By Staff Writer Helen Tian
On May 20, MSJ Badminton competed and took their second win this season against their long-standing rival, the Irvington High School Vikings. Beating the Vikings 11-6 and advancing to a record of 5-0, the Warriors continued their undefeated streak for the season.
Throughout the past decade, Irvington has always stood as tough opponents for MSJ. Two years ago, the Warriors lost their 15-year win streak against the Vikings, placing second at NCS. Since then, the road has not been easy for them, considering the 2020 season was canceled midway due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though the team was approved for a season amidst the pandemic this year, they have had to follow the strict social distancing guidelines, which includes wearing masks, COVID-19 testing for meets, and shortened practice times. “We have a lot less gym time, [so] we can’t get as much as we want to get done, especially for physical endurance training,” Co-Captain Senior Tommy Tan said. In addition, this season’s badminton team is considered very young, as many past members did not return and more underclassmen joined.
Despite these setbacks, the Warriors have still demonstrated much of their previous prowess as they’ve worked to restart their win streak. Of the three Boys Doubles matches and the four Girls Singles matches against the Vikings, the Warriors won all of them cleanly in two games. Playing the #1 Girls Singles match, Co-Captain Junior Emily Han defeated her opponent with a score of 21-4, 21-5.
Boys Singles players Sophomore Ryan Ma and Freshman Arjun Chatterjee especially showed a promising future for the team at the meet. They were very diligent in finding out each opponent’s strategy and attacking their weaknesses. Ma faced Irvington’s top singles player and came out on top, winning 21-11, 21-17. Badminton Coach James Nguyen said, “It was a good match, but when challenged by better players, Ryan steps up.” Chatterjee had a difficult match as well, playing up to the maximum of three games. However, like Ma, he triumphed, with scores of 21-17, 11-21, and 21-17.
Girls Doubles also performed well. For most of the duration of the games, the rallies were offensive and fast-paced as the Warriors went on to win two out of the three matches. Players Freshmen Savanna Lee and Wenlu She specifically stood out when playing the #1 Girls Doubles match, winning 21-11, 21-18.
Though the Warriors secured enough wins to claim the victory, they lost all three Mixed Doubles matches, which each consisted of three intense games. Still, Nguyen was proud of the players and said, “I think we just got to work on consistency in terms of every play. I [want] to try to get them to play at their best for every point, moving forward.”
With three more games left in the season, the Warriors believe they will be able to finish the year undefeated and hope to carry their momentum to next season. Han said, “This season, we did really well … We’ve won every single [meet] so far, and most importantly, we beat our greatest rival twice. Next season, I hope we can do the same, stay undefeated, and win NCS.”