By Erik Machuca
Pasadena City College edged the Huskies 13-8 in a key South Coast Conference match at home last Friday.
The Lancers own a 37-game South Coast Conference win streak and a 16-game win streak of the Huskies. They are favored to win the SCC.
During the streak, the Huskies came close to upsetting Pasadena losing by one point three times. The Huskies came close this year.
The Huskies could not stop Pasadena City College’s the SCC’s top player, Angie Ortiz who ran the show for the Lancers.
She helped her team to six of the 13 points for the four-time defending South Coast Conference champion Lancers.
The Lancers took eight of the 12 singles matches and three of the five doubles matches.
Ortiz was the CCCAA state singles champion in women’s badminton last season, said she worked on her conditioning in the offseason.
She won both of her singles matches in convincing fashion, 21-10, 21-10 and 21-5, 21-5, and was two for two in doubles along with sophomore teammate G
race Espinoza, 22-20, 21-15, and 21-8, 21-7.
In the absence of Huskies Head Coach Qui Nguy, Huskies Assistant Coach Lena Zeng rallied the team.
Husky Cherry Lai, standout of the day for the Huskies, was well aware of the Lancers streak and came prepared.
After losing the first set in her opening doubles match, freshmen Lai and Yuki Tai came back for the Huskies to trounce Pasadena freshman Shaghig Avadisian and sophomore Lancer Alyssa Boyt, 18-21, 21-5, 21-8.
“We’ve been practicing since February. We know they’re a tough opponent coming up and have many returning players,” Lai said.
Lai also defeated sophomore Grace Espinoza in a singles, 21-8, 21-16. Tai won her singles match over freshman Alejandra Palacios, 21-16, 21-15.
The Huskies entered the season with only three returning players, Shirley Su, Siqiong Pei and Kelly (Cong) Tian.
In the Huskies other doubles win, returning sophomore Shirley Su and freshman Suki Kwan squeezed by Avadisian and Boyt, 24-22, 21-19 in easily the most exciting match of the day.
Husky freshmen Chuyan Lao and Karen (Siying) Pei both defeated freshman Lancer Xiwei Yan in singles matches, 21-10, 21-3, and 21-17, 21-19, respectively.
Lancers Head Coach Bill Sanchez said he knew East Los Angeles College would be a tough match.
“We practiced hard. We know that we are going to be in a battle every time we come here,” Sanchez said.
The team doesn’t see that as a drawback. “Our top player this year is Cherry,” Zeng said.
Though only a freshman, Lai brings a confident demeanor to the team and encourages them to have fun.
“We practice three days a week, the girls are very motivated, and we take on extra practice if we need to,” Lai said. “We want to win state. We’re going all the way.”
The Huskies will get another shot towards that goal today at El Camino at 3 p.m.