March madness: Women’s badminton team competes in the Mesa College tournament


David Pradel

Freshman Emerald Liu (front) and sophomore Gina Niph (back) both compete in the doubles round of the second annual Mesa College Badminton Tournament on March 20, where Liu and Niph made it to the semifinals of the doubles bracket. Photo credit: David Pradel

David Pradel, Sports Editor

After eight hours of badminton at the second annual Mesa College Badminton Tournament, the players from the San Diego City College women’s badminton team found success among four other teams on March 20.

“It was kind of unexpected — I didn’t expect anyone to win anything today, we came in here just to see how the other teams play. I am very pleased on how the players performed and also very pleased on (sophomore Gina Niph) winning in the singles,” women’s badminton team Head Coach Son Nguyen said.

In the women’s single elimination bracket, it featured a total of 35 players from Pasadena College, Irvine Valley College, Grossmont College, Mesa College and City College.

On her way to the championship match in the women’s singles, Niph defeated four players, including her freshman teammate Thao Le in the semifinals.

In the championship match, Niph battled it out against Pasadena College freshman Rebecca Tzou. It was a close match from the start, as both traded points back and forth but Niph came out on top on her path for first place by beating Tzou (22-20, 21-18).

“I was so surprised that I won singles. I haven’t played her and haven’t seen any of their team before going into this tournament,” Niph said.

“Once I played her I was feeling my groove. Surprisingly, during my game (Coach Nguyen) didn’t say much. He did keep an eye on her earlier in the tournament but before my match he did said ‘keep everything in and just attack,’ which I like doing,” Niph continued.

Along with Le, freshman Shessira Paredes were both awarded semifinalists medals at the end of the tournament in the women’s singles and also in the doubles, Le and Paredes teamed up and made it to the semifinals round.

Also, in the women’s doubles, Niph and her freshman teammate Emerald Liu made it to the semifinals and were also given medals.

“In the doubles, we didn’t have our full line-up and I didn’t expect them to make it to the finals but it’s still pretty great that we had our two doubles team make it to the semifinals,” Nguyen said.

Nguyen went on further to say that Pasadena College is a really strong team and primarily he used this tournament to see how the Knights played against them before they see them again later in the playoffs.

Pasadena College recently beat players from De Anza College, the team the Knights lost to in the State match last year.

“I think we are all capable of playing better than we did last year, we just have to keep practicing and work harder for that goal,” sophomore Trinh Lang said.

The Knights currently have a 3-0 conference record and have a few weeks before their next match against Imperial Valley College.

Nguyen expressed that during the next few weeks, he is focused on getting the team to improve in the doubles matches and will use this time on possibly reworking the doubles lineup to see who plays better with whom.