GODERICH – The DCVI Senior badminton team took part in their first tournament of the season here on Tuesday, March 5. The 16-member team, which also included five Junior players, were focused and reflective, resulting in great performances by all.
Not only was this the first tournament of the season, but for many, it was their first time competing in the Senior division, which features a much faster and aggressive style of play than the Junior division.
The play was fast and furious in all events, featuring dynamic rallies, split-second reflex shots, diving saves and superb serving. Overall as a team, Salukis won over 60 per cent of their games, had three first-place finishes after pool play, had nine players advance to the quarter-finals, with seven reaching the semi-finals.
The Mixed Doubles pairing of Shawna Nelson and Julien Boyer went undefeated in pool play, beating teams from Central Huron, St. Anne’s and Mitchell. They were also victorious in the quarter-finals against Stratford Central, but lost a competitive match to Listowel in the semi-finals.
Hazel Taylor and Evan Bennett, also playing Mixed Doubles, beat Goderich in their opening match, split with Northwestern in their second match, and lost to Listowel in their third match to finish third in their pool.
Both boys doubles pairs advanced to the quarter-finals after pool play. Connor Aarts and his partner, Duncan Massie, posted wins over both Central Huron and Mitchell to finish second in their pool. In the quarter-finals, they rallied hard against a strong team from Stratford Central, but were put out.
Ian Bolton and George Hensel won an impressive five of their six games in pool play, beating both Northwestern and Goderich and splitting with Listowel. The duo then defeated a pair from Mitchell in the quarter-finals, only to be eliminated in the semi-finals by the pair from South Huron.
Both girls doubles teams were made up of Junior players brought up to round out the team. Sophie Brockman and Jelena Lorentz defeated Mitchell and had two very close and competitive matches against St. Anne’s and Central Huron to finish the day.
Ava Bettger and McKayla Gagnon played very aggressively and finished second in their pool, winning five out of six games. They defeated Goderich and Northwestern and then split with Listowel before advancing and winning the quarter-finals against South Huron. They, like their teammates, suffered a loss in the semi-finals at the hands of Listowel.
Syann Mills represented DCVI in girls singles. She served and rallied well, using her smash effectively, but dropped both her matches to St. Anne’s and Mitchell.
Competing for the Salukis in boys singles were Toto Saiyasen and Curtis Topp.
With wins over Mitchell and St. Anne’s, and a split with Central Huron, Saiyasen finished first in his pool and then went on the defeat Goderich in the quarter-finals. It was a close semi-final match against Stratford Central, but once more it was the end of the line for the Salukis. Topp finished third in his pool with a win over Goderich, but lost to Northwestern and Listowel.