Badminton: After perfect season, Falcons fall at League Finals

June 8, 2018 — by Jeffrey Xu

The Falcons coast through their league season, but meet tougher competition at the tournament.


After a perfect 12-0 season in the El Camino Division, the varsity badminton team competed in the annual Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) tournament, which was held at Gunn High on May 3-4. None of the team members were able to qualify for CCS in the end.

While the Falcons attended the event as a team, all players competed individually or with their partners. Instead of just playing with regular season opponents in the second division, the Falcons also faced stronger players from the upper division.

The team entered the tournament without their star player senior captain Stephen Ding, who plays varsity boys’ singles, since he was ill that day.

Each school sent their top two players in each category of boys’ singles, girls’ singles, boys’ doubles, girls’ doubles and mixed doubles.

The top male players included freshman Ryan Hsiao and sophomore Daniel Ning for boys’ singles and sophomore Alvin Ren with sophomore Jeffrey Xu and senior captain Austin Wang with freshman Wilson Fung for boys’ doubles.

For the girls, it was freshman Katie Chen and Christine Zhang for girls’ singles and senior Isabelle Yang with senior captain Mana Shimokawa and sophomore Joanna Wang with sophomore Rachel Yamamoto and Joanna Wang for girls’ doubles.

Finally, for mixed doubles, sophomore Cameron Chow with senior captain Catherine Zhang and junior captain Nathan Luk with junior Mackenzie Lee competed.

Catherine Zhang attributed her loss at SCVALs to her lack of communication with Chow, saying that they weren’t able to cover for each other’s shots throughout the court.

“Cam and I both expected each of us to cover different shots so that created some conflict on court,” Catherine said. “Doubles players especially should communicate, and rather than blaming each other, they should try to find a solution.”

She also said that by implementing different approaches to team practices next year, the team will be able to win many games in the upper. De Anza Division.

The problem, she said, was that the team this year mostly only practiced within the team instead of scrimmaging others. By playing only within the team and with teammates they are already familiar with, players start forming habits for where they hit their shots, and create vulnerabilities in their game.

In order to practice against people with different players, Catherine Zhang said the team should try to organize more scrimmages with other schools.

“Even though none of the players on our team made CCS this year, we still had a great season,” she said. “There’s no denying that we’re a much stronger team now than before, and our perfect record proves it. If our team does more conditioning and scrimmages, we’ll be sure to excel in the upper division next year.”


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