Badminton: Falcons drop early matches as new players fill varsity positions

March 11, 2017 — by Sherrie Shen and Rahul Vadlakonda

With a challenging season ahead, the badminton team has lost its first three matches, including a 21-9 loss against Cupertino High on March 9.

The highlight of the match were victories by No. 1 mixed doubles partners Spring Ma and Jason Zhao, who won their matches 24-22, 21-16, while the No. 1 boys’ doubles team of Stephen Ding and Josh Li prevailed 21-10 and 21-13.  

“I don’t think the players are mentally strong enough to handle the pressure that comes with matches, especially if the set is close,” Zhao said. “We are trying to bring out the intensity in practices, and hopefully we’ll see some progress.”

The team also lost 18-12 to Milpitas High on March 2 and 26-4 to Monta Vista High on March 7. Although the loss to Monta Vista was expected, the loss against Milpitas came as a surprise.

The team hoped that they would prevail against the Trojans, a team had just been promoted from the lower division. But the Falcons are still struggling to fill gaps left by graduating seniors, having lost almost half the varsity teaml.

There were many close matches vs. Milpitas including No. 1 girls’ doubles and No. 2 boys’ doubles, and if the Falcons won those games, the final score would have resulted in a 17-13 win.

Though the players’ confidence might have been hurt by the loss to a seemingly beatable opponent, Zhang said they will be able to move on from the loss quickly, an ability the coaches instill into the players through constant motivation.  

“The captains and the coaches were not affected by the depressing atmosphere and instead, encouraged us even more,” Zhang said.

The losses to Monta Vista and Cupertino were somewhat expected, since the two schools are top contenders for the De Anza  Division.

Assistant coach Calvin Blocker said that he would like the team to stay in the De Anza league, pointing at the team two years ago, which ended the season 3-7 and barely missed being demoted to the El Camino division.

“Last year we had a fairly good turnout,” Blocker said, “and it’s going to be a struggle, but that’s the whole deal with the contest.”

Key additions to the team include freshman Alvin Ren and Jeffrey Xu, both of whom play varsity boys’ singles.

Blocker said that this season will be a good experience for players, especially freshmen, as the team’s newer players have not yet seen such a “caliber of badminton,” and hopes that they will all work hard and improve their game.

Due to printing deadlines, the Falcon was unable to cover the match against Milpitas on March 16.