Badminton: Team sweeps home game against Palo Alto High School

Shuyi Qi

Winning 25 of the 30 matches, MVHS cruises to a victory.

GIRLS SINGLES – SOPHOMORE MADELINE SPORKERT

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Sophomore Madeline Sporkert easily won the first two games: 21-6 and then 21-5. Sporkert, who has already won a multitude of games as she prepares for CCS, believes that the team has been consistently strong due to the new varsity-guiding-JV policy that the department put in place this year.

“I think [the policy] is pretty good and we’re improving as a team.” she said

 

BOYS SINGLES – JUNIOR JUSTIN MA

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Junior Justin Ma also won a quick victory against Palo Alto High School in his first two games: 21-10 and 21-4.

“It was pretty easy because they put their JV [ranked third] player [against me],” he said, . “[Palo Alto High School] can have their better players play varsity 2 [players] to get more points.”

So far in the season, Ma hasn’t lost a single game, yet he admits that there’s still room for improvement.

“I think I’m getting lazy, I need to get more [birdies],” Ma said, laughing.

 

GIRLS DOUBLES – SENIOR NANCY CHANG AND JUNIOR ANNIE WANG

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Senior Nancy Chang and her partner junior Annie Wang won two games: 21-12 and 21-4.

However, Chang is adamant that weak play from the opposition doesn’t deter her team from playing hard.

“Our goal every game is to play as hard as we can no matter what skill level our opponent is at,” Chang said. “We want to make sure we can do well in CCS even if we’re up by a lot, we don’t give up because anything can happen … [In] the second game, our goal was to not let them get more than 5 points and we accomplished that goal.”

 

BOY DOUBLES – SENIOR MARVIN QI AND JUNIOR HARRISON DING

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Senior Marvin Qi and junior Harrison Ding won an effortless two out of three games: 21-13, 14-21, and 21-16.

“Palo Alto [High School] just got in [the league] this year so they’re not that good,” Qi said. “[We] lost our first two games, but they were two really good doubles teams and we started really winning pretty recently. Before that I was playing singles and that was mixed success.”

Problems arose during the games with regards to poor smashing and defensive shots.

“There are those times when I’m in the front and I need to learn to cut [birds] off and I need to be more consistent with my smashing,” Qi said.

 

MIXED DOUBLES – SENIOR MELISSA WANG AND JUNIOR NIKHIL PADHYE

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While MVHS had strong plays overall, senior Melissa Wang and junior Nikhil Padye lost their game.

“This is my first [time] playing with my partner. We had some rotation problems and people usually build skills together,” said Wang, whose usual partner is senior Wyatt Liao. “I think [Padhye] is used to going front and back and I’m used to being in the front more, so I think that’s where we felt short.”

Nevertheless, Wang’s problems don’t stem directly from having a new partner.

“Personally, I haven’t been doing great to be honest because this is my first year playing mixed and [it’s] also my first year on varsity,” she said. “Last year when I was a junior I played JV singles. Now I’m in a mixed team so it took some adjusting in the beginning.”

Despite the many problems that arose during the games, the team did have some good moments; one of the highlights was when they dropped the birdie to the other team, forcing the opposition to lift it only to be smashed by Wang or Padhye.

As for the team as a whole, Wang agrees that the JV has been improving steadily, benefiting directly from the guidance from the varsity players, who would often play practice games with them.

 

IMPROVING THE TEAM

While the team’s overall standing in the league is strong, many players addressed that the one flaw in the team is a lack of unity.

“Right now it’s pretty silent [during the games],” Sporkert said, suspecting that the players don’t care enough about the team to cheer their teammates on.“The [lack of] cheering has gotten worse. Nobody is cheering for anyone.”

Besides the repeated thwacking sounds of birdies against rackets,  the only other sound was cheering — from the Palo Alto High School team, a team that just emerged from the lower leagues.

Chang says that she has been personally improving. But like Sporkert, she says that the team could improve more on being more unifying.

“As you can see, most people on the court are two [teammates]. It’s either single [players] or double [players] so it feels like a very individual sport,” Chang said. “Maybe that’s why people aren’t very comfortable with cheering loudly. Your team is at most yourself or your partner.”

Chang also pointed out that a lack of unity could be caused by a lack of attention.

“A lot of people are doing homework instead of watching or supporting each other. Players that have been on the [team for a while] should help encourage first year players,” Chang said.

Besides a lack of team bonding, Ma suggests another area in need of improvement for the team. Although the team has been winning most of their games, Ma maintains that there’s still a weak link in the MVHS badminton team.

“We’re mostly doing good but our doubles are a little weak,” he said. “I think all of our doubles were seniors and they all left. This year I don’t think they won anything.”

Nonetheless, with a 25 game victory, the MV badminton team hasn’t been taking too much of a hit.