Mesa’s Women’s Badminton took on Irvine Valley College Wednesday afternoon. The team lost a competitive 13-8 match in their second matchup with the reigning Pacific Coast Athletic Conference champions.
Head coach June Andrews said before the start of the match, “IVC has some really strong players so my girls are really going to have to step up and eliminate mistakes to come out with a win.” The Olympians still feel the aftermath of the previous matchup with Irvine Valley that also ended with the Lasers coming out on top 13-8.
This Mesa loss continues a rough 4 game losing streak to start off the young season. Coach Andrews remains optimistic as the season heads on. After the 0-4 start the Olympians have 5 matches and 2 tournaments remaining on their schedule.
The Olympians, led by freshmen Mikayla Aguilar and Jollifree Amor Panal took on the Irvine Valley Lasers in several singles and doubles matchups. The match was comprised of the top 6 players from both sides competing in multiple singles and doubles matches. The two freshmen spoke with me after their impressive performances.
Aguilar spoke on the importance of “relying on herself and pushing herself” in individual matches to secure points. Aguilar also said that she prefers to play in singles matches. While Panal spoke on her experience in doubles matches stating that having a partner helps “because i know our positions.”
The Olympians are hoping to build off this outing and take some momentum into their next match. Coach Andrews spoke to me about the strides her team is taking as the team continues to gain vital experience.
“Our numbers 5 and 6 are really making dramatic improvement. These girls are from the Badminton activity class so they don’t have much experience… but they are starting to show real improvement.” Numbers 5 and 6 are referring to Freshman Lina Messaoudi and Sophomore Samantha Mae-Owens.
The players are ranked 1-6 from best to worst in order to get the best matchups between opposing players. These ranking are necessary to ensure players with less experience are matched with each other. Ranks 1 and 2 are taken by Aguilar and Panal. While the remaining slots are taken by Thao, and Tien Nguyen.
Mae-Owens and Messaoudi took each of their first opponents into the third set “an impressive performance” as stated by coach Andrews. Messaoudi alongside fellow freshman Thao Nyugen secured a very necessary doubles victory in two sets.
Coach Andrews told her team to focus on the three steps of “move, go back into position, and then score.” The Olympians will continue to apply this strategy as they are back in action hosting the San Diego Mesa Tournament Friday Mar. 15th.