Badminton team defeats Mesa College and clinches PCAC title


David Pradel

Sophomore Gina Niph reaches for the birdie during the second round of the doubles match against Mesa College on April 22 at the Harry West Gym. The Knights went on to win, 17-4 and clinched their fourth straight PCAC title. Photo credit: David Pradel

Franchesca Walker, Co-Arts & Features Editor

The women’s badminton team clinched their fourth straight Pacific Coast Athletic Conference championship title after beating Mesa College 17-4 on April 22 and remain undefeated with a 5-0 season record.

The victory over the Olympians continued their impressive PCAC streak to 27 consecutive wins since 2012.

This was the second time the girls played Mesa and won. However, Head Coach Son Nguyen explained Mesa came prepared and was better than the first game this season.

“They did pretty good knowing that Mesa was prepared for us this time. Last time they weren’t prepared for us … but they actually showed us that they are better,” Nguyen said.

During the four rounds of matches, it was clear that the Knights were the better team.

In the second round of the singles match, freshman Thao Le endured a long and tough match. It was a heated battled against her opponent as they played the longest match. However, Le prevailed and won both sets in the round, 21-9 and 21-14.

Le discussed it was difficult for her because she wasn’t concentrated. However, she achieved by winning both sets. “I wasn’t there mentally. But I tried my best,” Le said.

Although the team has done incredible this season by winning every game, they face their toughest game against Pasadena College next week.

Sophomore player Gina Niph is nervous for the match against Pasadena.

“Oh, I’m scared of that one. (Cassandra Ka) and I haven’t played their No. 1 (doubles team) in Pasadena, but we’ve seen them play and they’re pretty aggressive,” Niph said. “They’re definitely a competition for us, but I’m looking forward to that game — Kinda nervous and excited.”

Niph and Ka won both of their doubles matches. Together, they work strategically and in synch. They won their first match (21-12, 21-13) and their second match (21-12, 21-12).

Ka enjoys playing with Niph and said, “I really love playing with her, she can cover for me and I can cover for her. And really both fast and strong.”

Although the team will play next Wednesday, Coach Nguyen doesn’t feel the girls are ready, but will be at the time of the game.

“I think by playing (Mesa) today they have an idea of what to work on and stand against the other team because this team played Pasadena.”

“I think the girls need to work on being more aggressive on the court. Sometimes they see the opponent not at their level, they go a little easy in it. I think they should just practice on being more aggressive and going hard.”

If the team wins against Pasadena, they will advance to the state championship at Irvine Valley College on May 7.

The women’s badminton team’s next home game will be on April 29 at 3 p.m. against Pasadena College in the Southern California Team Playoff.