De Anza College badminton team eliminated early by top southern California players


De Anza College badminton player Tiffany Liao reaches low to strike the shuttlecock moments before it hits the ground at the badminton state championship at Mission College on Friday, May 12. Liao lost in the quarter final round.

The De Anza College badminton team sent four players to the state championship tournament on May 12, but by the end of play that Friday, all four players had been eliminated from both singles and doubles contention.

De Anza consistently competes in the state finals tournament in both team and individual/ doubles championships. Some years, the Dons are downright dominant. In 2013 and 2014, the Dons went undefeated, won the team championship and swept the individual and doubles tournaments.

The Dons did not qualify for the team championship this year because of a regular season loss to Fresno City College. The outcome of the game sent Fresno to the championship.

While the Dons have played well in the last few years, they have not been able to recreate that level of success.

From the beginning in individual and doubles play, luck did not favor the Dons. In the early rounds, several of them had to play opponents who went on to compete in or win the finals round.

Out of all De Anza athletes, Tiffany Liao was the one who earned an automatic pass to the second round and advanced the farthest, making it to the individual quarter final round.

“May has been a good month for her,” head coach Mark Landefeld said. “She’s played really well; things have come together. You look at her play and she’s usually got a much larger and stronger opponent so the fact that she has made the quarter finals is a bit of an achievement.”

Liao lost to Sarah Thaw from powerhouse Pasadena City College. Liao dropped both games she played against Thaw, losing 21-8 and 21-17. Thaw took second place in the tournament.

In doubles play, Liao and teammate Elita Murtanu won their first match, but lost in the quarterfinal round to a pair from Grossmont College that made it all the way to the finals.

Grossmont player Yukari Naono became a thorn in the Dons’ side downing Murtanu in the second round of individual play as well as Negar Hosseini and Yuyu Liu in the first round of doubles play. Naono went on to win both the singles and doubles championships.

On May 13, Liu and Hosseini returned to Mission College to take part in the consolation rounds of the tournament. The consolation contestants were players eliminated in the first round of individual and doubles play.

“At this point I’m pleased (Liu and Hosseini) are still alive even though it is on the consolation side,” Landefeld said. “I think they’ve got some good badminton ahead of them this weekend.”

Liu played in the individual bracket, winning first in the group, while Liu and Hosseini teamed up to win the doubles consolation bracket. Liu and Hosseini put on a strong performance in consolation play. Whenever they lost a game in the best of three matches, they managed to bounce back and put away the opponent with relative ease.