Written by: Poh De Sheng (TH) and Nadine Febrinka (RH)
Edited by: Shalom Alexandra
#1: vs Temasek Hall (TH)
With the IHG season well and truly underway, the KE floorball girls started off their IHG campaign with a match against Temasek Hall (TH). Here are some highlights from the game.
After a slight delay to the start of the game due to the referee’s tardiness, both sides were raring to go. This eagerness was apparent immediately as the game took on an unexpectedly physical edge. Despite being much smaller than most of the TH players, KE took the game to their opponents, jostling and harrying them relentlessly. Buoyed on by a small but boisterous crowd, the game was so intense that at one point a TH player lost hold of her stick after a particularly robust challenge from one of our players.
After the initial flurry of physical exchanges, the game settled down slightly, with both teams looking to put together passing moves to work their way through the opposition. It was then that KE almost drew first blood, finding their way past the TH defence to force the keeper into a point blank save.
Not to be outdone, TH soon fashioned a chance of their own. Their number 39 almost finished off an incisive move that cut through KE’s defence. Fortunately, our keeper Lucinda made a good save to prevent a goal.
Lucinda was soon called into action again, showing good awareness to collect an attempted TH pass and quickly release Mei Yi. However, our number 2 mis-controlled the ball and was unable to capitalise on the opportunity.
Lucinda was putting on a resolute defensive display, but her teammates played their part as well. After a sustained spell of TH pressure, Humaira (C) threw herself at the ball to block a goalbound shot. Thereafter, a TH player was sent to the penalty area for an overzealous challenge. It was now KE’s turn to dominate possession and threaten the TH goal. So impressed by KE’s play were the spectators that at one point one of them remarked, “We’re playing damn well!”
However, TH were not to be taken lightly. Towards the end of the period, their number 36, who reliable sources informed me was a IVP player, took matters into her own hands and hooked a shot past Lucinda and high into the KE net.
With KE now chasing the game, our players were forced to attack with more gusto. Unfortunately, this resulted in Jessica committing a foul that saw her sent to the penalty area. With the team down to five players, KE defended resolutely but was unable to prevent TH from scoring another before numerical parity was restored
Thereafter, the game fell into a slight lull, with nothing of note happening until a fumble by the TH keeper almost let KE back into the game. However, TH’s keeper recovered the ball before our players could score.
At this point, TH’s number 36 again showed her skills as she slid a shot past Lucinda from a seemingly impossible angle for her second of the game.
Despite the disparagement of being 3-0 down, KE refused to roll over and admit defeat. Our players continued to press forward, with Izzah bursting through the TH defence late on to send a shot which had the TH keeper stretching to keep out.
Having already exerted themselves for 40-odd minutes, it was no surprise that players on both teams showed signs of fatigue during the final period. Mistakes crept into the games of both sets of players, with a TH player in particular missing the ball completely as she attempted a shot.
Despite their tiredness, KE gave their opponents as good as they got, with Jovina dragging a shot narrowly wide and Izzah presenting a constant threat to the TH defence.
However, after Lucinda had made yet another point blank save from TH, Humairah conceded a penalty in her haste to prevent a follow-up shot. Unsurprisingly, the penalty was coolly dispatched by TH’s number 36 again to notch up her third and TH’s fourth. That proved to be the last bit of action for the day as the match finished 4-0 to TH.
Final Score: TH beat KE 4-0
#2: vs Raffles Hall (RH)
The final match of Day 1 pitted our plucky KE girls against the spirited Raffles Hall in a match that kept supporters on both sides on the edge of their (metaphorical) seats. After losing their first match of the day, our floorballers managed to bounce back and showcase their defensive skills by drawing with RH.
Before I try to recap the match, I must make a confession: I only showed up at MPSH 6 about halfway through the first period. When I arrived at the scene, the score was already 1-0 to RH. From what I could gather from the spectators engrossed in the match and the scoreboard on my right, RH had managed to score a goal early in the game, and our girls were racing to catch up. The way they slid and shot the ball towards the opposing side again and again made their drive to win quite apparent.
Despite the girls’ powerful offense, RH was clearly unwilling to give up their early lead – the goalkeeper and her defense force managed to parry every attack directed at the goal. At one point, the RH girls nearly managed to score a second time, but were thwarted by our reliable goalie Lucinda. Both red and green were equally matched both offensively and defensively, and remained in a deadlock for the rest of the first period.
