Catholic High beat Punggol to win North Zone B boy's volleyball title
Their B Division boys defeat holders Punggol, who beat them in last year's North Zone volleyball final
Revenge couldn't have tasted sweeter for Catholic High School's B Division volleyball boys.
With a thunderous spike by captain Alastair Chan at Woodlands Sports Hall, Catholic High sealed the North Zone title with aplomb, beating the defending champions Punggol Secondary School 2-0.
The victory surely made up for their heartbreaking loss to the same opponents at the same stage last year.
Amid emotional scenes on the court, Alastair, 15, didn't get carried away.
Hard work, he said, was what got them there.
He told The New Paper: "This year we were more prepared, both physically and mentally.
"We trained harder and just did our best. We played well in defence.
"Everybody was communicating well so, we're very glad that we won."
An equally jubilant teacher-in-charge Tan Wei Lun initially had doubts over whether they could conquer an impressive Punggol side that finished third in the nationals last year.
He said: "I'm very happy that they pulled themselves together and played very well.
"Punggol are a very tough team and we were worried, but we trained very hard and the team communicated more to win today's match."
Buoyed by their win, Catholic High are aiming to surpass last year's top-eight finish and go all the way this time around, by winning the National Schools B Division boys' title.
Said Alastair: "We will do our best and continue to work hard to get to the top.
"It is achievable, as long as we put in our 101 per cent effort."
Catholic High looked on the verge of losing the first set to Punggol yesterday.
But, at 19-17 down, they mounted a comeback to eventually win 25-23.
The second set was an equally tight affair. Right at the end, Punggol showed their grit to claw back from a 24-21 deficit to narrow it to 24-23.
Then came Alastair's deciding spike, which triggered the Catholic High students to erupt into scenes of joy.
For the losing team, they are eager to put the defeat behind them quickly and focus on redemption in the nationals, which start next week.
Analysing the defeat, Punggol captain Tang Shi Wei felt his team made too many mistakes yesterday.
He said: "The team is feeling a bit down because we came here wanting to win, but we made a lot of errors."
But the 16-year-old is confident this setback will not affect them in the nationals.
He added: "We're aiming for top-four again. After today's match, we're going to go back and work on reducing our errors and getting better for the nationals."
Meanwhile, in the North Zone B Division girls' final, Presbyterian High School defeated Xinmin Secondary School 2-0 to secure their second straight crown against the same rivals.
Presbyterian skipper Jacinta Tan, 15, said in a mixture of English and Mandarin: "We are very proud and happy.
"When we represent the school in competitions, it's for the glory of the school."