School sports: Tampines Meridian JC wins first girls' A Division floorball gold

Tampines Meridian Junior College players (left) in action against defending champions Victoria Junior College. ST PHOTO: EUGENE GOH

SINGAPORE - Siti Mikhaella Rusli had just scored the winning goal for Tampines Meridian Junior College (TMJC) in the National School Games (NSG) girls' A Division floorball final, but the only thing on the forward's mind was her team.

They beat defending champions Victoria Junior College (VJC) 2-1 at Our Tampines Hub on Tuesday (May 24) to win the school's first title since the merger between Tampines and Meridian Junior Colleges in 2019.

The 17-year-old said: "I just couldn't stop thinking about our journey here and that I did not want it to go to waste. There are many expectations of us because we are always in the top four and to be able to score the second goal made me really happy."

TMJC coach Jatin Nair was effusive in his praise for his charges after the game.

"It was a disciplined performance that required a lot of hard work from the girls. We started our training as a team very late on due to Covid-19 restrictions but they dug deep and credit to them," the 36-year-old said.

"I am just happy for them. They deserve it because they put in a lot of work. This is more for them because it's been two years since there have been games."

The team was formed just four months ago and TMJC captain Jann Tan was extremely proud of the team for winning the historic title.

She said: "We have come a very long way and we have put in a lot of effort in the past four months. The starting was pretty rough but we have made a lot of improvements within a short amount of time and I'm proud to say that we deserved the win."

The 18-year-old admitted that the final was a challenge for them as they "struggled in the first period, trying to get our footing right" and had to adjust to their opponents' fast pace.

The final at Our Tampines Hub was a nervy affair as the first period ended in a deadlock at 0-0.

TMJC finally opened the scoring in the second after a long range shot by defender Nyimas Herlena was initially blocked, but the rebound was redirected into the goal by a VJC player.

It took only two minutes for VJC to pull one back as centre Charmaine Liew stole the ball from an opponent for Isabella Pung to put it in the bottom corner.

Deep in the second period with 20 seconds to go, a scuffed clearance by the VJC defence saw the ball land in the path of Siti Mikhaella, who converted coolly from point blank range.

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With two minutes left on the clock in the third and TMJC leading 2-1, VJC switched tack with six outfield players in a bid to grab the equaliser, but their opponents held on to see out the win.

Despite the loss, VJC captain Charmaine - who competed in the B Division three years ago - was just "really grateful" to be able to compete in the NSG in her final year.

The 18-year-old said: "My team fought very well today. Despite conceding a goal, we still fought on and managed to get the equaliser. But unfortunately, they managed to lead again during the second period.

"I think my team still put up a great fight and they continued to do so even throughout the final period."

In the boys' final, 2019 runner-up VJC made up for their 3-1 group stage loss to opponents Raffles Institution with a 2-1 victory to claim the title.

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