SCC Outlook Bodes Well For Women's Badminton

Natalie Ong is PCC's No. 1 player in 2018, photo by Richard Quinton.
Natalie Ong is PCC's No. 1 player in 2018, photo by Richard Quinton.

Every season, the Pasadena City College women's badminton team is a top contender for the South Coast Conference title. But every year, the Lancers are never truly sure how far ahead of the competition they will be until the matches are played. Once formidable East Los Angeles is one team that was no match for PCC after the Lancers took 34 of 36 sets in a 21-0 rout of the host Huskies Wednesday.

Now 2-0, PCC continued its three win streaks--37 in a row in regular season matches, 32 straight in SCC play and 15 consecutive overall. The team is 42-0 in its two 2018 victories. Only El Camino, a 12-9 winner over East Los Angeles, hasn't faced the Lancers and will do so when the Warriors visit Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium next Wednesday, Mar. 14.

"I really thought East LA was going to be better this season," said PCC head coach Jen Ho. "But I also believe that while we don't have that dominating type singles player, our overall ladder is as good as I've coached here. We mixed it up v. Compton in the season opener to allow our reserves to get action in singles. Here we used our best ladder and it was impressive."

No. 1 sophomore Natalie Ong gave up just 13 points, including a 21-4, 21-0 clinic over ELAC No. 1 Chinh Chu Lai, in winning her two singles while No. 2 letterman Amy Huang also swept her two singles, pushed a little in a 21-13, 21-14 win over Huskies' No. 2 Alice Chang. 

The rest of PCC's ladder, No. 3 Xioming Yao, No. 4 Grace Bajar, No. 5 veteran freshman Asiana Pitackul and No. 6 Mikaella Reamico, each won their two singles contests. Only Bajar had to go three sets in a 21-9, 17-21, 21-17 over ELAC No. 3 Cathy Gu. In doubles, the All-American pair of Ong-Huang had an easy time in their sweeps. The No. 2 pairing of Jessica Lee and Pinky Cheung also won two matches, including rallying to beat ELAC's No. 2 of Alice Change and Carol Chang, 13-21, 21-14, 21-13. Finally, the No. 3 doubles of Yao and Quynh Trinh swept its only match. 

"What is gratifying for me is to be able to use all nine of our players in these conference matches," Ho said. "It was tough the past few years because we had some players who just didn't get enough playing time from match to match. This year, we have a perfect blend which allows for the freshmen to improve and gain match experience. This will make us better later in the season."