By Nguyen Trung Huan (14S05A)
Photos by Nicholas Koh (Photographic Society)
The domination of RI’s Girls’ A Division Water Polo Team in the inter-school circuit was once again reaffirmed after the final today at MOE Co-Curricular Activities Branch. The total score of 11 – 5 against Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) this morning marked the 6th consecutive year of our water polo girls’ victory.
Yet, the complacency was not to be found on the familiar faces of the RI team. The team received their last instructions from Coach Lim Yao Xiang during the team talk with an intensity of demeanour that revealed the pressure on them.
The match started with little hesitation from both teams. Numerous fouls were made by both sides from the first minutes of the game, bringing the action to a boil under the water. However, the early advantage was quickly claimed by RI when Ida Mariah De Veirno sent the ball into HCI’s cage after an organised attack. Struck by the first-minute goal, coupled with non-stop cheering from RI’s supporters, HCI lost their calm and conceded 3 more goals, and lost a man-up with 6 v 4, after two players from RI made major fouls. However, the HCI team began to regain their cool towards the end of the quarter. The first quarter ended with a long-range cannon by the HCI’s ‘point’, leaving the spectators with an expectation of a more exciting 2nd quarter.
After the first break, RI adopted a more pressing and aggressive style of play, forcing their opponents to use long passes and giving themselves more opportunities at the goal. However, RI supporters’ Oohs became Ahs as opportunity after opportunity failed to turn into a point for the team – until Teo Jing Wen broke the streak with a magnificent shot into the top corner of HCI’s cage. The 2nd quarter also saw a star player emerging from RI team, Neo Ser Han. She cruised through HCI’s defence, terrifying the defenders with decisive turns and powerful cannon shots into the corners. The skills of HCI’s goalkeeper, however, helped HCI survive RI’s rapid strikes; RI scored only once more in the quarter which went to an end when the score reached 6 – 3 for RI.
The 3rd quarter began with a powerful shot from the HCI centre-man. As the ball hit the bar, RI team seemed to become more focused, and they had a monopoly on the ball towards the end of the quarter. They scored 3 goals in succession, making 9 – 3.
Despite having little time left, HCI team got the ball rolling in the last quarter with immense determination, while the RI team kept calm, making more short passes and maintaining possession. A superb long shot by Neo Ser Han marked the end of the final for both teams, affirming the scoreboard with an 11-5.
Ser Han said, ‘I am tired but really happy right now! We have lived up to our team’s expectations!’
When asked whether the victory today was an easy win, team Captain Rachel Tay responded, “Both teams put up a really good fight. Hwa Chong played really well, but the better team emerged victorious.” She added, “When Hwa Chong scored two goals consecutively in the 2nd quarter, we were slightly demoralised but we didn’t let it affect us, and just carried on with the game. And it ended well!”
The victory of Girls’ Water Polo Team ended the water polo season in a bright light: bronze for boys and gold for girls. Read our report of the boys match here!
Thank you to Lim Tse Jean for providing information.