By REDintern Tessa Cho
Toa Payoh Sports Hall, Wednesday, May 8, 2013 — Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) defeated defending champions Nanyang Junior College (NYJC) 3–1 (25–12, 18–25, 25–17, 25–7) to win the final of the National A Division Girls’ Volleyball Championship.
This is the first A Division volleyball title for ACJC while NYJC were champions in three out of the last four years. In 2012, ACJC finished fourth, and their best showing before this year was coming in second to Hwa Chong Institution in 2010.
ACJC built up their momentum quickly to gain a 3–0 lead in the first set. Despite NYJC’s efforts, ACJC’s aggressive attacks saw them creating a sizeable eight-point lead at 16–8. NYJC could only score another four points before ACJC sealed the first set 25–12.
Riding on their momentum, ACJC were quick to secure a 6-1 lead in the opening few minutes of the second set. A few strong spikes by Rachel Lau (#10) and Fong Shi Yun (#13) and good saves by Lau Ee Shan (#11) allowed NYJC to catch up and tie at 9–9 with ACJC. NYJC’s strong comeback saw them continue with a five-point run to turn the tables and lead 14-9. The atmosphere intensified as both sides took turns to score but it was NY who closed out the second set 25–18 to tie the overalls core at 1–1.
The third set was marked by longer rallies and more close saves. While ACJC initially led 2–0, NY swiftly came back to tie at 5–5. With a strong defence by the NYJC girls, the score was kept tight up to 10–10, before ACJC managed to make a breakthrough, creating a four-point lead at 15–11. ACJC’s aggressiveness and NYJC’s cautious play saw the former ultimately taking the third set 25–17.
With an overall 2–1 lead, the ACJC girls took on the fourth set with renewed vigour. “Even to the end, we didn’t relax. Every single point mattered,” confirmed Eleanor Toh (#7), captain of ACJC.
The fourth and final set clearly belonged to ACJC. Despite NYJC’s attempts at saving the ball, ACJC jumped out to a 3–0 lead. Giving away only two points, ACJC managed to up their lead to five points (7–2) before embarking on a merciless seven-point run, bringing the score to 14–2.
Rachel Lau (#10) of NYJC attempted to halt ACJC’s streak with a spike that earned her team a point. However, it was to no avail as ACJC pulled away to establish a 15-point lead at 20–5. NYJC only managed to score two more points before ACJC won the set 25–7 to seal a historic 3–1 win.
Captain of NYJC, Rachel Lau (#10), congratulated ACJC on their win, saying that “the AC team was very strong and deserved their championship”.
“We made a lot of mistakes on our part. While the second set, where we won, really boosted our morale, I guess it only lasted for a while. We really lost steam in the last set,” added Rachel.
When asked about the pressure of defending their championship title, Rachel commented: “We did feel a lot of pressure but our coach did tell us to just play our best and focus on the game. But it’s just inside. Like even if everyone doesn’t say it, you know that you are pressurized to take the championship trophy.”
While past NYJC teams had played players who played together in secondary school, this year’s NYJC team saw players from eight different schools. With players who were shorter than past batches, the NYJC team also had to adopt a more defensive strategy.
For ACJC, their hard work paid off.
“The win was very well-deserved. We trained really hard and really gave our best,” said ACJC captain Eleanor Toh. ACJC trained under their coach every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, and trained by themselves every Tuesday and Thursday.
ACJC 3 NYJC 1
Score by Sets
ACJC vs NYJC
1st Set: 25-12
2nd Set: 18-25
3rd Set: 25-17
4th Set: 25-7
Lim Hui Tien (#1), Ryshire Wu Hui Minn (#2), Stephanie Chiang (#4), Adeline Seah Ningsui (#6), Eleanor Toh Gou Jun (#7), Jessica Chua Bin Zhao (#8, RL) Agnes Ng Qiu Xian (#9), Jocelyn Bong Lin-Ling (#10), Amanda Tan Jia Qian (#11), Sharmin Yeo (#13, AL), Chew Jia Le (#14), Chew Jia Hui (#15), Jana Koh Jia Min (#17)
Chan Tin Wing (#1), Ong Qiu Luan (#2), Ong Qiu feng (#3, AL), Tan Hui Shi (#4), Tan Hui Yuh (#5), Teng Yan Ning (#6), Tan Yan Ling Valerie (#7, RL), Lim Zhi Yi Vanessa (#8), Jean Choo Mun Mun (#9), Lau Yue Ting Rachel (#10), Lau Ee Shan (#11), Lee Le Yuan (#12), Fong Shi Yun (#13)
*AL- Acting Libero, RL- Reserve Libero
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