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Falcons hit speed bump in otherwise solid season

  • Written by Derek Johnson
In the intervening time since the Woodinville Weekly covered them, the Falcons have been on a roll. The girls had won five of their past six matches, including 11-0 triumphs over Bothell and Mercer Island.
 
But last Monday against Lake Washington, they fell 6 to 5. The loss left Woodinville with a 6-4 record, good enough for 4th place in Kingco’s Drop Shot Division.
 
Woodinville’s top player, Ashritha Aroun, cruised to a 21-10, 21-11 victory over her Kangaroo opponent. The sophomore has been a strong asset to this team that is only in its second season of existence.
 
badmitton2Woodinville's Ashritha Aroun leads the way. (Photo by Derek Johnson) “It’s fun to watch her play,” Woodinville coach Darcy Vittuli said. “Ashritha has great technical skills and a great attitude. Her footwork is improved this year. Everyone looks up to our number one player. I always tell the other players to watch her. You can learn from her footwork and how she makes her opponent move.”
 
Other Falcon winners on this day included Lucy Cherrier, Dima Minkin and Shreya Lakshmi. As for doubles, Hannah and Becca Wheeler (aka “The Wheeler Dealers”) won their match 21-16, 21-18.
“Hannah and Becca are sisters,” Vittuli said. “They were not initially together as partners. We made a switch on a whim. And they have become a powerhouse. It clicked for them. Their family comes out and watches them -- they’ve got a great family. It’s fun.”
 
NEVER A DULL MOMENT
 
Ashritha Aroun may have coasted to an easy victory last Monday. But by no means was her match dull.
 
Her teammate Paige Henderson sat courtside. And when Henderson wasn’t helping out a reporter with rule clarifications, she provided a running commentary throughout the match.
 
badmittonHannah Wheeler (left) and her sister Becca, are known to teammates as "The Wheeler Dealers". (Photo by Derek Johnson) “You’ve got this baby!” Henderson exclaimed to Aroun.  “Oh wow, that was a beautiful shot! Are you even giving a full effort? How do you make it look so easy? You’re making this look too easy! Oh my God, I’m being loud. It’s so quiet in here… I’m probably being too loud!”
 
“Paige is a senior and has never gone out for a sport her whole high school career,” Vittuli said. “But she heard that badminton was fun and she wanted to come out [and play].”
 
“I think it’s great we have people like that on our team,” Aroun said afterward with a wide grin. “We have a wide variety of personalities. She was helping me out there. It reduced my stress. I knew I had people behind me, so I was like `I’ve got this! I’m good.’”
 
Coach Vittuli smiled while discussing Henderson.
 
“Paige is a great morale booster,” Vittuli said. “We have weekly dress up days when they pick a theme and they dress up. And she’s one that has the best outfit on for all the themes. She’s very fun.”

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