Victoria Junior College denied hockey double
It was a day of mixed fortunes for Victoria Junior College (VJC) in the National Schools A Division hockey finals yesterday.
Its all-conquering girls' team delivered the school's 15th consecutive title in a hard-fought 1-0 win over Millenia Institute (MI) at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium.
But VJC's hopes of achieving a second straight double were extinguished when the boys' team lost to a last-gasp winner by Raffles Institution (RI) in the A boys' final.
It was certainly nail-biting stuff in both showpieces.
In the girls' showdown, VJC mounted wave after wave of attack, but could not find a way past MI goalkeeper Krithaisha Vijayakumar.
The MI defence continued to stand tall in the second half as they forced the match into extra time - two halves of 10 minutes.
Nothing could separate the two teams until VJC's Klara Chong produced a moment of magic about 20 seconds from time.
The 16-year-old latched onto a loose ball and rammed it into the back of the MI goal, setting off wild celebrations on the VJC bench.
"We didn't expect it to be this difficult. We wanted to win so that's why we worked really hard chasing every ball down and attacking together as a team," Klara told The New Paper.
VJC's teacher-in-charge Seet Kok Wah, 49, said: "Today's game was like a game of survivor - whichever team outlast their opponents win - and today we won.
"We had more possession, but we couldn't convert (our chances) because our opponents were strong in defence.
"The girls really deserved the victory."
MI coach Mohammed Iskandar praised his team for pushing VJC all the way.
"We were a bit unlucky today. We were pushing for the (penalty) shoot-out but we knew that VJC are a very strong side," said the 32-year-old.
"But I thought the girls did brilliant. I can't ask for more from them."
It was also a neck-and-neck affair in the A boys' final, where both teams cancelled each other out.
Just when the match looked headed for extra time, RI's Ramalingam Gouthaman stepped up with the winning goal in the dying seconds, to VJC's despair.