By William McMahan
East Los Angeles College badminton team lost 20-1 and falls to 5-3 overall with a tough road loss to Pasadena City College at PCC. ELAC is in second place behind PCC, but it seems like they can’t defeat them.
All three of ELAC’s losses have come from PCC this year, with scores of 20-1, 19-2, and 20-1,“ PCC has one of the best teams I’ve ever seen them have. They have a good chance to win state,” said 11 year coach and four-time South Coast Conference champion Qui Nguy. PCC is the team that stands in ELAC’s way when it comes to winning the championship this year. Badminton has lost the last 11 games against PCC in all competitions.
The last time ELAC defeated PCC was on April 23, 2014. That same year the Huskies reached the Southern California Regional Finals. ELAC sophomore standout Jean Mornelle Buenaflor (South El Monte High School) who is ranked is No.2 in singles on ELAC’s team.
She is new to the quality of competition like this. Last year Quan was competing in China against opponents her own age. But, in college she is going against players that are more experienced and older. “She has never played in competitive competition like this; she has to get use to it. She is getting better game by game,” said Nguy. The team has one more game to prepare for the SCC SoCal playoffs May 3.
ELAC has only one more match to work on offense and defense if they want to compete for the state championship. ELAC won the SCC doubles title last year, which will be entering poised for another run at the championship. “The biggest thing before state is to get the chemistry between Jean and Quan good, they need to work off of each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” said Nguy who won his last team title in 2014.
The Huskies have been able to qualify for the playoffs since 2013. ELAC will play against El Camino Compton Center on Friday at 2 p.m. top two in the conference, scored their only point on Friday for ELAC, beating Hong Yan Liu 21-13, 19-21, 21-12. Buenaflor, whose strength is her over the head smashes, really puts her body and full rotation into it when she makes contact with the birdie over the net.
She didn’t have the offensive support from the rest of her team this afternoon. Coach Nguy has recently put Buenaflor with Freshman Quan Zhang (China/Beihai) in doubles match preparing for the playoffs. He had split them up at the beginning of the season so they could spread around the points. “They need to get their chemistry right, Quan has to work on setting Jean up so she can use her smashes,” Nguy said.
The last match was the first time Zhang and Buenaflor were partnered up. The chemistry is getting better match by match. However, the duo lost on Friday against Natalie Ong and Amy Huang , with the score, 21-9, 21-14 and against Sarah Thaw and Hong Yan Liu 15-21, 21-8, 21-13 Zhang and Benaflor’s partne