Badminton clears New Trier competition, ending night with net success

Jessica Sehgal, Executive Editor

Walking into Beardsley Gym on Thursday night, the feeling was electric. Badminton took on infamous rivals New Trier, and the Kits did not stand down. On the court in pre-game, varsity players circled together, and with everyone holding their rackets in the center of the huddle, one player said, “Let’s make this one louder than ever.” With a booming “E-Town Bark,” the girls were off to their nets, prepared to bring their all.

The only thing louder than the Kits’ cheers on Thursday was their play, with Evanston eventually going onto secure a sweeping victory over the Trevians, 15-3.

Starting off the night were five doubles teams: sophomores Arnie Gopez and Eva Cherkasky, sophomore Bella Martinez and junior Livia Suszko, seniors Maya Broughton and Alicia Frajman, junior Saliha Ansari and senior Asiah Williams and seniors Mayra Bazan-Gonzales and Valerie Larsen. 

Broughton and Frajman started off the night with a crisp smash from Frajman down the center of the court, and the exciting play set the tone for the rest of the night. Their doubles team proceeded to win the game, 21-7, and their next game as well, 21-12, securing one Kits victory for the night. 

The neighboring courts featured some tight contests. Gopez and Cherkasky took their court to a third game after winning the first, 21-16, and losing the second, 20-22. The girls were able to regain confidence for the third game, sweeping in a 21-15 win. 

Martinez and Suszko won their first game, 21-11, and their second, 21-18, while Ansari and Williams played a similar match with their first game resulting in a 21-16 win and their second, 21-18. 

Unfortunately for the Kits, New Trier had the upper hand over one court, winning against Bazan-Gonzales and Larsen, 21-15, in the first game and 22-20 in the second. 

Following the first round of matches, senior Katy Scott and junior Jillian Arnyai played the last doubles match of the night. After losing the first game 15-21, the girls quickly bounced back and won the second 21-14. Their opponents were unable to rebound, and the girls took the victory with the third game ending with a 21-17 Kits win.

Heading into singles play, the Kits brought the same drive.

“Some of us were nervous,” Williams said. “But we stayed positive till the end.”

If there were nerves, the girls did not show them. With aggressive offense and scrappy defense, the Kits forged an impressive outcome. 

The same lineup of twelve returned to the courts for singles matches, where many Kits found success as well. 

Broughton wrapped up her match in two sets, winning 21-9 and 21-5 respectively. Gopez faced a similar fate, winning her first game, 21-7, and her second, 21-3. Cherkasky won both of her games, 21-17, and Williams’ match looked similar, winning 21-14 in her first game and 21-15 in her second. Frajman finished her first game with a victory of 21-13, and gaining momentum, she wrapped up her second with her opponent only scoring four points. Mimicking Frajman’s match, Suszko won her first game, 21-1,2 and her second 21-4. Arnyai and Scott both secured Evanston victories as well, Arnyai winning her games, 21-15 and 21-8, and Scott winning, 21-12 and 21-16. Bazan-Gonzales and Larsen also made a comeback after losing their doubles match with Bazan-Gonzales winning her sets, 21-14 and 21-11, and Larsen taking her match to three games with respective scores of 23-21, 19-21 and 21-14. Martinez also took her court to three games after losing her first set, 14-21, and winning her second, 21-16, but unfortunately, she lost her third set in a close game, 19-21. Ansari also lost her singles match, 21-23 in the first game and 13-21 in the second.

Overall, the girls ended the night with a 15-3 victory, and more importantly, a feeling of togetherness towards one another.

“Our team’s biggest strength was communication,” Williams said. “At the beginning, there were a few pairs that [had] never played together before, but with training, we got better at calling out shots and motivating each other.”

Junior team Manager Moni Adeosun concurs. 

“Our [biggest] strength is that we are our greatest supporters,” Adeosun said, “and that showed [up] well tonight.”