Badminton: Leagues determine team’s chance at CCS

June 9, 2009 — by Karen Lyu and Kevin Mu

The Saratoga badminton team’s CCS hopes were extinguished May 28 when its sole representative, freshman singles player Jeffrey Kuo, defaulted in his second round match against Monta Vista’s Gary Wang by arriving seven minutes late to his match.

Kuo got out of school later than he wanted and ran into lots of traffic, leaving him crushed that he couldn’t compete.
After a strong showing at Leagues, Kuo was optimistic heading into CCS. “I was confident and was determined to perform well,” he said.

Coach John Phung sent 10 of Saratoga’s top-ranked players represented Saratoga during the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League Playoffs (SCVALS) held from May 15-23, but Kuo was the only player to advance to CCS after placing second.

“I had originally expected more participation in CCS," said Phung. “I expected [Kuo] to finish [in the] top four.”

Doubles player junior Steve Chang, who played with junior Derrick Cheng in SCVALS, felt that the tournament was a good experience, despite failing to advance to the final rounds.

“The non-seeded teams were all around the same level so the games were really close,” said Chang. “The competitive atmosphere pushed us to play better than we have all season.”

Despite a paltry finish for the Falcons overall, Kuo was satisfied with his second place performance at SCVALS, citing a competitive 15-12, 9-15, 3-15 match against the heavy favorite Terrence Pang from Homestead High School, who is on the Junior Olympics team for singles.

“Leagues was fun. I think I played really well against Terrence Pang,” he said.

Senior prom, which took place on the same day as SCVALS, also contributed to the Falcon’s lackluster performance. With 10 seniors missing, the Falcons flew into the tournament lacking key players.

“I’d pick prom over leagues any day,” said doubles player senior Chris Sirivoranankul, “because prom is an event that you can't experience ever again.

The badminton team’s overall season record this year was 4-8. Phung attributes the less than inspirational results to “a lack of discipline and leadership among the athletes.” However, he did see improvement from some of the younger players towards the end of the season.

“Although the beginning of the season was disappointing, we finished the season at a fantastic pace,” he said. “I enforced more discipline and identified potential leaders to step up.”

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