The senior girls team headed into Beijing as they have in previous years, with high expectations. Gold or bust. For a team that has compiled a 11-2 record up to that point of the season, there was definitely confidence this would be the year, but with high expectations comes pressure.
The preliminary round started with straight set victories against ISNS (Shenzhen) and HIS (Hangzhou). The third match of the round robin, had the Tigers facing off against arch-rivals and defending ACAMIS girls champions from HKA. Despite a strong opening set, HKA clawed back and ended up with the come from behind victory, 25-16, 20-25, 10-15. The team needed to emotionally recover quickly from that painful loss to HKA in order to reset for the remainder of the round robin which they did by beating DAIS (Dalian) and a much improved host BSB team.
Finishing the round robin with a 4-1 record, the Tigers were slated to face HIS once more in the semifinals with a berth in the championship game on the line. Despite an injury scare to the team’s setter and captain Dalia De Pina, the team’s hitters found instant chemistry with their bench setter and youngest player, Annie Lam and continued to put pressure on HIS. The Tigers cruised by HIS in a dominating 2-0 win, setting up with a place in the finals. As it turned out to nobody’s surprise, the Tigers would have to face their arch-rivals, the HKA Dragonflies one final time, in a 3rd straight ACAMIS volleyball finals.
Starting the match the Tigers found themselves in an early deficit, trailing by as much as 7 points midway through the 1st set. But this group was experienced, resilient, and never wavered in their belief of mounting a comeback as they had some many times before. Sure enough, a comeback started and the Tigers found themselves tied 23-23 near the very end of the set. A critical HKA serving error afford the Tigers one chance to close out the first set. Once again coming on at the biggest stage, this time as a serving substitute, Annie Lam dropped a well place serve to end the set.
HKA felt the need to take a few more risks in the 2nd set to even up the match, but the Tigers’ defence afforded them no easy points, at times simply outlasting HKA in long rallies. No matter what HKA tried, the Tigers played with composure and were happy to let their strong defence dictate the pace of the game. Carried by strong serving from Emily Varga and Annie Lam and defensive stalwarts Danica Ng and Genevieve Guimond, the Tigers ended the match on an emphatic 7-0 run, winning the match 25-23, 25-15.
The Tigers claimed the school’s first ever ACAMIS girls volleyball title, after two years of heart-breaking finals losses to HKA, TIS proved the stronger team this year. At the awards ceremony, 3 graduating seniors in Emily Varga, Dalia De Pina, and Genevieve Guimond were selected to the all-tournament team. As it has every year, there will always some sadness at having to say goodbye to our graduating seniors, Jessica Tam, Emily Varga, Danica, Ng, Genevieve Guimond, and Dalia De Pina. Their legacy as leaders of the first ACAMIS girls volleyball champions will be carried forward by the girls returning for next year, aiming to achieve the tough task of defending the ACAMIS girls volleyball championship