Queensway's Jamie rises to shine in victory
Diminutive hitter helps her team retain B Div title by pipping Fairfield Methodist Secondary
Queensway Secondary School's Jamie Teo may stand at just 1.54m but she commands a huge presence when she's on the volleyball court.
The 16-year-old outside hitter was a key figure as her team retained the Schools South Zone B Division girls' volleyball title after a 2-1 victory over Fairfield Methodist Secondary School at Delta Sports Complex yesterday.
Establishing her place in the team did not come easy for Jamie who picked up the sport three years ago.
Her smaller stature posed as a challenge initially as she struggled with jumping high and executing spikes, leaving her demoralised.
She said: "There was a point when I couldn't spike very well. The ball kept going into the net instead of over."
But with support from her coach and teammates, Jamie was able to overcome her height disadvantage and establish herself as a core player this year.
This was evident in yesterday's game as her powerful spikes helped steer her team to victory.
The first set was an intense affair as both sides fought fiercely. But with the score at 17-17, Queensway powered ahead to take the set 25-17.
They started the second set strongly but it did not take long for Fairfield to turn the tables on their rivals. At 3-0 down, Fairfield rallied to overpower Queensway with a display of deadly spikes, winning 25-14.
But the defending champions stormed back in the third set to win 25-14, and seal the match.
It was a special triumph for Queensway as they had lost to Fairfield in similar fashion two years ago in the South Zone C Div final.
Captain Lim Xin Ye said: "We wanted to keep our trophy. We were quite nervous but we focused and managed to win again."
The team had felt the pressure of defending their title but did not let it get the better of them.
Xin Ye said: "We just focused on training and tried our best to improve individually, then slowly improved as a team and retain the championship."
Coach Francis Ng, 46, was delighted by the girls' achievement but he hopes they will learn to better manage their emotions and gain confidence on court, ahead of the nationals.
He said: "They were calmer and more stable in the first set, but in the second set, we started to be nervous and gave a lot of points to them. Luckily, they managed to calm themselves and stay in place."
However, the South Zone champions are taking things slowly at the nationals.
Ng said: "The teams from other zones are quite strong, so I'll tell the team to go step by step.
"We'll try to get through to the top 16 first before top eight. After we manage to get top eight, then we'll aim higher."
Things turned out better for Fairfield's boys in the Schools South Zone B Division boys' final, as they beat Ang Mo Kio Secondary School 2-1.
Fairfield captain Caleb Tan said: " Even though we lost the second set and were trailing in the third set, we managed to encourage one another and come back to win the game."
For Ang Mo Kio Secondary, who were among some teams that were grouped in the South Zone after the closure of several schools in the area, the defeat was hard to swallow but they are already looking ahead.
Skipper Keave Song said: "We're feeling disappointed but this is not the end of us."