The Lancers women’s badminton team claimed their six consecutive win against visitors, the El Camino Warriors, 21-0 on Friday and remain undefeated in the South Coast conference.
Despite rookie Lancers coach Jennifer Ho tweaking the lineup and fielding a near second string team, the hosts weren’t tested by an undermanned Warriors team who were one player short and could only win one of the 29 sets contested.
Pasadena has been so dominant in the SCC this season that Ho has had to resort to unique methods by testing her players against stronger male opponents in practice sessions and sending her team to compete in recent tournaments in Northern California and San Diego that allow her team to be pushed outside their comfort zone.
According to Ho, this strategy ensures the Lancers don’t rest on their laurels and this unconventional type of preparation helps the girls to be fully focused when they take the court against their SCC rivals.
Even though things look perfect on the scoreboard, Ho feels that her team can improve on their defense by anticipating that the bird will be returned over the net at all times.
“The one thing I need to improve on is their defense, because a lot of them tend to don’t expect them to return the bird, they stop,” Ho said. “You always expect for the return 100%.”
Freshman doubles player Sandra Maw felt that it was tough to select a player who stood out against El Camino since it was a well-rounded performance. But she said that freshman Jennifer Delgado shone a bit brighter due to her bouncing back from being one set down and prevailing 21-23, 21-10, 21-16 in a see-sawing contest.
“I would say Jennifer, I saw her playing really competitively,” Maw said.
Another tactic Ho implements that prevents her charges from being complacent is mixing up her leading doubles pairs, which allows her second stringers to play with more seasoned players and receive invaluable mentorship and development in the process.
But it also forces the more experienced players to play to their potential by carrying more responsibility on their shoulders.
For instance, freshmen Rebecca Tzou and Maw are not only the Lancers leading doubles pair. But they recently held the doubles title aloft at San Diego Mesa college tournament and they are also undefeated in conference play.
Against the Warriors, Tzou was rested from playing doubles and Maw partnered with Diana Resendiz. The new combination rose to the occasion by churning out 21-6, 21-14 and 21-7, 21-9 wins.
Tzo believes the less seasoned players can flourish in this supportive environment that minimizes pressure and gives them the guidance necessary to improve quicker than if they didn’t have the better player to lean on.
“We are basically carrying them, but we want to try to give shots to the other side that will actually force our weaker players to play their best so that you’re trying actually to train them and give them more experience on-court while keeping up the game,” Tzou said.
“We need to have them experience more of the game in a learning environment because if they’re trying their hardest they won’t absorb as much.”
PCC will face hosts East LA for a third time this season in conference play on Wednesday at 3pm.