Story by Jiexin Neo/Red Sports. Photos by Rebekah Abbott/Red Sports
Toa Payoh Sports Hall, Friday, April 11, 2014 — Ngee Ann Secondary (NAS) hung on to beat St. Hilda’s Secondary (SHS) 3–1 (25–21, 26–24, 22–25, 25–18) to win the final of the B Division Girls Volleyball Championship.
St. Hilda’s were eliminated in the first round of the nationals last year, but managed to qualify for the final this year. Both teams met in the East Zone final this year, where Ngee Ann went down to St. Hilda’s to emerge runners-up.
In the first set, Isabel Lim (NAS #12) started off well for Ngee Ann and played a crucial role during offensive and defensive plays. She registered a couple of short spikes which were difficult to save as they travelled fast and sharply downward. Charmaine Wong (SHS #1) was the key defensive player for her team as she had several good blocks at the net and made several strong unattended spikes. Midway into the set, St. Hilda’s had a slight 11–10 lead, but then on Ngee Ann led all the way to secure the first win (25–21).
After the break, Ngee Ann opened the scoring with Eunice How (#9)’s spike to lead 1–0. Ho Sue Li (#8)’s good defence added another point for the team (2–0). Following Ngee Ann’s defensive mistakes, St. Hilda’s managed to capitalize on their opponents’ errors to level at 2–2. From there, they matched each other point for point until St. Hilda’s grabbed the lead and pulled away to 20–16 towards the end of the second set. However, Eunice (NAS #9)’s two consecutive spikes helped pace her team to draw even at 20–20.
From there, they alternated to score until St. Hilda’s led 24–23 and were looking at a crucial match point to close the set. However, Sue Li (#8)’s dive for a good save helped keep her team in contention for the win. Following that, Eunice (#9)’s defensive dive and St. Hilda’s mistake allowed Ngee Ann to ice the second set 26–24.
In the third set, Ngee Ann were looking for a win to end off the game, but St. Hilda’s retaliated with commendable team effort. Charmaine (SHS #1) continued with her good game, spiking one after another to gradually add points onto the scoreboard. She also recorded many blocks to deny Ngee Ann crucial points. Trina Ang (#5) also spiked a few balls to lead her team offensively. St. Hilda’s led throughout this set to take it 25–22.
Ngee Ann started off the final set with great determination. They made defensive mistakes here and there, but good team chemistry allowed the players on court to cover up for one another. St. Hilda’s also refused to budge, and as such both teams matched point for point until it was 14–14. Thereafter St. Hilda’s flimsy defence allowed Ngee Ann take on a five-point lead (20–15). Eunice (NAS #9) was outstanding towards the end with her well-timed spikes, and her team followed up with good saves to seal a 25–18 win to emerge champions.
Ngee Ann’s captain, Isabel (#12), said, “We feel very proud and would like to thank everyone who’s supported us during this journey. I think it’s a sweet victory to win St. Hilda’s now as we lost to them in the East Zone final.”
On their journey to become champions, Isabel commented, “For previous matches we were always lagging behind, once by 10 points, 2–12, but we managed to catch up to them. It’s quite nerve wracking sometimes to chase point by point. For training, we were more focussed at what we are weak at and where we lost points.”
St. Hilda’s captain, Trina (#5), said, “I feel that it’s a waste because not all of us played our best today. It’s a good feeling to come so far, as we were only in the nationals top 16 last year.”
Scoring by Set
NAS vs SHS
1st set: 25–21
2nd set: 26–24
3rd set: 22–25
4th set: 25–18
Ngee Ann Secondary Roster
Celine Ho Xin Ru (#5), Ho Sue Li (#8), How Lai Kit Eunice (#9), Kwang Yi Juin (#11), Isabel Lim Ai Shan (#12), Chen Kah Wai (#13), Toh Jing Wen
St. Hilda’s Secondary Roster
Charmaine Wong Min Hui (#1), Tammy Choo Min Li (#2), Rachel Foo Jing Xin (#3), Trina Ang Li Xian (#5), Lam Xian Mou (#12), Kerina Chua Kah Leng (#14), Aileen Chin Hui Xin
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