MVHS clears past the Titans 19-11

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Brandon Chin

Gunn High School is a titan-sized threat.

With a team of experienced players and a history of close matches, the Matador’s’ third game on March 26 was one that made new and veteran players alike anxious. With a final score of 19-11 the game stood out as the closest score of the season. More frightening than the competition however, was their sense of time.

At 3:55 p.m., GHS was running 25 minutes late and the Matadors were still waiting.

The Matador’s’ pre-game warm-up had extended for so long that the players were well beyond warm and were beginning to sweat. As an increasing number of players left for water breaks, coach Eric Liu made a call.

If the Matadors had to wait, Liu announced, they wouldn’t pass around birdies, but stories instead. Freshman Sriman Manyam was first to serve. His story told the tale of how senior Annie Wang fell off a table after hearing one of his jokes. The team laughed as Manyam reenacted the reverse of an earthquake drill — he sat on top of the desk as it trembled violently.

Their smiles had become as much a part of their uniform as the purple of their clothes. There was one story yet to unfold, one that would involve them all. GHS would arrive in five minutes. As Liu rallied his team, he gave them the premise of another story.

“Let’s see if we can shoot down Gunn!” he said. “Don’t let them get into the double digits!”

 

Unseen Challenger

Freshman Sean Chen played in one of the most dangerous courts. Paired with star player senior Justin Ma, these Matadors were matched against an equally skilled duo of Titans.

Perhaps exactly equal. As MVHS would score a point, one from GHS would surely follow. This pattern bounced back and forth like the birdie itself until the match was one point away from a loss for the Matadors at 20-19. The game was fierce, intensified by the fact that the Titans were aiming for Chen, the newer player of the pair.

“They were aiming to kill me,” Chen said.

Senior Justin Ma and freshman Sean Chen rallies against their GHS opponents on March 26. Their game was one of the longest and had an audience large enough to fill the sidelines. Photo by Brandon Chin.

Despite this, Chen was crucial to the Matadors’ success. Playing as well as any upperclassman duo, Ma and Chen managed to slowly turn an impending defeat into a chance for success. As the game stretched over the standard 21 score with 22-22, both schools were cheering on their respective pair. With a smash and a missed stroke on the fault of GHS, the Matadors won one of their most highly ranked games by a single point at 24-22.

 

Reunion on the Court

Freshman Karen Ma reunited with long time acquaintance Angela Lin after two years, with a net and school colors between them. These two players trained together at the Bin Tang Badminton five years ago but were now opponents on the court.

Freshman Karen Ma bumps back a shot aimed by her opponent Angela Lin on March 26. The match consisted of many drops right against the net. Photo by Brandon Chin.

Freshman Karen Ma bumps back a shot aimed by her opponent Angela Lin on March 26. The match consisted of many drops right against the net. Photo by Brandon Chin.

“I knew I was going to play her,” Karen said. “When I trained with her at Bint tang, she could beat me then. I don’t know about now.”

With no lost words between them, the two began to play. Karen started the game on good grounds and kept ahead of Lin by one point. At the four minute mark, they were nearly tied at 4-3 and this continued as the scores began to climb hand in hand. That pattern ended abruptly. With a series of smashes and sudden drops over the net, Karen managed to score twice as many points as Lin with a score of 14-7 after five minutes.

Karen had cleared the opposition by the end of the match with a final score of 21-10. She proved that the years of separation had caused a separation of scores.

 

New Partners, Familiar Results

As one of the last matches of the afternoon, the field house was silent as senior Karen Xu and her partner junior Madeline Sporkert played. With the skill they displayed, one would not suspect that these two had never been partners before.

They were a powerful pair. With Xu as the unofficial team captain and Sporkert as one of the team’s top players, they brought a high profile into the match. This status was tested against the Titans’ equivalent.

Senior Karen Xu prepares to return the upcoming smash from of the opposition on March 26. Xu and junior Madeline Sporkert finished off the day’s game with score of 21-19 against their GHS opponents. Photo by Brandon Chin.
Senior Karen Xu prepares to return the upcoming smash from of the opposition on March 26. Xu and junior Madeline Sporkert finished off the day’s game with score of 21-19 against their GHS opponents. Photo by Brandon Chin.

Like most of the games against GHS, it was unclear who would win. The Matador’s initial three point lead at 8-:5 was easily overwhelmed by GHS sudden gain of ten points in the next six minutes. Matadors and Titans watched from the sidelines in utter silence. With the other games finished, all eyes and all the attention were split between this court and the one adjacent to it.

Both schools therefore witnessed as the Titan’s slowly lost control of the game. With an impressive series of rallies and excellent coordination between Xu and Sporkert, they, in the fashion of MVHS and GHS games, tied the score with one point to decide the winner and loser. The audience held their breath and the only sound was the birdie being put into play. The silence did not last much longer. The Matadors won their game without a rally longer than four returns.

“We were able to communicate comfortably with each other,” Sporkert said., “We deserved to win because we both put in the effort and the practice.”

 

The next home game will be on April 7th at 3:30 p.m against Cupertino High School.