By Jacky Lin ’16
In the epic rivalry between Midwood and Madison, The Madison Boys’ handball team defeated Midwood Hornets in two intense back to back matches.
“This year our lineup was new with all our seniors graduating last year,” said Jennifer Rogers, the head coach. “But I believe as the season goes on and the team gets more experience, they will get better.”
On March 30, the Hornets played their first match against Madison in a best out of five series. The Hornet’s first singles and captain Zhi Jia Zhu ‘15 and second doubles Brandon Zhang ‘16 and Harry Zhong ‘16 played the first two games in the series.
Zhu played his best in his game against Jason Chong ‘16 but was defeated in a score of 21-7. However, Zhang and Zhong were able to make quick work of their opponents, Buckley Tan ‘16 and Saad Rehman ‘15 (Rehman was subbing for Tien Truong ‘15), winning their game 21-12 with Zhang scoring nine points and Zhong scoring 11 points. With the first two games done, the Hornets were 1-1 in the series.
“This was the first time I played against Madison and I was nervous,” said Zhong. “But I still took a game home for the team.”
The next two games that were played were second singles Thurman Truong ‘16 and first doubles Salman Siraj ‘16 and Austin Siu ‘16. Truong was overwhelmed by Wilson Chong ‘16 and lost his game 21-6. The first doubles game was more intense with the leads switching back and forth. While Siraj and Siu put up a good fight against Rodney Li ‘15 and Devon Lui ‘15, they lost with a close score of 21-18, with Siraj scoring 10 points and Siu scoring 8 points.
Siraj said, “We were so close but I believe that we can and will take the next game that we play against Madison”
The final game that was played was the Hornets third singles Gerry Tran ‘16, although by this point Midwood had already lost the series, and Tran was demoralized by this and lost his game against Mateen Yousaf ‘15 21-10. In the end, the Hornets lost the series 4-1.
“Well, this team was not as strong as I expected,” said Tran. “I feel like every starter is relying on another starter to win, but not taking matters into their own hands in handling it. The problem with this team is their unwillingness to improve and train.”
However, while this is the first time Midwood lost to Madison in 12 years at their home court, Ms. Rogers does not fret because she still believes that the team has room for improvement.
“There were a few minor mistakes in today’s game,” said Ms. Rogers. “We will try to correct as much of those mistakes as we can tomorrow and we will be prepared to play against Madison on Wednesday.”
On April 1, it was the awaited rematch against Madison. The pressure was on as the team really wanted to win to take revenge against Madison for losing on their home court.
The order in which the games were played was not changed, as the first two games that were played were the Hornets first singles and second doubles.
Chong once again defeated Zhu 21-8. On the other hand, the Hornet’s second doubles was struggling compared to the first time they played Madison. It was not looking good as the Hornet’s second doubles started off the game poorly with a eight point deficit against Tien and Tan and at one point Zhong mistakenly caught the ball, thinking it was a tennis ball and giving Madison a free point.
Eventually the Hornets picked up the pace and managed to close the deficit. After some amazing serves from Zhang, they manage to close the intense game and win with a very close score of 21-20, with Zhang scoring 11 points and Zhong scoring nine points.
“I cracked under pressure while playing,” said Zhong. “I also had some minor injuries form the last game but my partner manage to pick up the slack and we clutch the game.”
In the next game, Truong played and was made short work by the other Chong, losing his game 21-3. However, Siraj and Siu played better than they did last time and managed to win their game convincingly with a score of 21-16 with Siraj scoring 12 points and Siu scoring 9 points. With this game won, it put the Hornets 2-2 in the series.
It was then up to Tran to play the match deciding game in order to see who would win the series. Tran started the game, with a promising score of 7-1. It was looking good for Tran to take the game, for the Hornets to win but Yousaf did not give up, and overcame the lead Tran had. In the end, Tran lost his game in a major upset 21-12.
“I got too comfortable and let my guard down,” said Tran. “I know that I could have beaten Yousaf, I done it before but I underestimated him and that was my mistake.”
While the Hornets lost two games in a row against Madison, they held their heads high and hope to train harder and improve for the upcoming games in the season.