Jiao Brings Women's National Title Back to Ohlone College

By Matt Hetherington | April 17, 2019, 12:53 a.m. (ET)

The Women's singles final of the 2019 iSET National Collegiate Table Tennis Championships was an absolute spectacle. An open field of opportunity lay in wait, with defending champion Wu Yue and her fellow US Olympian Lily Zhang both living and training full time overseas.

Players prepared to make their mark on the competition. Early on there were names making strong cases for victory. Angela Guan of UC Berkeley was in fine defensive form, while Texas Wesleyan's Wenting Zha was ready to make her point, as the top seed.

While they were aiming for the finals, Ohlone College's newcomer and it's former star were making preparations of its own. Ying Wang, a former Women's singles champion herself (now representing UC Berkeley), alongside her old Jiangxi province teammate Jiao Qiao, were plotting to push through the draw and contest the championship.

The two would both reach the semifinal stage, though Wenting Zha made short work of Wang, while Jiao Qiao managed to get through a tough match with Angela Guan, winning 4-1.

Into the final and Wenting Zha was yet to drop a game along the road. She would meet her biggest challenger. The two players both left handed, Jiao Qiao with short pips on her backhand.

The match followed some similar patterns in the opening stages, with rapid cross-court exchanges backhand to backhand. Zha often made the first move, punching the ball down the line, or finding opportunities with her forehand.

The Wesleyan player took the lead early, but
Jiao made some quick adjustments. She mixed the pace on her backhand, forcing timing errors from Zha. Also the Ohlone player took more opportunities to step around and unleash her forehand.

There were tense moments as Jiao took away the important 5
th game and marched to a 3-2 lead. It was decisive.

Options slipped away for Zha as Jiao maintained her momentum. Determined as ever to claim the title.

In the end it would be Jiao Qiao who held the trophy for the women's singles. Not the result Wenting Zha had hoped for, but she would take away silver, along with the gold medals from the co-ed and women's team events.

Congratulations to all the women's medalists!