Four DCVI players advancing to WOSSAA in Strathroy
By Bob Ellison, DCVI coach
STRATFORD – The DCVI Senior badminton team competed in the Huron-Perth championships at the Stratford Agriplex last Thursday, April 11. Taking on the best players in the conference proved to be both frustrating and rewarding at times for the 14 members of the Saluki team. Despite great play, some players were eliminated early, while others found a way to win and advance.
Toto Saiyasen and Ian Bolton represented DCVI in boys singles. Both were victorious in their first matches, beating South Huron and Clinton St. Anne’s, respectively.
Saiyasen then found himself facing the top seed from St. Michael CSS. He pushed his opponent to his limit, forcing him to earn every point, but greater experience won out and he suffered his first loss. His next match pitted him against another competitor from the Warriors and this too was a gruelling match. It was a great game, with neither able to really gain an advantage, but one or two unforced errors and Saiyasen was eliminated from further play.
Bolton’s first loss, in the second round, was also at the hands of a top seed, this time from Stratford Northwestern. Luck of the draw then had him playing against another Huskie, Luke Hyde. Bolton lost the first game, but rebounded to win the next two. The third and deciding game was a hard-fought 25-23 decision in favour of the Saluki.
A long day came to an end for Bolton when he lost two games to one to an opponent from Listowel.
In Mixed Doubles, the two entries for the Salukis were Ally Muir and Evan Bennett, and Ursula Wood and Julien Boyer. Muir and Bennett won their first two rounds against Central Huron and St. Michael, then lost to Listowel.
Wood and Boyer, playing for the first time together, struggled in their first match against South Huron and were sent to the second bracket. There, they beat St. Anne’s and Northwestern opponents, only to then face off against Muir and Bennett in the fourth round of play. In a spirited match, with great rallies, it was Wood and Boyer who won and advanced. They were sidelined in the next round, which was the quarter-finals, by another Northwestern duo — just one match short of advancing to WOSSAA.
Both DCVI boys doubles teams, Connor Aarts and Duncan Massie, and George Hensel and Curtis Topp played well, but were in a very competitive division.
Aarts and Massie played St. Michael first and then South Huron. In both matches, they played with intensity and finesse, but the first-year Senior pair needed a little more experience and were put out of the bracket.
Hensel and Topp both stepped up their play against South Huron and Listowel. Having only played together once before in competition, the pair made significant gains, but their style of play could not carry the day and they, too, were eliminated.
Doubles teams shine
The girls doubles pairing of Nathalie Bettger and Aimee King did extremely well, advancing through five rounds to finish in fifth place. They lost to the top seed from Stratford Central in their opening match, but then defeated Northwestern and two different teams from Listowel.
In their fifth round of play, Bettger-King lost to St. Anne’s in a very competitive three-game match. They then played a WOSSAA alternate match against Goderich, who they beat quite easily. Only the top four teams advance to WOSSAA, but as luck would have it one of those teams is unable to move on, so Bettger and King will be going on to WOSSAA in one week.
The girls doubles pair of Hazel Taylor and Kayley Thompson had the most success for the Salukis, and also earned a berth at WOSSAA. Taylor and Thompson made it through to the WOSSAA qualifying rounds and finished fourth overall. Their plucky play led them to defeat teams from Stratford Central and Central Huron, before losing to the number two seed from St. Michael. Taylor-Thompson then went on the defeat Goderich, before losing in the semi-finals to St. Anne’s.
–The Huron-Perth Junior badminton tournament was Tuesday, April 16 at the Stratford Agriplex. The WOSSAA Junior championships are Tuesday, Apr. 30.
–The WOSSAA Senior badminton championships are Thursday, April 25 in Strathroy.