Badminton Out & About: St. Paul City Championships


To quote an old Frank Sinatra song “Fairy Tales can come true it can happen to you.” Today that line should go “it can happen to Nwe.” Cinderella Nwe took home the St. Paul City title on Thursday in the singles division. It was the first time an Eagle had won the city championship in that division. In 2016 Mu Law and Mu Soe won the doubles title for Washington, that school’s only other title. The #2 seed Nwe beat #1 seed HaNeul Jeong-McDonell in three sets. On Tuesday HJM won in two sets at Washington.

On the doubles side of the ledger host Johnson picked up their seventh doubles championship. #1 seeds Ashley Her and Birdy Xiong needed three sets in their win over #3 seed Julia Bowron and Emma Clift. They also needed three sets in the semis. They followed the same pattern as Cinderella with wins in the second and third set.

Both champions will now be the #1 seed in the state individual tournament which will be held next Thursday at Edina beginning at 4:30.


HaNeul Jeong-McDonell, HP def Yeng Lai Thao, J 19-21, 21-9, 21-8

Cinderella Nwe, W def Pa Nra Lee, CP 21-13, 21-14
Yeng Lai Thao, J def Pa Nra Lee, CP 23-25, 21-19, 21-12

Cinderella Nwe, W def HaNeul Jeong-McDonell, HP 10-21, 21-17, 21-16

Ashley Her / Birdy Xiong, J def Ana Xiong / Kimberly Tobar, HA 18-21, 21-15, 21-13
Julia Bowron / Emma Clift, C def Faith Moua / Hope Moua, J 21-15, 21-14

Faith Moua / Hope Moua, J def Ana Xiong / Kimberly Tobar, HA 21-13, 21-19

Ashley Her / Birdy Xiong, J def Julia Bowron / Emma Clift, C 16-21, 21-15, 21-8


HaNeul JEONG-MCDONELL 2, Yeng Lai THAO 1 (19-21, 21-9, 21-8)

As befitting high level badminton, this match went three sets. But after the first frame the match tilted heavily in favor of Ha Neul. The first set was nip and tuck all the way through with side outs ruling, and runs left hanging. Each player only had one in the first set. In the first eleven points, 10 came on side outs. HaNeul was the first to score on her serve (point 2) but she wasn’t able to get a winner until point six. Just like in the first match up at Johnson early in the year miscounting reared its head. Again HaNeul was left behind. I had her victorious in the first set 21-18….but they kept playing. When they stopped Yeng Lai Thao had won the first set, but I still had HaNeul up 22-21. After a conference between the coaches and players at the end of set one they were allowed to ask the score if any of the players had questions. It had to come from them. I was the resource. I was tapped in the second set—-I believe around 17-6. As you can see HaNeul gathered three runs in her first three services and held host Yeng Lai to single digits. A massive nine point run in the third set gave HaNeul a 12-3 lead. Four of those points came on two stroke errors as HaNeul kept Yeng Lai off balance with her serve.

Some key differences in this match came at the side out level where HaNeul slammed the door 25 times. Holding Yeng Lai to only one run of three in the match was critical. Giving away seven points on serve did not help Thao’s cause.

Category HaNeul Yeng Lai
Side out 25/31-.806 18/33-.545
Longest side out string 7 5
3+ Runs 9 1
Longest point string 9 3
First Serve 1, 3 2
Service points 33 7
Serving % 62/64-.969 31/38-.838
Point generated off serve .516 .184
POINTS 64 38
Points after 11 24 31
Points after own errors 14 17
Winners after own errors 9 10
Strokes 198 132
Strokes per point 3.094 3.474
5+ rallies 14 7
2- rallies 35 15
By set 10-8-9 13-4-4
Aces 0 0
Blocks 0 0
Clears 7 5
Drives 6 5
Drops 1 1
Soft drives 4 4
Smashes 9 6
ERRORS 17 37
By set 8-5-4 12-13-12
Deep 7 12
Fans 0 0
Net 2 7
Wide 6 11
Serve 2 7
SET UP 30 18
Deep serve 5 4
Short serve 8 0
Block 0 1
Clear 7 6
Drive 5 2
Drop 4 1
Soft drive 1 0
smash 0 0
Clear 0 1
Soft drive 1 1
smash 0 0
Largest Lead 4-12-13 1-2-1
W:E Ratio 1.588 0.568
Margin 8.667  
Set Point % 2/2-1.000 ½-.500
Time 27:44  



(10-21, 21-17, 21-16)

Perhaps Cinderella Nwe should be nicknamed the closer. She has finished strong in the latter part of the year and in the late goings in the sets have risen to the occasion. Today HaNeul had a dominating first set win, holding Cinderella to ten. Another mega-run by the HP Scot—this time ten points—put the first set on ice at 20-8. Two late clears did not change the outcome.

It was Cinderella in the second set that picked up the first run to lead 4-2 after her second service. A change was already underfoot with three of those points ending up as winners. HaNeul used a run of three to tie it at eight. Her biggest margin was only one point held at five points in the second set, the last coming on a four stroke cross court drop. But she missed her serve directly after which opened the door for the patented Cinderella Close. She scored on serve with a three stroke drop. A missed serve tied it at 16. A four stroke drive and then a three stroke clear put her up 18-16. HaNeul was unable to silence Cinderella on her last three services, while Cinderella did not allow HaNeul to rev up her scoring in her last three services. A key point came on a wide shot to the left sideline deep in Cinderella’s court. That made the score 19-17. That action happened on the deep end away from me. It was soon off to the final set.

A seven zip start put HaNeul in a hole and she had to struggle to make up for lost ground. The race is to 21. HaNeul was up to the challenge and scored five straight to cut the margin to 10-7. Cinderella was using her skyscraper serve, which actually hit the beams a couple of times. The game settled into side out mode with eight consecutive bird switches. The difference was Cinderella was getting the bird back with winners—eight stroke smashes on her last two side outs. Cinderella pushed out to 18-12 when HaNeul came up with her final run of the night to narrow the margin to 18-15. There was a rat-a-tat-tat sequence with the bird hugging the net on a 14 stroke drive won by Cinderella for a side out point at 20-16. She capped her victory with a nine stroke smash.

Category Cinderella HaNeul
Side out 18/28-.643 15/30-.500
Longest side out string 5 4
3+ Runs 4 5
Longest point string 7 10
First Serve 1, 3 2
Service points 24 26
Serving % /52 /54
Point generated off serve .462 .481
POINTS 52 54
Points after 11 22 26
Points after own errors 18 10
Winners after own errors 12 5
Strokes 239 236
Strokes per point 4.596 4.370
5+ rallies 17 18
2- rallies 14 18
By set 6-13-12 9-6-6
Aces 2 1
Blocks 0 2
Clears 12 6
Drives 6 2
Drops 2 2
Soft drives 1 4
Smashes 8 4
ERRORS 33 21
Deep 0 6
Fans 1 0
Net 18 9
Wide 7 4
Serve 7 2
SET UP 19 26
Deep serve 4 3
Short serve 1 4
Block 1 1
Clear 11 9
Drive 1 5
Drop 0 1
Soft drive 1 0
smash 0 3
Soft drive 2 4
smash 1 5
Largest Lead 1-4-8 12-1-0
W:E Ratio 0.939 1.000
Margin   0.667
Set Point % 2/2-1.000 1/3-.333
Time 25:23  


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