Badminton: Ellen Lin upsets Wan Wan Liu to propel Naperville North to tie for state title
Updated: May 12, 2012 10:42PM
Naperville North senior Ellen Lin was playing for more than just personal glory when she faced Stevenson senior Wan Wan Liu in the singles final of the state badminton tournament Saturday at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
Lin’s 21-14, 21-16 victory over the top-seeded Liu enabled her to become her school’s first state badminton champion and secured the point that moved the Huskies into a first-place tie with Stevenson. The two schools, neither of which had ever won a trophy before, shared the team title with 13.5 points. Fremd was third with 12.5.
“It’s crazy,” Lin said. “Honestly, it’s unreal and I’m really proud of my team. We didn’t think we’d place in the top three and we weren’t sure where we stood.”
Lin (41-1), a 5-8 seed, had a tough road to the final, beating Fremd’s Annie Huang 16-21, 22-20, 21-17 in the quarterfinals and Rachel Anderson of Wheaton Warrenville South 21-16, 14-21, 21-17 in the semifinals, while Liu (39-3) rolled to straight-set wins over York’s Torrie Graham and Andrew’s Renee Olson.
But Lin was a little bit better in the final, which featured some spectacular rallies.
“I just tried to focus on playing one point at a time,” Lin said. “I didn’t want to get overconfident when I had the lead.”
“She did a lot of great shots and played her heart out and I did too,” Liu said.”There were times when I made a couple of errors, but she totally deserved it so I’m really proud of her and I wish her the best.”
While Liu fell short of her goal of becoming the second player in school history to win the singles crown, she and teammates Taylor Seplowin, Emily Cai, Yein Lee, Shree Dash and Carrie Moy were overjoyed with the team championship.
“It means a lot to me,” Liu said. “I’ve been on the team for four years and the state championship is something we’ve been striving for, and it’s a dream come true.”
Hinsdale South’s top-seeded Brittany DeClouette and Emma Adcock capped a 52-1 season by beating Bradley-Bourbonnais’ Madeline Vaccaro and Neha Chandan 21-6, 15-21, 21-17 for the doubles championship.
DeClouette and Adcock, who didn’t drop a set until the final, are the third pair of doubles champs since 1999 for Hinsdale South, which was fourth for the second straight year, tying with WW South. Vaccaro and Chandan (39-5) are the first state medalists from Bradley.
“The second game we got too overconfident,” DeClouette said. “We knew we had to pull it out in the third game and we put it all together and got it done.”
“Going into it there was a lot of pressure because we’re the No. 1 seed and people expected you to win,” Adcock said. “But we wanted to win so badly, it make us much more intense.”