SINGAPORE - She was called upon to win the deciding match at last year's Schools National A Division Squash Championships final but she fell short and her team lost 2-3.
Yesterday, at Kallang Squash and Tennis Centre, Raffles Institution's (RI) Denise Lim emerged victorious instead, leading her team to a 4-1 triumph in a repeat of last year's final against Hwa Chong Institution (HCI).
Taking to the court after HCI had won the first match, she saw off Natalie Tan 11-5, 9-11, 13-11 and 11-4 to start the comeback for her team.
It was a sweet result for the RI captain who was spurred on by last year's defeat. The 18-year-old said: "Personally, I learnt what I had to do on the court after the final last year.
"Then, I was nervous and thinking about winning instead of concentrating on the immediate point.
"But this year I took the match point by point and focused on getting my shots tight rather than thinking about the outcome."
Coach Allan Chang paid credit to Denise's determination to bounce back from her defeat.
"All the girls were eager to reclaim the title, and as the captain, Denise went the extra mile to motivate the team, bringing them for extra training," he said.
Despite falling behind in the first match, Chang retained belief in his team, saying: "We knew our next players were strong and we were confident that we could turn it around."
For HCI, the decisive blow came with Denise's victory.
With the third game poised at 11-11 and both players having won a game each, she managed to grab two decisive points to take the set and set up her eventual win.
HCI coach Zainal Abidin said: "We had less depth so our plan was to win the first three matches to decide the tie but, unfortunately, that did not happen. Natalie was too tired by the fourth set and could not get into the game against a very good player."
National Junior College defeated Anglo-Chinese Junior College 3-2 to secure third place.
Tomorrow, RI will meet Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in the A Division boys' final.
This article was published on April 29 in The Straits Times.
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