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After winning doubles last year for the state championship, taking second for the single, and some concerns for the end-of-year fatigue experienced last season, badminton head coach Jennifer Ho plans to focus the team on endurance conditioning, as well as defense.

Russell G. Latiolais/Courier Rebecca Tzou of PCC Badminton team practicing for upcoming season at The Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium on Tuesday January 19, 2016
Russell G. Latiolais/Courier
Rebecca Tzou of PCC Badminton team practicing for upcoming season at The Hutto-Patterson Gymnasium on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

With the first game upon them in just under two weeks, and some new muscle both on the team and in coaching assistance this year, she hopes to hone and tone the skills of returning players like sophomores Zin Win “Sandra” Maw and Eugenia Mendez and make discoveries in the new players as well.

“I have a very strong team,” said Ho. “We did pretty well last year, but again, conditioning-wise and defense, I think that’s what we need to focus on with these girls this year.”

Twenty-year-old Maw intends to defend her championship win in doubles again. But after suffering some fatigue last year, she too is looking to concentrate on building up her strength and physical endurance.

“The biggest accomplishment for me was winning the state championship with Rebecca [Tzou],” said Maw, of Arcadia. “[This year] I’m trying to push my stamina, especially after my blackout last season. So I’ll try to boost up my stamina, while maintaining my time for study and academically.”

With the Coast Conference tournament looming in March, Maw’s goal is to put that same focus into the team as well.

“We’re going for team championship this year,” she said. “Last year we played against San Diego, before the final, and it was really close. We lost 11-10. So this time that is our primary goal—to first defeat the South Conference first, then get the State Championship.”

Sophomore Eugenia Mendez also plans to up her game in training for participating in both singles and doubles as well.

“For singles, I didn’t go that far [last season,]” said Mendez who plans on running more and getting more fit. “And getting to know my new partner, because that’s the key for winning.”

Ana Rosa Espinoza, 18, from Azuza and a new member of the team, is anxious to get into the game.

“I’m looking forward to the energy you feel when you’re playing. The thrill,” said Espinoza. “I also played volleyball [in High School]. I played some basketball, but mostly volleyball and badminton. Those are my two major sports.”

Espinoza said it was her sister, PCC alum Graciella Espinoza, who has since transferred to Long Beach, who encouraged her to play. Espinoza now comes to PCC with an eye on earning All-American honors.

“I ended up trying out for volleyball and badminton, so I made both of them,” said Espinoza. “I just want to get on the roster play and play somewhere.”

In her second year as head coach at PCC, coach Ho feels good about the new team and the new additions.

“I’m really comfortable with this team. They have more experience,” she said. “Of course I have a lot more experience since the first season, and the girls are getting along well. That is so important—chemistry! It seems like they are really eager and working really hard this season.”

With the help of new assistant coach Josue Anthony Salas this season, she is looking forward to the help in strengthening the team.

“I’m just going to do my best,” said Ho. “I think we’ll have a pretty solid season hopefully.”

The team’s first game of the season will be at East Los Angeles College, Friday, Feb.19, at 2 p.m.

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