Story by Alyssa Almas/Red Sports. Photos by REDintern Clara Lau.

Joie Teo (VJC #10) brings the ball down the wing. (Photo 1 © Clara Lau/REDintern)

Joie Teo (VJC #10) brings the ball down the wing. (Photo 1 © Clara Lau/REDintern)

Victoria Junior College, Wednesday, April 17, 2019 — Victoria Junior College (VJC) won the highly anticipated preliminary match against Tampines Meridian Junior College (TMJC) by the skin of their teeth, with a final scoreline of 3-2. The win was crucial for VJC, ensuring their progress into the semi-finals of the National Schools A Division Football Girls’ Championship.

VJC will be joined by fellow group contenders Raffles Institution (RI), who won the earlier match 1-0 against St. Joseph’s Institution to also advance. With different possible permutations prior to the game, a TMJC win would have actually meant that both TMJC and VJC advance to the semi-finals based on goal difference — alas it was not meant to be for TMJC, who are in their first year after the merger of Tampines Junior College and traditional football powerhouses Meridian Junior College.

Thankful for their win, VJC team captain Isabelle Tay (VJC #15) said: “I felt like the match today was tough, TMJC really put up a great fight. I’m really proud of the fact that from the start till the end of the match the entire team gave their very best and didn’t lose hope. We trusted and believed in one another, and really just gave everything we had so I’m happy for that.”

VJC started off the match strongly, winning a corner as early as the second minute of play.

VJC almost scored from this corner taken by Isabelle (VJC #15) — TMJC keeper Tiaral Soong (TMJC #1) spilled the ball, resulting in a scramble in the box that ended with the TMJC defense clearing the ball away.

Just two minutes later, VJC scored the first goal of the match with a header by Deseree Khor (VJC #17).

A shot on goal was deflected off the TMJC defenders, causing the ball to fly upwards. Running forward, Deseree did not hesitate as she quickly sent the ball flying into the back of the net.

In the 34th minute of play, TMJC hit back with a goal by Eka Yulniesa (TMJC #4). Dribbling past the VJC defense, Eka took a shot at goal. Despite VJC keeper Insyirah Maritz (VJC #24) diving for the ball, the ball rolled under her and into the net.

With that, the score at half-time stood at 1-1.

Going into the second half, TMJC captain Lutfiah Hannah (TMJC #10) knew they still had a shot at winning.

“During half-time, it was a draw and we needed a win to secure our spot in the next round. I told the team to continue what we’ve been doing in the first half, creating chances for the striker, working together as a team to hold VJC back from scoring and kept on motivating everyone. Going into the second half, I knew we were only much hungrier for the ball than before,” she said.

Just 11 minutes into the second half, Nur Darwisyah (VJC #12) helped her team take the lead with a well-taken shot at goal.

Receiving the ball from a throw-in, Darwisyah dribbled around the TMJC defense before taking a shot inside the box. Her effort sailed into the top right corner of the goal, to the delight of her teammates.

Just 11 minutes later, Darwisyah scored again with a shot from outside the box. Driving a low ball at goal, the ball was attempted to be picked up by TMJC keeper Tiaral (TMJC #1), but it rolled under her, to the disbelief of both teams.

Having scored a brace, Darwisyah was elated, saying after the match: “I was very happy when I scored two, because it was my first two goals of the season. I didn’t expect the second goal to go in so I felt that it was a very lucky one.”

With the match coming to a lull near the end of the second half, it almost seemed that the game would end with a score of 3-1. However, TMJC scored a goal in the 82nd minute of play, setting the VJC girls on edge.

The game had been extended for four minutes of injury time, with many substitutions made by both sides towards the end of the second half.

Taking a shot from outside the box, Eka Yulniesa (TMJC #4) sealed her brace as well, her brilliant shot sailing over VJC keeper Insyirah (VJC #24) and landing in the back of the net.

Despite TMJC’s best efforts to score again, the match ended with a final score of 3-2.

Reflecting on the match, TMJC captain Hannah (TMJC #10) said: “I know VJC was the toughest opponent in our group, but I was confident that we were capable of winning as long as we had more desire for the ball than the opponent. Even though the scoreline wasn’t what we wanted, I feel very proud of my team because I knew everyone worked together and put in their best effort to defend and put in goals.”

Continuing, she said: “I think it’s the best game my team has played so far, giving our opponent a good fight. It’s a tough pill to swallow knowing we’re not in the next round, but I am satisfied with the team’s performance during the match and we lost without any regret.”

Acknowledging the tough fight VJC gave them, Hannah said: “I know VJC is a strong opponent and have the potential to win this season again. They have many good individual players who are able to work together when in play. I wish only the best for them going into the next round.”

Similarly, VJC team captain Isabelle (VJC #15) said: “Our opponents played really well, they were very determined and had really strong willpower. Even when we were two goals up they didn’t give in and continued fighting.”

Ending it off, she said: “I want to say that we have gone through so much to make it this far, and I’ve seen how well we’ve played and that we can definitely make it to the finals together, I believe in all of them!”

With the preliminary rounds over, VJC are set to face Hwa Chong Institution on Wednesday in the semi-finals, while RI will face St. Andrew’s Junior College. Both matches will be held at TMJC.

Victoria Junior College vs Tampines Meridian Junior College
Half-time: 1-1
Full-time: 3-2

Nur Darwisyah (#12) — 2 goals
Deseree Khor (#17) — 1 goal

Eka Yulniesa (#4) — 2 goals

VJC Roster
Ng Khay Lie (#1), Julianne Faye Ong (#3), Sophia Rose Meyers (#4), Leong Hui Ling (#5), Amanda Chia (#6), Ishizeki Ren (#7), Sachika Sharma (#8), Alethea Ang (#9), Joie Teo (#10), Melina Thebe (#11), Nur Darwisyah (#12), Afrin Najumudeen (#13), Lau Zi Hui (#14), Isabelle Tay (#15), Nicolette Lim (#16), Deseree Khor (#17), Shahaf Shalev (#18), Erica Lee (#21), Danielle Lim (#23), Insyirah Maritz (#24)

TMJC Roster
Tiaral Soong (#1), Jolin Kek (#2), Nurul Aaliyah Deduyo (#3), Eka Yulniesa (#4), Florence Nguyen (#5), Jasmine Siddiq (#7), Kanon Kang (#8), Devina Krystel Beins (#9), Lutfiah Hannah (#10), Sara Chan (#11), Ira Ursekar (#12), Sakeena (#13), Nur Aliah (#15), Nur Syarah (#17), Rifqah Roslan (#18), May Lim (#20), Amni Syarah Imerya (#23), Tiara Amani (#25), Nayli Qistina (#27), Gladys Phua (#30)

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