School sports: Third time's the charm for NYJC

School sports: Third time's the charm for NYJC
FINALLY! (Above) The NYJC team celebrating their victory after losing in the finals for two consecutive years.

After almost two and a half hours, the game finally ended with a deadly angled cross-court spike and the crowd erupted.

Nanyang Junior College's volleyball team had finally regained the National Schools Girls' A Division title from Victoria Junior College.

The Yio Chu Kang Sports Hall was packed to the rafters, with supporters rooting for their teams in a repeat of last year's final.

NYJC had fallen short in two consecutive finals.

But this final was theirs.

Captain Vanessa Lim told The New Paper: "Last year, when VJC won, they said it was a sweet revenge. So this year, it's an even sweeter revenge for us.

"When we lost previously, we weren't playing at our usual standard. So today, we showed them how good Nanyang really are."

They certainly did, coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

After narrowly losing the first two sets 27-25, 26-24, NYJC managed to calm their nerves and take the third 25-21.

VJC players started having cramps in the fourth set and NYJC closed the set at 25-18 to level the match.

In the decider, an exhausted VJC could do little to contain the spikes and blocks of the 1.82m Jolene Chan and Cao Aijia.

While the attackers were praised, the captains believe that the most outstanding player was NYJC's setter Lee Xin Rou.

"She faced a lot of difficulties and felt quite hurt when people told her she had no potential as a setter, but she managed to overcome it," said NYJC's second captain, Chan Tin Wing.

Xin Rou, who stands at 1.56m, has been criticised for her unorthodox setting.

"It's my own style," she said.

"I'm quite small and I don't have the strength to use (the upper-hand method) to set.

"I've always trained using under-hand and I have more feel for it. It's supposed to be for basic setters, but it's my strength."

VJC coach Chng Swee Chee believes there are positives to take away from the loss.

He said: "After the third set, two of my strongest six players started having cramps, so I had to use my reserves.

"For them to have held out to 13-15 (in the fifth set) is really good play; I can say that we're winners."

This article was first published on May 14, 2015.
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