At the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Interschool Volleyball Competition (Division One) held on Tuesday, perennial champions Diocesan Boys’ School (DBS) and Shun Tak Fraternal Association Cheng Yu Tung Secondary School (Cheng Yu Tung) defended their thrones and were crowned the Grade A boys’ and girls’ champions respectively.
The Grade A finals were held at Southorn Stadium for the very first time, which provided more seats to accommodate the fervent supporters of the finalist teams. In the boys’ final, DBS went head-to-head against Shau Kei Wan Government Secondary School (Sau Kei Wan), whom they had defeated in the group stage.
At the start of the first set, Shau Kei Wan held a two-point lead thanks to numerous errors by DBS, but the defending champion recovered quickly and began to take charge of the game. Powerful spikes from DBS helped the school maintain a comfortable lead throughout the game, but Shau Kei Wan refused to give in and scored four points in a row in a mini-rally. But DBS made several substitutions to stop their opponent’s scoring streak and won the first set 25-19.
DBS carried their momentum to the second set and led the game from start to finish. They eventually won the game 25-20, and denied Sau Kei Wan any chance of seizing the championship tile. DBS has been the reigning champs since 2013.
Team captain Cheung Yu-cham told the media that he was pleased with his team’s performance, especially with the rookies from junior forms. He said many pillars of the team graduated last year, so he knew their path to victory this year would be arduous.
“Many of our players are not as tall, and we lack players in some positions, so we had to experiment with different line-ups to make our attacks and defence smoother,” Cheung said.
The Form Five student added winning the interschool title is only the beginning; the team has set their sights on lifting the Jing Ying title as well, to fulfil their four-year winning streak. But since the schedule of the tournament has not been fixed yet, Cheung is worried the team’s key players, who are mostly Form Six students, will not be in their best form after taking a break from the sport to prepare for the HKDSE.
“It’s definitely a concern for our team, but I think we will promote players from Grade B and prepare them for the tournament,” he said.
Meanwhile in the girls’ final, competition favourite Cheng Yu Tung took on Shau Kei Wan Government Secondary School (Sau Kei Wan), who pulled off a major upset in the semi-finals by defeating Diocesan Girls’ School to enter the final for the first time in history.
During the first set, Cheng Yu Tung established an early lead with swift attacks and precise spikes. Although Sau Kei Wan strengthened their defence in the latter part of the game, they could not stop last year’s winner from taking the first set 25-20.
Cheng Yu Tung continued to exert their dominance in the second set and won it with a score of 25-15. They trounced Sau Kei Wan in two straight sets to lift their sixth interschool title in seven years.
In a post-match interview with the media, team captain Wong Wing-sze said the team’s defence was a little chaotic in the first set. But after communicating with one another, each member of the team became more aware of their role and thus, they were able to win the second set with ease.
“The best result we could get with this team line-up before was third place in Grade B and C, but this time we were the champions in Grade A, so it shows how much we have improved,” the Form Six student said.
The team captain for next year, Lam Tsz-ching, said the victorious team really enjoyed playing in Southorn Stadium, as the electrifying atmosphere had boosted the team morale with their fans cheering and chanting loudly.
Lam added the team’s goal for next year was to repeat their success, but it would involve adjusting their tactics, as they would lose a few tall players who will be graduating in June.
“This year we focused on executing attacks, but perhaps next year we need to play defensively,” the Form Five student said.