Michael Yoo of Hunting Hills High School plays a match against James Nguyen of Medicine Hat Friday afternoon at Lindsay Thurber High School. Alberta High School Badminton Provincial Championships are taking place in Red Deer at Lindsay Thurber, Hunting Hills and Notre Dame high schools . (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate Staff)

On to the quarters at ASAA Badminton Provincials

The Notre Dame Cougars continued their dominance on day 1 of provincials in Red Deer

Two local teens look poised for a rematch as round robin play wrapped up at the 2017 Alberta Schools’ Athletic Association Badminton Provincials in Red Deer on Friday.

At Lindsay Thurber in intermediate boys singles play, the two central zone entries, Andrew Abey of Hunting Hills and Notre Dame’s Rene Griese went undefeated in their pools with dominant victories.

Abey said his consistency was the key to his strong play on Friday, but knows he’ll have to be more aggressive if wants to win when the pressure amps up Saturday in the quarter finals.

“I played well, focused on being consistent and moving the other player around and I think I was successful in doing that,” Abey said. “It would be amazing (to win), especially since it’s Red Deer. It’s my first time in provincials so it’d be really exciting.”

Griese took gold in a tight battle with Abey at zones on Monday, and his coach Leroy Stanisclaus said for the Notre Dame team as a whole, mental fortitude will push them forward when the matches get tougher.

“The biggest thing is to be mentally prepared. We are a small school in comparison to Calgary and Edmonton. Going against these bigger schools so we just need to get the kids focused and have fun and play badminton.”

Stanisclaus and his Cougars’ team are the defending 4A Badminton champions, with 19 entries in the provincial tournament this year there’s plenty of pressure to win on Saturday.

“Last year we won the banner, I think we match up pretty well, we just have to play hard,” he said. “The pressure is on, this year the competition is much better because nationals was way earlier… they are a little bit nervous but I think we can pull through.”

After day 1, Notre Dame was the top 4A school with 26 total points, leading Crescent Heights of Calgary by six for the overall lead.

The Notre Dame duo of Avery Lajeunesse and Reid Howell went undefeated in junior mixed doubles play with wins over St. Mary’s (19-21, 21-11, 21-17), Hillside High School (21-2, 21-12) and Glenmary (21-11, 21-14). Anne-Marie Purdy and Brian Pabilona of Notre Dame finished 1-2 in round robin play in mixed intermediate action.

In senior mixed doubles, the Notre Dame team of Zalaski and Ouellette were 3-0 with victories against Redwater High School (24-22, 21-18), Harry Ainlay (21-18, 21-16) and Brooks Composite (21-19, 21-18).

Jenna Hollman and Janelle Agot of Notre Dame also teamed up to go undefeated in intermediate doubles pool play. They took down Western Canada (14-21, 21-18, 21-11), St Mary High School (21-5, 21-12) and E.W. Pratt High School (21-9, 21-16).

Fellow Cougars Emily Downey and Denssyl Marijoboc were tops in their pool on the senior girls doubles side with wins over Henry Wise Wood (21-13, 21-10), Georges P. Vanier High School (21-8, 21-12) and Fort Vermilion Public (21-2, 21-5).

Another Notre Dame pair, Ben LeBlanc and Ty Moline were won their pool with three victories over Lester B. Pearson (11-21, 21-18, 21-19), St. Joseph Catholic (21-2, 22-4) and Hillside High School (21-15, 21-7).

Senior Stacy Mabborang was yet another Cougar who played perfect badminton in pool play, with wins over St. Francis (19-21, 21-11, 21-19), Ecole Heritage (21-13, 21-14) and Georges P Vanier High School (21-9, 21-9).

Micheal Yoo of Hunting Hills in senior boys play went 1-2 in round robin.

In senior boys doubles play, Cougars’ Matthew Heron and Jaun Zuluaga went 2-1.

The Lacombe senior mixed doubles team of Gina Sosnowski and Darin Fodor went 2-1, and teammates Katie Ballhorn and Quincy Buffalo went 1-2.

Also from Lacombe, Victoria Brandon and Camryn Fodor won all three matches. They beat John G. Diefenbaker (17-21, 22-20, 21-15), Catholic Central High School (21-13, 21-13) and Paul Rowe High School (21-16, 21-19).

Jasleen Kaur of Viking High School won all three matches in junior girls play while Notre Dame’s Tyler Vercaigne went 1-2.

Tiegen Mattice went 1-2 for the Cougars on the junior boys side and Matthew Marshal of Hunting Hills was 2-1.

Both central representatives in junior boys doubles play went undefeated with Tyler Watt and Kody Kopec of Notre Dame winning three matches as well as the Penhold Skyhawks duo of Mason Love and Josh Linton.

Quarter final matches get underway at 9 a.m. at Hunting Hills for singles play, Lindsay Thurber for doubles and Notre Dame for mixed doubles. For the full schedule of Saturday’s matches, go to www.asaa.ca/championships/site/asaa-badminton-provincials-2017/schedule.

byron.hackett@bprda.wpengine.com

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