If tight playing quarters, a tiny racket, and an unpredictable shuttlecock weren’t enough of a challenge in badminton, there’s another hurdle that can make or break a doubles team. Chemistry.
Chandler’s Nga Le and Amy Cappuccio, the 2006 state doubles champs, offer the perfect example.
You’d think the two would have played together for a long time to rise to the level of state champs. But Wolves coach Lois Emshoff said that accomplishment was only three weeks in the making.
“Last year, we changed doubles partners all season,” Emshoff said. “Three weeks before state, we put two girls together (Le and Cappuccio), and they just accomplished their goals in short order.”
Emshoff said the two just gelled. There was no predicting it.
This year, Chandler has another solid doubles team with similar hopes: seniors Guadalupe Farfan and Alheil Jacquez, who won the Gilbert Mesquite badminton tournament last month and finished second in this month’s Dobson tournament.
“We are very close friends outside of badminton,” Jacquez said. “On the court, it seems to carry on for us. When we started playing together this year, we realized we had a good thing and we decided to stay as a doubles team, work hard, and it would be the best chance to get medals and win matches.”
Jacquez said the tight space and constant movement make it an imperative for doubles teams to have communicate and cooperate.
“There’s a rotation that we use that, when we do it well, it runs so well,” Jacquez said. “We have to basically think as one.”
Emshoff said getting a good doubles pair is not easy.
“You have to have good personalities, two girls with similar styles that work well and complement each other and have the same desires,” Emshoff said. “All of that has to come together for success, and that does not just happen.”
Farfan and Jacquez’s loss in the Dobson tournament to 4A Scottsdale Chaparral’s Leslie Appleton and Liz Hudson seemed to verify Emshoff’s hypothesis.
“We both practice hard and it seems we have the same goals,” Chaparral’s Hudson said. “We both play a similar game, and I think that is so important.”
Chaparral believes that Appleton, Hudson and another strong doubles team in seniors Sarah Plitt and Christina McGuire (seventh-place finishers at Dobson, fourth-place finishers in 4A doubles in 2006) are key for the Firebirds to have a shot at the 2007 team title.
Saturday’s loss also revealed something to Jacquez and Farfan.
“We both realized we need to just listen to each other, work the rotation, and keep doing what we’ve been doing so well,” Jacquez said.
That was evident as the two bounced back from Saturday’s loss with a 15-4, 6-15, 15-4 over Fiesta Region rival Gilbert doubles team Karen Carroll and Nichole Hunt.