With a 5-0 win against Marta Valle High School on Thursday, March 30, Stuyvesant’s girls’ badminton team started the season off strong. The match itself was quite relaxed, as Stuyvesant did not feel much pressure.
Their first match of the season ended in a forfeit because Murry Bergtraum lacked the necessary amount of players to compete. “We considered the game on Thursday the first game and the official start of the season. However, we weren’t anxious because the schools in our division except Seward Park are relatively new to the sport,” junior and co-captain Mickey Yu said.
The match against Marta Valle seemed like an opportunity for Stuyvesant to experiment and practice.
Junior Sion Kim began the match playing first singles against Marta Valle’s Kashada Harewood. Kim won all three sets with high scores. However, she still saw ways that she could have improved. “Personally, I think that I could have done better, so I’m not exactly proud, but I was confident about winning,” she said.
In spite of her mistakes throughout the match, Kim played an impressive match, with the sets ending with scores of 21-3, 21-2, and 21-2.
The second singles match, played by junior Ida Wang against Marta Valle’s Tiavion Hughie, unfolded with a similar result. Though Wang has played the last two seasons as a doubles player and only became a singles player this season, there were no signs during her match that the transition has been difficult. She, like Kim, won all three of her sets, with her smallest margin of victory a comfortable 17 points.
Stuyvesant’s great results remained consistent throughout the rest of their matches, with newcomer sophomore Keying Wang winning her singles match as well. Her opponent offered a slightly better performance than her teammates, but still did little to prevent Wang from winning, again in three sets.
Yu and junior Janie Huang, a pairing familiar from last season, continued the team’s dominant performance, beating Marta Valle’s first doubles team of Cyane Huertas and Stefany Rivera. The second doubles match featured sophomore Tracy Chang alongside senior and co-captain Yiqing Hu. Chang and Hu are a rather recent partnership. Though Hu has been a doubles player for three years, Chang is new, switching from playing third singles to second doubles this season.
Their performance was not without its errors, but despite several missed serves, the pair was able to improve over the course of their match, and they went on to win all three of their sets against Marta Valle’s Jalyssa Cintron and Tiffany Hunter, with scores of 21-10, 21-8, and 21-4. Their match concluded Stuyvesant’s 5-0 victory.
The win set a bright tone for the remainder of the season. “We’re pretty optimistic about how our season’s [going to] be,” coach Hugh Francis said. He credited the returning players, a group that includes seven of the last year’s eight starters, for the hopeful outlook he holds for the upcoming matches.
The team is looking forward to their match against Seward Park High School. Since the addition of badminton to the PSAL, Seward Park has often dominated the division and has become one of Stuyvesant’s biggest rivals. They have proven themselves to be formidable opponents in past matches, having won four out of the six matches against Stuyvesant over previous seasons.
However, Yu maintains that they can bounce back from previous defeats and come out on top. “We were always on par with Seward Park. It’s hard to predict the outcome of the upcoming match against them, but we will try our best,” she said.