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Defending champs Nanyang looking good

FIGHT FOR FIRST SPOT: NYJC (above) will take on HCI tomorrow to determine who top their quarter-final group.

It would take something really special to dethrone Nanyang Junior College (NYJC) as the National Schools Girls' A Division volleyball champions.

Their desire to retain the title was shown when they thrashed Pioneer Junior College 25-12, 25-3 in yesterday's quarter-final at the Physical and Sports Education Branch Auditorium in Evans Road.

Nanyang captain Isabel Lim, 18, was delighted with her team's performance.

"It feels really good to have won every match," she told The New Paper.

"We're already in the semi-finals, so we're just going to train even harder and do our best to get to the final. Our main goal is to be champions again, of course."

And play like champions they did yesterday, leading 3-0 before Pioneer won their first point.

Pioneer managed a decent fight and were five points down at 17-12 but, unable to handle the spikes and blocks of NYJC's Charmaine Koh and Ashley Han, they soon succumbed 25-12.

Nanyang were even more ruthless in the second set, streaking to an 11-0 lead before Pioneer settled down and earned their first point.

Pioneer got only two more points before Nanyang sealed the game and match at 25-3.

Despite that one-sided win, Nanyang's teacher-in-charge Tam Choon Chor, who has been in charge of volleyball at the junior college since 1978, was not satisfied.

"They did not play their best, it was not their usual standard," said the 66-year-old.

"There is still room for improvement."

He has, however, identified 20-year-old Jolene Chan as a player who has improved significantly.

"Before this match, her standard was fluctuating, but she played much better today," said the coach.

Jolene said: "I'm happy to hear my teacher say that. I'm glad I have proven myself."

She intends to use this to motivate herself as Nanyang prepare to meet their strongest opponents, Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), in their last quarter-final match tomorrow.

"They are our biggest rivals and we are all looking forward to the match," she said.

While both Nanyang and HCI have already qualified for the semi-finals, tomorrow's match will determine who top their quarter-final group. The other teams in the group are Pioneer and Meridian Junior College.

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