SINGAPORE - Their supporters erupted with screams of delight and various cheers at the sound of the final whistle, but the girls on the court came together in a hushed huddle for a few seconds.
Only then did they let out a collective yell, proclaiming: "We are champions!"
The Victoria Junior College (VJC) players were over the moon, and that was understandable, after they ended a long drought when they beat powerhouses Nanyang Junior College (NYJC) 3-1 in the final of the Girls' National A Division Volleyball Championships at Toa Payoh Sports Hall yesterday.
Speaking to The New Paper after their win, VJC captain Cally Lim, 18, said: "I can't describe the feeling, it just feels so unreal. We finally did it.
"We've lost to this same team before, so we came into the match with the mindset to give this final everything we had because we felt we had nothing to lose, and we did give this our all."
Pung Chin Hing, 31, teacher in charge of the VJC squad, was pleased with his team's winning mentality.
He said: "They believed in themselves and I am extremely proud of them - this is the best group of girls we've ever got.
"I don't think anyone can recall when we last won the title, because it's been so long, but I think it's about 15 years."
The two teams met in the second round of the Nationals earlier in the year, with NYJC coming out on top 2-0 in the best-of-three contest.
In the rematch yesterday, it was the girls from NYJC - they lifted the title in 2011 and 2012 and Anglo-Chinese Junior College won last year - who drew first blood, taking the first set 25-20.
But the VJC girls then took control, taking the next two sets 25-18 and 25-20.
With victory in sight, the VJC girls upped their intensity in the fourth set, spiking the ball with more purpose.
The NYJC girls had no answer as their opponents pulled away, at one point leading 17-6.
While NYJC did manage to cut the deficit to 21-17, it was all VJC from then on, securing the set, and the title, 25-17.
VJC vice-captain Lim Ying Ying, 18, said: "I don't think they expected us to fight as hard as we did, that's how we were able to overcome the loss in the first set.
"This is what we wanted to do since the beginning of the season and it feels awesome to finally achieve this." In the A Division boys' final, the NYJC team exacted revenge when they beat their counterparts from VJC 3-1 to retain their title.
This article was published on May 15 in The New Paper.
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