Story by Jiexin Neo/Red Sports. Photos by REDintern Jerald Ang
National University of Singapore, Thursday, September 18, 2014 — National University of Singapore (NUS) beat defending champions Nanyang Technological University (NTU) 26–16 in their second game of the Singapore University Games (SuniG) Handball Championship. NUS and NTU won their first game against SMU and SIM respectively.
Uku-Tanel Laast (NUS #24) led his team with a game-high eight goals, while Edel Sng (NTU #1) had six.
NTU marked Uku (NUS #24) from the start of the game but he still managed to dish out a well-placed pass to Koh Kai Ming (NUS #27), who converted to open the scoring for the game. NUS were on their feet, playing with an aggressive defence and clamped their opponents whenever they had the chance, consistently breaking the momentum of NTU’s offense.
Uku (NUS #24) took their first penalty of the game, but it was blocked by NTU goalkeeper Huang Junli (#13). However he went straight for the offensive rebound and slotted it nicely into the back of the net for the second goal of the game, putting NUS up 2–0.
NUS found their way past NTU’s defence time and time again, but NTU’s last man Junli (#13) kept the game going for his side with impressive goalkeeping.
NUS were leading 3–0 when Edel Sng (NTU #1) fired one into the net to score the first goal for his side (1–3). From there, NUS continued with their good game and pulled away to lead 7–1.
Julian Hellebrand (NTU #10) stopped the scoring drought for his side when he found his way past NUS’s defence for a goal (2–7).
NUS were playing with an active defence, forcing NTU to reset their offensive plays time and time again. Intercepting a sloppy pass made by the NTU side, Uku (NUS #24) found Sven (NUS #28) on a fastbreak and he converted to make it 8–2.
On an offensive play, Kazua Hiraguchi (NTU #9) made a long-range shot count, as the ball found the back of the net nicely (3–8). Lim Lu Kai (NTU #19) then cut in to score another one, reducing the deficit further to trail 4–8.
Then on, NTU goalkeeper Junli (#13) saved three consecutive shots in a row to deny NUS from adding onto the scoreboard. From there, NTU outscored NUS 5–4 to trail 9–12 going into the halftime break.
Edel (NTU #1) scored the first goal after the break, but Joey Tay (NUS #1) matched his goal in the next transition. Both sides then alternated at scoring until NTU trailed by three goals (11–14). From there, NUS put together several impressive plays to go past NTU’s defence effortlessly, scoring four unanswered goals to take a clear 18–11 lead.
Kazua (NTU #9) converted on a penalty to put a stop to NUS’s scoring streak. Then on, NTU were struggling with foul troubles and played with two men down at one point. Offensively, NTU were starting to take flustered shots and made poor attacking choices. They were also short on defence and allowed NUS easy goals.
Darryl Chiang (NUS #6) converted to give NUS a 10-point lead (24–14) after receiving a well-placed pass from Andy Lwi (NUS #7). They managed to score two more goals to make it 26–14. In the final minutes, Lu Kai (NTU #19) and Kazua (NTU #9) scored a goal each but it was too late as they went down 16–26 to NUS.
NUS captain Mervin (#8) commented, “We are very delighted with the results. We trained very hard for this and I think this is the most important game in SUniG. NTU were our fiercest competitor, and have always been, so every year we’ve been waiting and doing our best against NTU.”
NUS missed their championship title last year after going down one point to NTU. On their win against the defending champions, Mervin added, “We definitely played much better. Before that, during the prep, when I mentioned to the team that we lost by one point last year, we still had the sad feeling inside us. We came here with a vengeance mentality, and of course we trained really hard. So I think losing by one point last year was a wake up call for us, but it made us work very hard for this game, and of course we did well and we won this game.”
NTU captain Junli (#13) said, “They were strong. We weren’t good. I think in the first half, to be honest, we did well. At the start we were down by seven goals, but we chased the points and at halftime, we were only down by three goals. As a new team, I think we were mentally strong. But at the same time, because we are a new team, maybe being inexperienced really hurt us in the second half.”
On NUS’s win, Junli added, “NUS is a really experienced team. A lot of them are senior players, and their exchange students are also very experienced players. As such they were more composed than us and were mentally stronger than us. I think that’s one of the reasons why they won. Especially in the second half, in the first 5-10 minutes, the lead was blown wide apart. That is one of our biggest downfall, because we are a very young team. Most of them only trained for less than a year.”
With this win, NUS remain undefeated and look to secure the title with a win over Singapore Institute of Management on Monday, September 22, 2014. On the other hand, NTU will be up against Singapore Management University (SMU).
On the other court, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) edged out Singapore Management University (SMU) 22–21. The team led by a single point in the first half. “We came back from a very demoralizing loss from our previous match against NTU,” said SIM captain, Wilson (#4). “We were all fired up for today’s game and were determined to bring back a medal home.”
When asked about their hopes for their game against NUS next week, Wilson said, “We’re looking forward to our match with them. The ball is round, anything can happen. If you can put up a good game, it’s not impossible to win the hot favourites.”
Jordan Tan (SIM #23) and (SMU #17) led all scorers with seven goals.
Scoring by Period
NUS vs NTU
First half: 12–9
Second half: 14–7 (26–16)
Uku-Tanel Laast (#24) – 8 goals
Edel Sng (#1) – 6 goals
Joey Tay (#1), Maxime Mostkowy (#2), Arun (#3), Lee Jin Jia (#4), Jing Da (#5), Darryl Chiang (#6), Andy Lwi (#7), Hui Yuk Fai Mervin (#8), Abhishek Gupta (#9), Ervin Sethi (#10), Shinichiro (#11), Samuel Björklund (#12), Eko Pinanding (#14), Abhigyan (#20), Ho Yong Cheng (#21), Tang Jian Hong Nico (#22), Aathi Kesaven (#23), Uku-Tanel Laast (#24), Koh Kai Ming (#27), Sven (#28), Gerotto Francesco (#33), Li yang (#78), Cedric Huysman (#88)
Edel Sng (#1), Yip Ting Fong (#3), Van Teo Chin Hou (#4), Tan De Jun (#5), Toh You Jie (#7), Janfjord Michael Andre (#8), Kazua Hiraguchi (#9), Julian Hellebrand (#10), Steven Manja (#11), Ong Yu Shi Benjamin (#12), Huang Junli (#13), Leong Li An (#15), Tommy Toh (#16), Sher Zi Ao (#17), Teo Rong Xuan (#18), Lim Lu Kai (#19)
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