News: Lancer Ortiz Settles For 3rd Place Medal In State Badminton
In the individual singles semifinals of the Pasadena City College-hosted CCCAA Women’s Badminton State Championships Saturday, Lancer Angie Ortiz looked poised to advance to the finals. She won a hard-fought first set and was three points away in the second set from clinching her match v. Skyline's Anna Nguyen.
With a partisan Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium crowd cheering her on, Ortiz led 18-12 in that second set before it all unraveled for the sophomore. There would be no back-to-back state titles for PCC's greatest women's badminton player to date. Nguyen took advantage of sloppy play and unforced errors by the usually consistent Ortiz, and went on an amazing 9-0 run to win the second set on her way to an upset victory, 18-21, 21-18, 21-17.
The stunning loss prevented Ortiz from facing De Anza's Pinky Li in the final. Li would defeat Nguyen for the 2013 state singles title, 21-17, 21-11. Ortiz finished the year at 38-3 in singles, including her second straight South Coast Conference Player of the Year award (also a two-time conference doubles champion) and the Grossmont Tournament title.
Ortiz's undoing this year was against North region players as all three of her losses were against NorCal opponents from De Anza, Skyline and City College of San Francisco. This was a dominating season for the North as De Anza College won the state team title on Thursday and then captured the singles crown and placed the two doubles finalists with its pair of Li and Jessica Dinh winning that title on Saturday.
Against Nguyen, Ortiz used her athletic court coverage and her signature overhand smash shots to control the match for most of the first two sets. Nguyen, a lefty, though used a variety of finesse plays and gained momentum during her late rally in the second set. In the third game, she pulled ahead by as much as six points and Ortiz continued to make unforced errors allowing Nguyen to pull away.
"Angie had such a great run for us," said PCC head coach Bill Sanchez. "Sure, it would have been great had she made it to the finals or even won the title, but things don't always go as planned in sports. She came out of nowhere at last year's state tournament as a freshman underdog to win, and she played this year as a favorite. All over the state, players were taking her very seriously and trying to knock her off. You have to give Nguyen credit for not folding in that second set. For two years, Ortiz was a joy to coach and a terrific competitor here at PCC."
Ortiz, from Mexico, received a state third place medal (as did the other semifinalist, De Anza's Katherine Ja). Sanchez indicated that Ortiz may come back as a student-assistant coach next year to help out the Lancers.
[Photo--Angie Ortiz plays a shot during the CCCAA State Championships singles semifinals on Saturday at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]
Release Date: 05/12/2013