The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Varsity badminton loses to Los Gatos in final league game of the season

The Los Altos High School varsity badminton team lost 13–17 in a rematch game to the Los Gatos High School Wildcats on Tuesday, April 30. Although the Eagles were defeated, girls singles players managed to dominate the competition and win every single match just like they did the first time they faced the Wildcats.

The first time she played against the Wildcats, girls singles 1 player and Captain junior Ziana Merchant set a goal of working on shot consistency. During her match against the Wildcats the second time, she was able to show off just how much she had improved from the beginning of the season.

“I just went for everything and was ready for it,” Ziana said. “I got more consistent and was able to place the bird where I wanted and keep it in while still having accurate shots.”

Ziana won her first set 21–7 and the second set 21–6, gaining 3 points for the Eagles.

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There were victories across the team; girls doubles 1 players senior Kaira Lai and junior Nandini Sharma ended their season on a win. Joining them were boys singles players junior Raymond Liu and freshman Pratyush Surendar as well as mixed doubles 3 players sophomores Linuki Ekanyake and Aditya Rajesh.

Co-captain senior Ben Xu was defeated by the Wildcats in his boys singles 1 game. He lost the first set 13–21 and the second set 15–21.

“My opponent mainly used the court to his advantage,” Ben said. “He would hit where he knew the lights were so I couldn’t see the bird until it was halfway to my court which made it difficult for me to react. Overall he had really strong offensive shots.”

Being at the top of varsity, Ben had league finals to play after this game, but this was his last experience with the entire team.

“Overall, I’m happy,” Ben said. “Since it’s my last year on the team, I’m just enjoying my time with my teammates more.”

Ben has been a captain for the past two years and observed the team as players left and as returning players improved.

“For doubles players, they started to better understand the rotations and general strategy,” Ben said. “They started to get a better idea of how to hit the shot.”

Ziana has been a captain for two years as well and has also watched the team grow.

“People are a lot more aggressive when they play,” Ziana said. “At the beginning of the season, people just hit the bird but now, with practice, they are thinking about where to place their shots. People are putting the bird in the best spot possible more consistently which is really great to see.”

This is also Head Coach Prateek Sarkar’s second year coaching but first year as the head coach. While watching the matches, Sarkar noticed specific shots that improved from the beginning of the season.

“Learning the technique for short serves has really improved for more players,” Sarkar said. “The basic clear shot has improved for everybody across the board, even though it still has ways to go.”

The rematch nature of the game set the bar high, but in the end, the game ended with the Eagles’ loss.

“I was hopeful that we would finish up this season with a win but I’m really happy for the team because I saw some really great games,” Sarkar said. “We set our targets on improving, but every other school was setting their targets on improving as well.”

The Eagles ended their regular season with a record of 3–9 with many seniors playing the last game of their high school careers.

“The seniors are the people I’ve hung out with since freshman year and to see them go is really disappointing,” Ziana said. “It’s going to be really different without them here next year so we’re going to miss them a lot.”

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