The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Badminton pair doubles up to win conference

With determination in their spirit, Tomoe Okaguchi and Sabine Kuenstler’s badminton doubles team fought valiantly, advancing onto the finals while remaining undefeated.

In the South Coast Conference Tournament at the Manhattan Beach Badminton Club last Friday, Okaguchi and Kuenstler paired up to win the conference champion title, beating four teams and qualifying themselves for the state tournament at Pasadena City tomorrow.

In the singles match, Okaguchi took second place and Kuenstler took third place, gaining a spot in the state tournament.

“Everybody played very well,” coach John Britton said. “Okaguchi’s and Kuenstler’s relatively inexperienced couples did very well. It’s great that they ended up conference champions.”

“Kuenstler raised her game for the match. Surprisingly in the singles’ semifinals, she beat the number three seed from L.A. City and took third place in conference.”

Britton said it was a disappointment that Okaguchi, who was expected to be a conference singles champion, ended up in second place.

Okaguchi said that she had been sick since Monday and could not practice the whole week.

“Cold and cough took away her strength,” Britton said. “She was not at full strength.”

Even though she was not in good condition, Okaguchi’s smashes were powerful enough to finish atop the ladder.

But she said was too tired when she reached the final match against Lena Zeng from East L.A.; Okaguchi had already played five singles and four doubles games by then.

The first set of her final singles match was close. Okaguchi and Zeng attacked and defended well against each other, but Okaguchi lost, 11-8. Then, Okaguchi pulled herself together and beat Zeng, 11-1 in the second set.

“After the first set, coach gave me some advice,” Okaguchi said. “He told me to concentrate on serves and clears and that worked really well for me during the second set.”

The final set was a tight game. However, Zeng beat Okaguchi, 11-9, and became conference champion.

“It was a close set,” Okaguchi said. “I became very nervous after I missed one smash during the final set. I couldn’t regain my form because of that.”

Ian Sok Leong won her first singles game, 11-0, 11-0 and lost in her second singles game, 11-2, 11-2. Yee-Chiam Chiang lost her first singles game, 11-2, 11-0 and lost in her first doubles game paired with Yu-Chin Huang, 15-2,15-3.

Menique McShane lost in her first singles games, 11-4, 11-0. In her doubles game paired with Lei Nei Tang, they lost 15-2, 15-2.

Okaguchi and Kuenstler said they are making final adjustments as they prepare to advance on to the state tournament, their last games of the season.

“I need to work on my endurance and need to be more aggressive at the net,” Kuenstler said.

“I was too nice in front of the net. I need to push myself hard.”

Britton said that the state tournament will be very hard but has faith in the team.

“It’s a great achievement for them to reach the state final,” Britton said. “But it’s tough, and will depend on the draw. As long as we can stay away from Irvine Valley, we might do OK.”

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