They were made badminton partners for this season, a doubles player and a singles player, a senior and a sophomore, two distinct personalities who turned out to be one perfect match.
Grace Fong was improved and on the move, going from second doubles to second singles for Great Neck South. So Nicole Yim, who has always played doubles and prefers it, needed a new partner for her senior year. Bernice Wong, who played third singles as a freshman, was shifted to team with Yim.
“Nicole is very level and consistent and Bernice is full of energy and spunk,” said Rebels coach Allison Romeo Gottfried. “They’re both very talented players, take the sport very seriously. They never miss a practice. “Their dynamic was phenomenal from the beginning.”
They won all 10 of their matches during the regular season. But the exclamation point for Great Neck South’s first doubles team came Saturday at Jericho’s gym.
Yim and Wong played five matches and took them all. The final one, a 21-10, 21-9 decision over Jericho’s Devon Jin and Michelle Dong, gave them the Nassau girls doubles championship.
“I definitely think it’s a very big deal,” Wong said. “Not everyone gets to be a county champion. I’m really grateful for Nicole because I know she worked her butt off this season, being my partner. It’s not an easy thing to go from playing singles to playing doubles. Having Nicole by my side working with me really helped. ”
There was special satisfaction for Yim winning this championship.
“It means so much because last year Grace and I… we ended up losing to Jericho’s doubles,” Yim said of an early match in that county tournament. “So it feels like retribution for Bernice and I.
“I think we played really well. We kind of felt the pressure and I think we really pulled through. ”
Jin and Dong had beaten Jericho sisters Angela Zhu and Sophia Zhu, 21-10, 21-15, in the semifinals. The Zhus had made a surprising run. They were a fourth doubles team and were seeded 30th.
Yim and Wong defeated Jericho’s Dora Weng and Jessica Li, 21-17, 21-17, in their semifinal.
“I think when we started here, we were very nervous,” Wong said. “As we went throughout our games, Nicole was there to support me for a lot of it. When we made mistakes, she was always there to tell me it’s OK, and I just focused on the next point. ”
“I’m really happy with the outcome, obviously,” she added. “I couldn’t have hoped for a better partner.”
Yim could say the same thing about Wong.
“She just motivates me,” Yim said. “She’s always so peppy and very exuberant on the court.”