It was looking like a state women's badminton title was finally coming to Pasadena City College. After trailing for much of the CCCAA State Team Championship Team Final v. North champion Fresno City College and down 9-8, the Lancers appeared to be in position to win during the last round of doubles Thursday.
The PCC sophomore squad of Rebecca Tzou and Sandra Maw had turned around its No. 1 doubles match to take control by early in the third set. The No. 2 doubles team of Eugenia Mendez and Ana Espinoza had a 1-0 set lead and an 11-5 advantage by the second set of its last match.
But things unraveled for the Lancers No. 2 team as Fresno's second pairing of Melody Zhou and Wenting Liang brought the Rams back with eight straight points. Within 12 minutes after Tzou-Maw had accomplished a 3-set victory to give PCC an emotional 10-9 lead, Fresno's Zhou-Liang completed its 3-set comeback that gave the Rams their first-ever state championship, 11-10. Fresno celebrated on PCC's Hutto-Patterson Gym floor.
Pasadena's perfect season was no more at 12-1. It was the second time that the Lancers lost to a first-time champion as City College of San Francisco recorded the North region's first state title at the expense of PCC in 2010. That was also by an 11-10 score that came down to the last doubles match (No. 1 in that match). Fresno completed its perfect season at 10-0.
"I knew it would go down to the last round of doubles, but it just didn't go our way," said PCC head coach Jen Ho. "I'm very proud of our effort. Both our best players played great the whole match in Rebecca and Sandra."
Fresno held a 9-8 lead after the second round of singles as the Rams bottom ladder of Liang, No. 5 Leslie Lam and No. 6 Belinda Vue all scored their second match victories. The toughest was Liang's 3-set triumph over PCC No. 4 Espinoza, 21-9, 15-21, 21-14. Pasadena kept it close thanks to No. 2 Maw's second consecutive 3-set win, rallying to defeat Lucy Lor, 14-21, 23-21, 21-11. In all, Pasadena went 6-0 in upper singles while Fresno took the lower singles also at 6-0 in team points.
Tzou-Maw, the defending state individual doubles duo, came up with two big victories, the second its late victory over FCC's No. 1 team of Panhia Vang and Lor, 18-21, 21-18, 21-17. The two top players kept Pasadena in the match with two singles victories a piece.
Fresno won in only its second appearance in the state finals, the last in a loss to San Diego City in 2007. It was the second consecutive year that the state team final ended in an 11-10 decision and fourth time in the tourney history.
Now the Lancers will concentrate on the final two days of the state championships with the individual tournament on Friday-Saturday, May 13-14.
STATE FINAL BOX
SINGLES, Round 1
#1 Rebecca Tzou (PAS) def. #2 Lucy Lor (FRE), 21-15, 21-13;
#2 Sandra Maw (PAS) def. #1 Panhia Vang (FRE), 21-17, 18-21, 21-14
#3 Eugenia Mendez (PAS) def. #4 Wenting Liang (FRE), 21-16, 21-19
#3 Melody Zhou (FRE) def. #4 Ana Espinoza (PAS), 21-11, 21-10
#5 Leslie Lam (FRE) def. #6 Hong Yan Liu (PAS), 21-9, 21-12
#6 Belinda Vue (FRE) def. #5 Jennifer Delgado (PAS), 21-10, 21-9
Score: Fresno City 3, Pasadena City 3
DOUBLES, Round 1
#1 Tzou-Maw (PAS) def. Zhou-Liang (FRE), 21-9, 21-16
#2 Vang-Lor (FRE) def. Mendez-Espinoza (PAS), 21-18, 21-11
#3 Mai Der Vue-B. Vue (FRE) def. Delgado-Diana Resendiz (PAS), 21-9, 21-11
Score: Fresno City 6, Pasadena City 5
SINGLES, Round 2
Tzou (PAS) def. Vang (FRE), 23-21, 21-16
Maw (PAS) def. Lor (FRE), 14-21, 23-21, 21-11
Mendez (PAS) def. Zhou (FRE), 21-16, 21-12
Liang (FRE) def. Espinoza (PAS), 21-9, 15-21, 21-14
Lam (FRE) def. Delgado (PAS), 21-12, 21-16
B. Vue (FRE) def. Liu (PAS), 21-10, 23-21
Score: Fresno City 9, Pasadena City 8
DOUBLES, Round 2
Tzou-Maw (PAS) def. Vang-Lor (FRE), 18-21, 21-18, 21-17
Zhou-Liang (FRE) def. Mendez-Espinoza (PAS), 12-21, 21-18, 21-16
Final Score: Fresno City 11, Pasadena City 10
[Photo--Lancer Sandra Maw makes a play during the CCCAA state finals Thursday at PCC, image by Richard Quinton.]