by REDintern Tessa Cho
Toa Payoh Sports Hall, Wednesday, May 8, 2013 — Nanyang Junior College (NYJC) took down defending champions Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) in three straight sets (25–22, 25–20, 26–24) to win the final of the National A Division Boys’ Volleyball Championship.
In 2012, NYJC had finished second while HCI had won their fourth consecutive title.
Having previously met each other in the second round where NYJC had won 2–0, the straight-sets win in the final for NYJC was a much closer and tougher fight with HCI strengthened by the return of a handful of previously injured players.
HCI were quick to gain an upper hand early in the game, maintaining a two-point margin before NY managed to close-in to tie at 10–10. With a spike by Adalric Ng (#4), NYJC finally managed to take their first lead in the set. Strong defence by Marvin Li (#2) and Shen Fan Yang (#1) enabled NYJC to widen their lead further by another two points.
However, NYJC could not pull away as HCI matched them point for point all the way and tied it at 22–22. However, a couple of HCI mistakes saw NYJC seal the first set 25–22.
The second set proceeded in a similar fashion with the score close. A strong defence by Darius Seow (#12) and Wayne Yeung (#13) enabled HCI to break through the impasse for a four-point lead at 14–10. NYJC retained their composure and came back strongly to tie at 17–17 before launching a strong attack for an 18–17 lead. Gathering steam from this comeback, NYJC eventually closed out the set with a spike from Shen Fan Yang (#1) to win 25–20.
With only a set away from the championship title, the boys began to panic a little after the second set, said Marvin Li (#2), captain of NYJC. While NYJC took an early 5–3 lead, their mistakes saw them donating free points to HCI who then managed to gain a five-point lead.
HCI came back with increased aggression as Poon Pei Jie (#1), Darius Seow (#12) and Wayne Yeung (#13) took turns to deliver a few strong spikes across, helping them to widen their lead to eight points (20–12).
Nevertheless, the invincible NYJC team, who lost their only set in the entire championship during their round two match against Victoria Junior College, proved their prowess as they fought their way back steadily. A couple of winning shots by the NY boys saw them put together a five-point streak. NYJC conceded just one point to HCI before continuing with another run, this time of three points, to close the gap with HCI to just one.
The NY boys showed their control as they found unguarded spaces in the HCI court to score points. Tied at 22–22, both teams played cautiously as the end drew near. With the set heading into a deuce, a clean spike by NYJC and a wild return by HCI saw NYJC win the last set 26–24.
“We are very happy to finally clinch back the gold after having it slip past for the past four years, mostly due to our own mistakes,” said Marvin (#2). “There were many anxious moments throughout the match, especially when we were down and had to catch up. But ultimately, we just wanted to play our very best and with no regrets since its also out last game of the year. And I think we did it.”
NYJC 3 HCI 0
Score by Sets
NYJC vs HCI
1st Set: 25-22
2nd Set: 25-20
3rd Set: 26-24
Shen Fan Yang (#1), Li Jiayun Marvin (#2), Chew Yuxi (#3), Adalric Ng Pin Yan (#4), Tan Yi Liang (#6), Ong Wei Xiang (#7), Alvin Ong Wei Siang (#8), Wu DiYuan (#9), Wilson Ker Wee Leong (#10), Chew Zhi Yong (#11), Teo Si Jing (#12), Danish Hariq (#13), Chong Xuan Li (#14), Ng Jun Hao (#18)
Poon Pei Jie (#1), Lee Han Ying (#2), Wong XianLun (#4), Chua Zhi Yong (#6), Oh Yong Tai (#7), Nicholas N Novakovic (#8), Joshua Lay Kwang Sheng (#9), Lee Wei Ren, Benjamin (#10), Soo Peng Ru (#11), Darius Seow Kiat Ming (#12), Wayne Yeung Keng Wy (#13), Wong Kan Hon (#14), Lee Chong Hon (#17), Wang Hong Sen (#18)
More photos next page