In physics, vacated spaces are instantly filled - so, too, it seems are opportunities on the Douglas College Royals badminton team.
Last season, the defending six-time B.C. Colleges' provincial champion Royals lost national doubles partners Melody Liang and Stephanie Ko to graduation.
This season, three-time Canadian Colleges' female badminton player of the year, Ruilin Huang, left the team to take time off, leaving the rebuilding Royals with a vacuum to fill.
Enter former three-time mixed doubles national champion Charmagne Yeung.
The fourth-year Royal quickly established herself as the team captain and has since led the team by example into a near 200-point lead atop the PacWest badminton standings after the first two of four scheduled tournaments.
In the process, Yeung won two consecutive female badminton athlete of the week honours following tournaments at Vancouver Island University in October and Langara College last month to help lead Douglas back to the top.
"I knew badminton was there for me," said Yeung, who is entering the first of two years in a professional writing diploma program. "We've had to adjust, but we have a very supportive team. It really feels like a family. It was like that before I left. It was familiar and welcoming."
At the most recent tournament, Yeung teamed with Logan Campbell to win the mixed doubles. She also surprised herself with a win in singles against the favoured Veronica Yeung, no relation, from Capilano University.
"Our attitude is pulling us through right now," said Douglas head coach Al Mawani, who recruited four first-year players into the program this season.
"For us, we had three superstars. (This year) We're not a team of superstars, but a team of very good players with potential."
Campbell had been on Mawani's recruiting radar for three years and is a past junior national titlist with former Royal Darren Hong.
Sophomore Rey Luo Wei won a national doubles title with Hong last year. Amy Leung and freshman Lisa Chen are currently coupled in women's doubles.
Bob Sharma is a walk-on from India, while fifth-year transfer Simon Wu came over from Kwantlen University and Frances Lui from Richmond.
Collectively, the team is ahead of where it expected to be at this juncture of the season.
Yeung said she has not felt any of the pressure that coming back to a storied program might bring.
"I haven't felt pressure to live up to the standards of before. It was nice. He (Mawani) just wanted us to enjoy training and playing," Yeung said. "To be a team leader, I must always be at training and support the other athletes, and stress open communication. I would definitely like a fourth CCAA national title. I would definitely like that."
So would Mawani, who first coached Yeung at Shuttlesport Academy when she was just seven years old.
"He (Mawani) has that same passion for badminton even now and it shows in the club. I can have fun there, but I'm also there to learn," Yeung said.
Yeung added that the singles win over her Capilano namesake last month was a pivotal point in the early season.
"I felt there was a bit of pressure to support my team. I've always had that stigma when playing singles," Yeung said. "It was nice to fight through that and do it in an individual event and come out OK."
It is times like those that Yeung believes the legacy of the Douglas program's past success is an inspiration for all Royals badminton players.
"The first couple of tournaments we've been able to pull out the results we wanted. We knew we can do it," Yeung said. "It does feel prestigious to be on the Douglas College team. - It's tough but you will see results as long as you are willing to put in the 110 per cent."