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Jericho girls badminton wins third straight championship

Saloni Jhawer of Jericho competes in the semifinals

Saloni Jhawer of Jericho competes in the semifinals of the Nassau girls badminton individual championship in Long Beach on last Saturday. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

The Jericho girls’ badminton team held on to a lead by a single thread. With two matches being played, the score was 3-2 in their favor.

They faced Great Neck South twice so far this season and both meetings were equally intense coming down to the last match.

This meet, however, was the Nassau girls badminton championship and Jericho was in search of its third straight title and an undefeated season.

After the third set, Jasmine Wong and Allison Lee earned the fourth point for Jericho, clinching the win over Great Neck South, 5-2, at Bellmore JFK Tuesday.

Wong and Lee won the first set 21-19. But it wasn’t easy in the second.

Wong was disappointed after dropping the second set, 21-23. The match was tied at 1 and the senior had no intentions of ending her last season with a loss.

She remembered her game plan and went to work.

“Badminton is all about the shots that you take,” Wong said. “I didn’t play the second set as well as I wished so I knew I had to try my best in the third game. I remembered to read my opponents and make sure my shots were well placed.”

Wong and Lee won the last set 21-19.

“I’ve improved, I think we all have, over the years,” Wong said. “After my partner served, I used to follow the birdie. Now I watch the person my partner is serving to, this way I’m able to tell where they’d hit the birdie. I remembered that going into the third set.”

Saloni Jhawer and Sarah Josinsky pushed Jericho (14-0) into the lead, winning second and third singles, respectively. Next came the second doubles team of Cici Zhou and Kinty Li.

In the last two meets with Great Neck South, they lost their matches. This time they turned it around winning, 21-14, 21-18.

“We were more aggressive in this meet because it is the county championship,” Zhou laughed. “Before we would struggle and lose focus. Today we calmed down and looked for the spaces in our opponents’ game.”

The final point was won by sophomore Allison Ng, the two-time Nassau Individual champion. She faced eighth grader Kayla Wu for the fourth time this season, winning 21-14, 15-21, 21-14.

With another title under their belt along with an undefeated season, Jericho is only looking up from here, according to Wong, if they keep improving.

“We start off each season rusty,” Wong said. “Everyone this season got better and better. I’m so proud of my team. There’s nothing like seeing your friends get better.”

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