By A. Balaji
The SPHSL season started off on the first Friday of the month, where all our four teams began their title run at home. For the first time, St Paul's was to be represented by a boy’s volleyball and girl's futsal team. All the teams had high prospects for a successful season and looked forward to reaching the podium.
After a successful football season, the Varsity boys’ team got straight into action for the SPHSL. With only one week of training, the boy's hosted PACA, for the first game of the season. Although having a young team, PACA posed a serious challenge due to their quick and dynamic team. The St Paul’s Lions started the match, quite shaky, making a few simple mistakes. However, as the game progressed, the team gained confidence and started to move into the attacking hand, threatening the PACA defense. The game was neck and neck as both teams fought it all out. The Lions scored first but conceded a goal, immediately after. This continued up until the second half where the score was in our favour, 4 – 3. After getting our heads together, the team picked up the pace. Five minutes in, and we scored a screamer, extending our lead to 5 – 3. However, shortly after that goal, our team began to slow down, and it was PACA's turn to attack. Our goalkeeper worked relentlessly, but unfortunately conceded from an unstoppable shot; the Warriors scored its 4th goal. The game was tense, until one of our players found a breakthrough, and banged it into the net. The score was now 6 – 4, which remained until the end of the match. After a hard-fought win, the boys looked to get some rest for their next game against EAC. Special mentions should go to Rodrigo Biolchini and João Ernanny for their exceptional performance on the court.
The Varsity girl's futsal team also had their work cut out, as they entered the court for the first time, never having had a full match experience in futsal. Both teams attacked and defended with prowess, never leaving a player unmarked. The teams were more focused on not conceding any goals, rather than attempting to score goals. As the game progressed, small opportunities came about, but none taken with precision. Finally, after almost reaching the end of the first half, the Lions scored the first futsal goal of the season. However, as the second half begun, there were clear signs of the girls getting tired, resulting in sloppy marking. Therefore, as we neared the final whistle, the girls conceded a goal, leaving the game at 1 –1. The game remained at deadlock until the end. Although the match ended up in a draw, the result was encouraging for the girls, as they had managed to effectively defend their goal and make use of a goal scoring opportunity; all for the first time in this school’s history.
The varsity girls' volleyball team also had a tough start to the season, as they faced the ever-dangerous PACA team. The match was very tight, as both teams battled out each set till the last point. With that being said, after almost one hour and fifteen minutes of an intense match, the game was going to be decided on the final set. Tensions rose as each team won the opponent's service point. At a crucial moment, the girls had a breakthrough and maintained their lead until the end of the game. The final score of 3 – 2 was extremely motivational, as the girls look forward to having the same performance in their next game.
After the girl’s success, the boys came on court, looking to do the same. The boys began the match a bit insecure, justifiable for a team which had never played an SPHSL match before. However, the boys began to pick up their fighting spirit and started to push forwards racking up consecutive points.
Unfortunately, their inexperience was costly. Silly mistakes and unforced errors cost them the first set. The boys couldn't defend against the aggressive attacks of PACA’s volleyball team, resulting in a 3 – 0 loss at the end of the match. Although unfortunate, the loss allowed the team to identify their weaknesses and work harder in the prospects of the following matches