Badminton Win Streaks Still Sailing

Amy Huang makes the return shot during PCC's win over De Anza Friday at the HP Gym, photo by Richard Quinton.
Amy Huang makes the return shot during PCC's win over De Anza Friday at the HP Gym, photo by Richard Quinton.

The Pasadena City College women's badminton team finally lost a conference team point, but its winning streaks continued last week. The defending state champion Lancers stretched their overall regular-season win string to 42 matches with a 20-1 rout over De Anza on April 6 after extending their South Coast Conference win run to 35 in a row in beating El Camino, 19-2, on April 4.

The Lancers are 7-0 overall (5-0 to lead the SCC). After four 21-0 wins by PCC, El Camino became the first South Coast team to take a team point from PCC this year. The Lancers' No. 6 player Pinky Cheung lost a pair of singles matches, both that went three sets against ECC's No. 5 Kalyn Kaemere, 21-11, 16-21, 21-6, and Maddie Simones, 21-12, 17-21, 21-19. Pasadena swept all of its other individual singles and doubles matches v. the host Warriors behind the play of No. 1 Amy Huang, No. 2 Xiaoming Yao, No. 3 Jessica Lee, No. 4 Grace Bajar, and No. 5 Asiana Pitackul. In doubles, Huang-Bajar, Lee-Yao and Pitackul-Cheung combined for all five wins. 

Against North Region opponent De Anza at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium, the Lancers greatly improved from their 16-5 win against the Dons on March 16. Natalie Ong played at No. 1 and swept her matches, 21-11, 21-11 over De Anza No. 1 Negar Hosseini and No. 2 Madi Ng, 21-12, 21-5. At No. 2, Huang also swept her matches, but overcame a tough battle over Hosseini, 21-19, 21-19, before downing Ng, 21-12, 21-9. At No. 3, Yao also went the distance and extra points in taking No. 3 Nataie Zeitman, 21-16, 13-21, 22-20. Lee, the No. 4 Lancer, rallied to beat Zeitman, 14-21, 21-15, 21-13. Both PCC players swept No. 4 Rose Zhou. Bajar, playing No. 5, scored two singles wins while No. 6 Pitackul split her matches, losing the only team point to Dons' No. 5 player Heather Ho in a wild one, 27-25, 21-17. Pitackul beat Minoming Tan, 21-7, 21-10.

In doubles, PCC's normal No. 1 Ong-Huang held both of their opponents to single digit scores, beating Hosseini-Ng, 21-9, 21-8, and Zeitman-Zhou, 21-6, 21-8. Yao-Lee outlasted Hosseni-Ng, 20-22, 21-16, 21-18, and beat Zeitman-Zhou, 25-23, 21-9. Bajar and Mikaella Reamico scored a No. 3 doubles triumph over Lydia Luang and Ginny Chaung, 21-19, 21-9. 

PCC head coach Jen Ho said, "When we've had to play tighter matches, our players have taken them away from opponents. The great unknown for us will be can our team play well enough at the SoCal Finals. We are likely to face Irvine Valley, which is expected to be better than what it performed the last few years."

PCC has four more conference matches yet to be played to prepare for the SoCal Championship match on May 2 at the HP Gym against the champion of the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference. IVC leads that conference at 6-0.