In their first season in Conference I, the Jericho girls badminton team quickly made a name for itself by handing two-time defending Nassau champion Calhoun its first defeat in 39 matches, a tightly contested 4-3 win April 20 at Calhoun.
Jericho (11-1) went on to beat the Colts (10-2) for a second time on its way to a first-place finish, but the first win over Calhoun made as much of an impact for the girls on the team as it did on the standings.
"We felt like we had earned our spot in the conference," coach Mark Burkowsky said.
The game was decided on the backcourts by three doubles teams, with first doubles partners April Pun and Maya Means winning in a tense three-setter, 21-18, 18-21, 21-19.
"The girls knew Calhoun were the conference champs and they went in there wanting to beat them," Burkowsky said.
After beating them twice, Jericho heads into the playoffs thinking about the possibility of again facing the Colts, who start the playoffs hosting Freeport Monday.
"There are some good teams and great individual girls in Nassau and I think that matchup would be the best matchup from the season," Burkowsky said. "That's who we're expecting to play."
After starting off in Conference IV six years ago, the Jayhawks steadily moved up the ranks, finishing as undefeated champions of Conference II last year. Even with the title, however, they never had the chance to prove they belonged on a stage this big before.
"We never played for a county championship," Burkowsky said. His team will try to change that starting Monday, when it faces Great Neck North at home in the first game of the playoffs.