PASADENA, CA — The East Los Angeles College No. 1 doubles team stopped a 26-match win-streak of Pasadena’s No. 1 duo in a 15-6 Huskies badminton loss at Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium.
The No. 1 ELAC doubles team won a 21-15, 21-15 thriller against Pasadena’s No. 1 duo, who are the defending CCCAA State Doubles Champions.
The ELAC doubles win was the last match of the day. Pasadena already clinched the team win, but the importance of the Husky doubles win was good enough to quiet Pasadena’s cheering.
The ELAC freshmen duo of Jean Mornelle Buenaflor (South El Monte HS) and freshman Serena Lieu (Sierra Vista HS) stunned the Lancer duo of Rebecca Tzou (Redlands Gorman Learning Center) and Sandra Maw (Arcadia HS).
The No. 1 Pasadena doubles team had not lost since April 3, 2015 to the then No. 1 De Anza College doubles team. Tzou and Maw later beat that team for the doubles state title.
“I thought Jean (Buenaflor) and Serena (Lieu) could beat the defending state doubles champs because they have great chemistry together,” said ELAC Head Coach Qui Nguy. “They were pumped up and hungry (for the win).”
The chemistry showed on the court as Lieu was most effective setting up the birdie for Buenaflor’s smashes; however, they switched roles when necessary. Tzou/Maw asked for birdie changes several times during the match.
In the second set Buenaflor/Lieu were down 11-10 then went on a 6-2 scoring run that included two smashes, one from each ELAC player, to lead 16-12.
With the Huskies up 17-14, Buenaflor hit a cross-court smash, from left to right and ELAC scored the first of three-consecutive points.
Pasadena led 5-1 after the First Round of singles rotation play. ELAC won the day’s marathon match for the first Huskies point.
Buenaflor, who is ELAC’s No 1 singles player, was a 13-21, 22-20, 21-15 winner against Pasadena’s No. 2 player Eugenia Mendez (Covina HS). Mendez was previously undefeated in SCC singles play this year.
“We will work on our flaws we had against PCC for our next meeting with them,” said Nguy.
Nguy said although a win against rival Pasadena is important, he focuses on improving the players’ singles and doubles play leading into the SCC and state finals.
“The (CCCAA) State Championships are at PCC this year. The team trains hard as they prepare for those events.”
Pasadena is on top of the SCC standings at 3-0 followed by El Camino College (1-1), ELAC (2-2) and El Camino-Compton Center (0-3).
The Huskies return to action against El Camino College in a battle for sole possession of second place in the SCC. The match will begin at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 18 in the North Gym. ELAC won at El Camino, 11-10, on Feb. 26.
No. 1 Buenaflor def. No. 2 Mendez 13-21, 22-20, 21-15; lost to No. 1 Rebecca Tzou 21-16, 21-8.
No. 2 Serena Lieu (Sierra Vista HS) lost to Tzou 21-9, 21-18; def. Mendez 21-17, 21-9.
No. 3 Han Le (Vietnam Asian HS) lost to No. 4 Maw 21-2, 21-9; lost to No. 3 Daniela Raygoza (Azusa HS) 21-12, 21-5.
No. 4 Katherine Un Vong (Mark Keppel HS) lost to Raygoza 21-3, 21-6; lost to Maw 21-2, 21-2
No. 5 Vanessa Yong Xian Liang (China Taishan No. 1 HS) lost to No. 6 Hong Yan Liu (Jiangmen School China) 21-9, 21-10; lost to No. 5 Jennifer Delgado (Pasadena HS) 21-9, 21-5.
No. 6 Chris “Pei Jie” Li (China Chao Yang Foreign Language School) lost to Delgado 21-5, 21-9; lost to Liu 21-9, 21-7.
No. 1 Buenaflor/Lieu def. No. 2 Mendez/Raygoza 21-7, 21-8; def. No. 1 Tzou/Maw 21-15, 21-15.
No. 2 Han Le/Vong lost to Tzou/Maw 21-3, 21-4; lost to Mendez/Raygoza 21-7, 21-8.
No. 3 Liang/Chris Li lost to No. 3 Ana Espinoza (Azusa HS)/Diana Resendiz (Esteban Torres HS) 21-5, 21-4.
story submitted by Tadzio Garcia