They had to wait 1,100 days, but yesterday afternoon the badminton team finally had the opportunity to defend their 2019 PSAA Championship. That year they swept Long Island Lutheran, 11-0, for the league’s inaugural badminton crown, then had to wait over three years for the chance to repeat due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Bears made it worth the wait with a gutsy performance, that included three three-set wins, in an 8-3 victory over the Knox School.
In their two match-ups with the Falcons this season, the Bears earned a convincing 9-2 win at home before edging Knox, 6-5, on Long Beach Road. Yesterday afternoon, the upstart Falcons came into Swanson Gymnasium ready for a clash with the incumbent kings, setting up a thrilling afternoon of badminton.
Andrew Wong dropped his opening 2nd singles set, 12-15, before battling back to win the final two sets, 15-11 and 19-17, for a thrilling win. Aidan Riley gave the Brook an early point with a 15-5, 15-5 win at 3rd singles, which earned him Championship MVP honors. The girls’ singles players also took two out of the three matches as Katrina Deng followed a strong 15-8 first set win with a taut 16-14 comeback victory at 1st singles that gave her a measure of redemption after a tough match at Knox several weeks ago. Rebecca Pan followed with a 15-12, 9-15, 15-7 win at 2nd singles that gave the Bears a key early point. She showed tremendous poise in adjusting her strategy in the third set by sending lob shots into the back corners to move her aggressive opponent away from the net.
On the doubles side, David Chang and Leo Lin battled to a key win at 2nd doubles that elicited numerous loud cheers from the far side of Swanson Gymnasium. After squandering a triple-set point opportunity in their opening round 15-17 loss, they recovered for a thrilling 17-15 second set win before putting the match away with a 15-12 third set victory. The girls’ doubles teams won both of their matches convincingly as Erin He and Ariel Yu (15-4, 15-7) and Annie Cao and Ivy Sung (15-1, 15-3) helped the Blue & White gain a cushion against the Falcons. Ethan Rao and Irene Qin won their mixed doubles match, 15-7, 15-8, to close out a resounding victory and keep the Bears firmly planted on the PSAA Badminton throne.