Another volleyball season has come and gone, but this year’s edition of the Senior Boys Tigers competing at ACAMIS featured only 2 returning players from last year’s dominant squad. Unfortunately, one other returning player, Nathan Lee, had badly damaged his knee at practice and was unable to make the trip with the team due to surgery. All the hard work put in by the team was put to the test in Beijing.
Day one saw the boys go head to head with a much improved ISNS team for their first match. Due to the inexperience of the Tigers, they made some mental errors and pretty much handed the victory to ISNS in two straight sets. Although they lost, the boys were upbeat about getting their nerves settled and out of the way as day 2 was coming up and presented some major competition. The Tigers awoke on day two and roared to a three set win against HIS. The team persevered through some deficits and mentally battled to pull off the much needed victory. The win was much deserved and provided a boost to the team going into their next match. The tigers now realized that they really should have won the last night’s match against ISNS and had a hole to dig themselves out of. HKA presented the next opponent and this proved to be another three set thriller. The Tigers took the first set, but weren’t able to secure the second set. Third sets are so quick that there is little room for error, but the Tigers were unable to out-duel HKA to 15 points and took their second loss of the tournament. The final match of the day was against DAIS and the first set presented little effort for the win. The second set was a different story as a different DAIS team took the court and were able to build up 20 points before the Tigers closed them out. After 2 days of competition, the boys held 2 wins and 2 losses. The last remaining round robin match was crucial as only the top 4 teams made the playoffs. BSB were the defending champions and were yet to lose a single set this year. This fact did not intimidate the boys as they flew out to an emotional first set win. This was BSB’s first taste of losing and sent a statement to the other teams that TIS was a contender, not a pretender. Unfortunately, the high of the first set drained the team and BSB was able to take the next two sets for the win.
After the round robin, the Tigers secured 4th place and a rematch with BSB in the semifinal. For some reason, the squad was not up to the challenge and were making so many unforced errors that we served the match on a platter to BSB. During a late timeout, the team rallied to amplify their emotions and mental toughness as they knew that they had a tough and important match in the bronze medal final. The bronze match put us up against ISNS again, but this time the Tigers had revenge and redemption on their mind. Coming off a disappointing loss, we knew ISNS would be vulnerable and ripe for the picking. Throughout the two straight sets, the Tigers demonstrated why they should have been in the gold medal game as their defence and attack were sound throughout the sets. Despite some absolutely bombing spikes fro ISNS, our defence on point positionally and frustrated the opponent. Through their hard work and mental toughness, the Tigers were able to soundly beat ISNS and avenge their earlier loss, and at the same time capture the team’s 4th medal in a row.
This year’s team deserves much praise for stepping up to the challenge and intensity of ACAMIS. Many of these young men do not realize the pressure and energy of this tournament and all of them were professional and composed throughout the weekend. Next year’s team is looking promising with 8 of the 9 players returning and making the push to our return to gold!