Neuqua Valley badminton starts DVC play with an impressive victory over Naperville North

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The girls badminton season is back on the court as two of the top programs in the state go head to head with Neuqua Valley visiting Naperville North. You never know what you’ll see at a match like this one, from big time smashes to a hot dog eating a cookie. The Wildcats finished tied for second at state last season and return some key veterans as well as exciting newcomers. This highlight is sponsored by BMO.

Neuqua Valley controls the top doubles matchups

Starting things off at number three doubles we see Mika Chung and Tavneet Gadhoke from Naperville North against Diya Gowda and Saniya Joseph from Neuqua Valley. The Wildcats serving in the first set, but the Huskies show quick reactions as Gadhoke earns the point as her backhand drops just over the net for the point.

Later in the set, Neuqua has a response as Saniya Joseph pounces on a return with a quick smash across the court to help the Wildcats take the opening set 21-13.

In a back and fourth second set, Gowda covers the back line for Neuqua and takes part in a lengthy rally. Joseph then smashes a return that stays in play for the point. Neuqua Valley takes the win in straight sets 21-13, 21-16.

In two doubles Amber Shi and Yilin Liu from Neuqua Valley face Kotryna Petreikyte and Cherise Lee from North. Petreikyte was a state qualifier a season ago, working with a new partner this spring. On the Wildcat serve, Lee with a quick backhand flick of the wrist drops in the point for the Huskies.

Neuqua serving later in the match as both Petreikyte and Lee have a return, but the Wildcats take the point on a perfectly placed lob that lands near the back line. Neuqua takes the two-set victory 21-14, 21-8. Naperville North does get a win in four doubles behind Paula Sun and Varsha Parthasarathy.

The Wildcats show their strength in singles as well

Moving on to the singles division we see Naperville North sophomore Rakshita Ruparel, who qualified for state as a freshman against Luna Han from Neuqua Valley, competing as a freshman herself. In the first set, Ruparel forces Han into a backhand lob and comes back with a strong smash for the point.

Later in the set, the Wildcat returns the favor as Ruparel returns a backhand lob but Han is ready for the quick strike for the point.

Despite being a freshman, Luna Han shows she has the ability to play beyond her years with some powerful smashes to help herself to a straight set victory for the blue and gold.

In number three singles, Kanyanat Vajworarat is back for the Wildcats after a top five finish in doubles at state. She squares off with Kotryna Petreikyte. Vajworarat and Luna Han also picked up a win in one doubles earlier in the day.

Early in the first set, Petreikyte puts an overhead return right on the line for the point to help her cause.

But her Wildcat opponent is able to seize control from there. Vajworarat forces Petreikyte into a backhand lob, which allows her to wait back for the powerful smash. Another singles victory for Neuqua Valley in straight sets.

On to the number one singles matchup where the state runner up from a season ago, Hannah George is back and ready for her junior campaign. Kelly Hu steps into the top spot for Naperville North.

Hu hangs tough in the opening set with a smash that dives away from the reach of George to earn back-to-back points for the Huskie.

Hannah George does not stay down for long, despite Han trying to move her around the court, the Wildcat is ready with each return before smashing down the lob to take the first set 21-7.

George in the far court now in the second set. She hooks an overhand smash down to the court for the point. She takes the win in two sets, 21-7, 21-8 as Neuqua Valley takes the team victory over Naperville North badminton 14-1 to start DVC play in impressive fashion.

For more prep sports highlights, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!