Monday, April 15, 2024
HomeschoolsGoalkeeper Ansh Mathur saves the day in Victoria’s C Div boys’ floorball...

Goalkeeper Ansh Mathur saves the day in Victoria’s C Div boys’ floorball triumph

SINGAPORE – Standing at only 1.54m, Victoria School’s Ansh Mathur is one of the shortest players in his school’s floorball team. But the 14-year-old goalkeeper stood tall in their 2-0 penalty shoot-out win over Meridian Secondary School on Wednesday to help his side retain the C Division boys’ title.

After the end-to-end affair at Our Tampines Hub had ended 4-4 in regulation time, Victoria won the coin toss, opting to go first in the best-of-three shoot-out.

Kishore Rayar coolly dispatched the first penalty for Victoria, leaving Meridian’s Mohammad Anniq Kashfi Kassim the next to step up.

To Anniq’s disbelief, Ansh thwarted his effort by staying alert and forcing him to pull the ball back before taking the shot. Although the ball landed in the net, the conversion was disallowed as the ball did not move in a forward motion, as stipulated by competition rules.

Victoria’s Arya Venkatesan subsequently sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to put his team 2-0 up, which meant that Muhammad Danial Aqeel Mohammad Azmi could not afford to miss if Meridian were to keep their hopes alive. 

But Ansh used his quick movements to stop Danial’s shot, sparking wild celebrations among his teammates, who ran towards him in unison. 

The goalkeeper said he was surprised he prevented Meridian from scoring both penalties.

He added: “Usually in training, when the seniors take penalties against me, it’s much more difficult and I’d get confused on which way they’re going.”

Ansh also revealed that his size meant he was at a disadvantage.

He explained: “For me, because I’m smaller, I’ve trained to be quicker in terms of reacting and following the ball but, obviously, I’m not able to cover most of the goal compared to bigger keepers.”

Teacher-in-charge Lee Ren Ji admitted that before the shoot-out, “the thought did cross (his) mind” to replace Ansh with their bigger goalkeeper.

He added: “From my experience playing, I know that the bigger goalkeepers are always more intimidating.

“But, at the end of the day, coach Jatin Nair and I thought he was doing really well and we had the confidence in him to make the saves, which he did.”

Meridian’s Danial, who scored a brace in the match, said: “Before the penalty, I was just thinking about a straightforward one, nothing fancy. But I knew I messed up and could’ve done better.”

Ansh took part in Victoria’s floorball trials as a Secondary 1 student last year and was selected as a goalkeeper. 

Lee, who was one of the selectors, noted: “I was amazed by his reflexes and his potential for growth and I knew, at that point, this was the guy we needed.”

Victoria had lost 9-7 to Meridian in the second round just 15 days ago. Lee pointed out that their defending then was “terrible”, adding: “We kept emphasising after that they need to put their bodies on the line… the defence was exceptional today.”

Penalty-taker Arya, who equalised for Victoria to make it 1-1 during the match, said: “The atmosphere was really tense. But after the penalty, I felt like I gave my goalkeeper assurance because he can focus on saving the next one.”

Meanwhile, in the C Division girls’ final, Swiss Cottage Secondary School retained their title after a 6-3 win over Marsiling Secondary School.

Swiss Cottage’s Nur Ain Salleh said she found the start “nerve-racking”, but scored her first goal just 29 seconds into the match before completing a hat-trick.

Captain Cheryl Ng cited “teamwork, trust and resilience” as the reasons behind the team’s successful title defence.

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