22-20, 21-19.

Maybe the most gratifying performance of the day was turned in by Alyssa Boyt (originally from Bishop Lynch High in Dallas, Texas). Boyt, playing at No. 5, downed Chiang, 21-19, 21-17, and then teamed with Gabby Anjani (Temple City High) in an exciting rally for a win in No. 3 doubles over Chiang-Si Quong, 15-21, 21-15, 21-12.

"The more I think about the performance of Alyssa, the more I am impressed," Sanchez said in review of the win. "She picked up a racket for the first time about 12 weeks ago, and has showed up every day with a working attitude. A true Lancer badminton player that will just go out and battle with opponents. She is one of the most coachable kids I have ever worked with. Gabby played great after recovering from ACL surgery in the off-season. She has worked hard to get back in playing shape."

On the top of the ladder, Sanchez said; "Angie and Cynthia are two very skilled players. They are players who will continue improving with each match. Angie came out of the gate, taking control of her matches. Cynthia kept her composure in some closer sets."

PCC travels to face El Camino College-Compton Center Friday, Mar. 16, in a 2 p.m. contest.

[Photo--Gabby Anjani outstretches to return a volley during PCC's 15-6, season-opening win Wednesday at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, image by Richard Quinton.]

Release Date: 03/15/12
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu