Badminton: Stevenson comes out on top at Hinsdale South
Updated: April 23, 2012 6:31PM
Stevenson is primed to make a run at its first badminton trophy.
The Patriots demonstrated their strength Saturday by winning the prestigious Hinsdale South ABCD Invitational for the first time.
Powered by senior singles players Wan Wan Liu and Taylor Seplowin, Stevenson amassed 67 points to top a 16-team field that included most of the top squads in the state. Hinsdale South and Lockport tied for second with 62.
“In the beginning we didn’t expect to be that good,” Liu said. “But we really work hard and really push ourselves and we [achieve] results that we never expected.”
Liu led the way by defeating Hinsdale South senior Andrea McNally 22-20, 21-19 to win the ‘A’ singles championship in a match that also decided the team title.
Liu rallied to beat Andrew’s Renee Olson 12-21, 21-9, 21-18 in a marathon semifinal match, and then came from behind in both sets to defeat McNally. McNally, who was on a roll after winning the New Trier Featherfest the week before, had beaten Seplowin 21-13, 21-8 in the semifinals.
Stevenson coach Mike Fitzgerald suspected this would be a good season. The Patriots have nine seniors, but Liu and Seplowin are the stars. Liu (29-2) has lost twice to Palatine’s Maggie Van Grondelle while Fremd’s Annie Huang is the only other player to beat Seplowin (28-2).
“I trained hard in the off-season to come out here and just play my heart out for my senior year,” said Seplowin, who finished sixth in the state in doubles last year. “We’ve been playing together basically since our freshman year so as a team we’ve all grown very strong together. We support each other and we all work really hard.”
“The two of them have been a tremendous asset to Stevenson and they’re like the building blocks of our program,” Fitzgerald said. “To see what they’ve done in the off-season, it just really shows kids [what you can accomplish] if you work hard.”
Before the season, Fitzgerald was hoping the Patriots, whose highest state finish ever was fourth in 1997, could equal or improve on last year’s sixth-place showing, but has since readjusted those goals.
“We’re not going to be happy with top 5,” he said. “I’m going to say it; this is the best overall team in Stevenson history.”
Hinsdale South’s Emma Adcock and Brittany DeClouette won the A doubles crown, beating Lockport’s Amy Benes and Becca Krzyszkowski 21-12, 22-20 in the final.