As the whistle signaling the intermission blew, the KE girls wasted no time to rethink their strategy, immediately huddling up to regroup themselves. JCRC President Sritam, who had been watching since the first match, also wasted no time to offer the girls his support, jumping over the barrier and rushing into the arena towards them. He seemed to regain his presence of mind a few seconds later, and immediately returned to the spectators’ side, but not before momentarily looking lost in the middle of the playing area. Unfortunately, KE Vision did not capture any pictures of this, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
The second period began with cheers and shouts from the small crowd of red-clad supporters as the players took their positions in the rink. A struggle for the ball erupted almost as soon as the girls began moving, with KE emerging victorious. The attackers quickly shuffled the ball towards the opposing goal, but their shot was blocked by the adept RH goalie. Undeterred, the girls attempted another attack within minutes of the previous one, but the goalkeeper refused to let them score and close the gap. RH quickly snatched the ball from KE and made a beeline for our goal, but was thwarted by the defense.
The atmosphere in the rink was quickly turning tense, and both sides were becoming noticeably more aggressive. The ball began flying as it was struck harder and players began colliding as they battled for the ball. Despite this, not one point was scored throughout the period, though there were several near misses by KE that caused the audience to groan in frustration.
During the second intermission, the RH supporters scrambled into the rink to pose for a group photo, before coming together for a group cheer. Riled up by this show of hall solidarity, the KE supporters responded with a shout of “KE Warriors” that resounded throughout the sports hall.
RH gained possession of the ball in the beginning of the third period, and immediately made an attempt to score. However, the shot missed the goal by a fair distance. Desperate to keep the ball away from the KE players, one green-clad player (unintentionally) sat on the floor and spun around to keep her stick in contact with the ball. Some slapstick shenanigans occurred as another RH player accidentally struck the ball right into her own teammate. Despite the best efforts of the RH girls, the KE warriors snatched the ball away from them and very nearly managed to score, had their old nemesis, the RH goalkeeper, not stood in their way.
RH regained possession of the ball and made two consecutive attempts to score another point, each of which were blocked by the trusty KE defenders. A fierce battle for the ball erupted near the barrier of the arena, nearly knocking over one of the boards on the audience’s side. The red-clad girls won possession of the ball, which they immediately volleyed towards the goal. The RH goalkeeper quite easily blocked their first shot, but she did not expect a second attempt so quickly after the first. The second shot slipped right past her defenses, giving KE their first point. The KE supporters went wild, screaming and cheering in celebration of the long-awaited goal.
The RH girls fought to regain their lead, making attempt after attempt to score a second point. Meiyi engaged one of them mano-a-mano across the RH side of the rink. The amazing teamwork between the entire KE team kept the ball away from the goal. The third period ends as the KE girls take another shot for a second point, which was caught by the RH goalie.
Since the score was 1-1 after three periods, it seemed that extra time had been given to the players in order to break the tie. Early into the bonus round, the umpire showed off his Mad Ninja SkillsTM by jumping over a ball that a KE player shot right under his feet. RH gained possession of the ball and shot it towards the goal, but Lucinda swiftly intercepted it. Both sides were getting desperate to break the deadlock, and a scuffle fierce enough to fell a board on one end of the rink ensued.
The drama did not end there; at one point, an RH player struck the ball so hard that it flew out of the arena and into the spectators’ area. Once the ball had been returned to play, KE immediately gained possession of it and struck it towards the goal from across the arena. However, it was intercepted by the opposition, which managed to hit the ball out of the rink yet again. KE was awarded a free ball. As the red-clad girls shuffled the ball towards the RH goal, KE player Mei Yi was tripped up by an opponent while blocking her from the ball.
KE made yet another close attempt to score, which was redirected by the RH players towards the other side. However, as the extra time began to run out, the RH girls fared no better at scoring, as our goalie Lucinda blocked both shots directed at her goal.
The extra round ended just as it has started, with a draw between both KE and RH.
Final score: 1-1
Both teams formed a U-shaped loop to shake hands as efficiently as possible. The KE supporters cheered for their valiant players as the crowd slowly dissipated, and the team huddled around their goal for one last group shot for the day:
Photos courtesy of KE Vision