As the boys and girls of Carlmont’s badminton team prepared to face Westmoor High School on Tuesday night, the courts were filled with uncertainty and anticipation.
It was the first game of the season for the two teams and neither could tell what the outcome would be.
Experienced players such as Ethan Liu, a Carlmont junior on varsity, knew that beating the Rams would only be possible if they performed their best.
“We weren’t that confident because Westmoor was the best team last year and we didn’t know if we could beat them,” Liu said.
However, despite their past wins, even Liu’s rival Felix Lin, a sophomore at Westmoor, was unsure of whether his school could win.
“I think it was a new struggle because we [Lin and his doubles partner, Alex Chen] haven’t played together before so it was like we were going in blind,” Lin said.
The match was tight as Liu and his partner Iain Weissberg, a sophomore, were head-to-head against their opponents: Lin and Alex Chan. Both sides had powerful smashes and quick reflexes but in the end, Liu and Weissberg came out on top 21-19.
Following their first win, Weissberg lost some of the nerves he felt at the start. However, with this new-found confidence came unexpected mistakes.
“As we were playing we gained more confidence but we also made a lot of errors,” Weissberg said. “And that’s why we lost our second game.”
But after talking to coach Kevin Quan, Weissberg and Liu regained the focus and determination needed to come out on top.
Following the example of Weissberg and Liu, seniors Kyle Nip and Evan Hsu maintained their focus and secured another point for Carlmont.
The girls’ doubles for Carlmont also performed well as each of the three duos won their matches.
Among the winning girls were Rita Kravtchenko, a freshman, and her doubles partner Niko Bardin, a senior.
Just like her teammates, Kravtchenko was also nervous at the start as it was her first time playing badminton. However, as she adjusted herself to the pace of her partner Kravtchenko and Bardin won each set with ease.
“I expected that it would be kinda hard and that it would be a tough game, but it went really well,” Kravtchenko said. “We won easily and it was a good match.”
However, despite the victories of the girls’ and boys’ doubles, both mixed doubles and singles struggled to keep up with the Rams and the night ended with a 9-6 victory for Westmoor.
Though some may perceive the outcome as Carlmont starting on the wrong foot, the Scots remained just as optimistic as their victors.
“Westmoor has been the number one competitor for the past couple of years so it’s always a tough match when we play them at the start of each season,” Kevin Quan said. “But I think we’ve had some pretty strong wins tonight especially in girls’ doubles and I think as the season progresses new pairs and players will have time to improve their skills and strategies in the game and earn more victories.”