SINGAPORE - The A Division girls' floorball gold medal was on the line and the first four attempts in the penalty shoot-out of the final were unsuccessful.
Despite the mounting tension at Our Tampines Hub with 700 spectators filling the indoor hall, Victoria Junior College's (VJC) Megan Ng was unfazed as she prepared to take her school's third penalty on Wednesday (May 15).
Slowly dribbling the ball from the centre of the court, she baited River Valley High School goalkeeper Toh Jun Rong into moving out of position before darting back and slotting the ball into the open net.
River Valley captain Joanne Tan missed the next penalty, and VJC captain Caluza Denise Jazmine Carnate's successful conversion soon after sealed the 2-0 shoot-out win (the score was 1-1 in regulation time) and gave Victoria their first girls' title since 2012.
Megan, 17, said she was fairly confident in VJC goalkeeper Ulfah Irdina Affandi's ability to save the shots. The JC2 student added: "I don't believe in being nervous for a penalty. Yesterday, I practised a lot of penalties during and after school because I know River Valley is a very good opponent and there's a good chance of (the match) going to penalties.
"I did my best to perfect my penalty shots, and it paid off."
Captain Denise acknowledged her nerves before taking the last penalty, but said Megan's successful attempt earlier took a lot of the pressure off.
Denise, who collapsed in a heap with her team-mates in celebration after the match, added: "I'm still very dazed ... at that moment, I didn't know what was happening and I was just very happy that I scored.
"When everyone suddenly started rushing at me, I thought there was still one more set (of penalties) and I was very confused. I'm just very happy."
VJC had lost 4-1 to River Valley, the 2017 champions and runners-up last year, in their group stage match last month.
Denise, 18, said they had learnt from that encounter: "We knew River Valley was good at running games, so we tried to stop them from going in from the centre, which was the reason we lost to them in the group stage."
Megan added: "The last time we won was seven years ago and we haven't been in the final since. After the semi-final we were very happy to even make it to the final, and it sets precedence for the other batches to continue our legacy."
Some of the River Valley players were in tears after the final but their captain Joanne, 18, paid tribute to her team. She added: "We started out strong after scoring the first goal, but during the second period when we had power play we couldn't compose ourselves enough and allowed them (VJC) to counter attack.
"But I still want to acknowledge my team's effort, we've come a long way since last year.
"Last year (in the final) we were very affected by the audience, so this year we came in telling ourselves that it didn't matter how our opponents or spectators viewed us, but (that we should) focus on the game."
In the earlier boys final, Eunoia Junior College clinched their first championship by beating VJC 4-3.
Eunoia captain Cheang Jia Qing said: "(I just felt) relief (after the final whistle) because we conceded a goal 20 seconds before the end ... I'm just very proud of the team.
"Our hard work has paid off, and this (win) is very significant."