"If they score ten, (we) don't care. We'll score eleven." -Kuan Yang
Frontliners Spartans had a cracking opening match against Ztec Phoenix, a similar team to last year's champions in all but name.
Before the match, manager Jason Chan laid down no required scoreline. He required only one thing of the players: that they play like Brothers for according to him, win or lose, Brothers (and Sisters) stand together.
The tension was hanging heavy over the court as the players waited for the whistle to blow. The supporters, a considerable number come to support the Spartans, also seemed to hold their breath in anticipation. Would the Spartans repeat their historic, nail-biting draw with these giants again?
First period. The Spartans were quickly reduced to four when the referees deemed their wall to be too close to the freehit spot. They held out without conceding a goal, thus settling some early nerves. However, the inevitable duly arrived when Phoenix slotted in their first and second goals. So the first period ended with the score at 0-2, but not without Phoenix suffering some scares of their own, as the Spartans subjected them to some lightning-quick counter attacks courtesy of Nicholas and Jeffery.
Second period. Lulled into a sense of overconfidence and maybe having slightly raised expectations after a positive first period, it was no wonder that the third and fourth goals came in quick succession after the start. Shaken, the players welcomed the whistle that signaled the end of the period, but not before a fifth was added: a very special and equally controversial airhook by Termin at Sharron's right post.
Third period. Given a mild dressing-down by manager Jason Chan, the players responded with vigor and upped their game. However, Phoenix was already on a roll and the break had not slowed them down. A sixth quickly went in, but the change in tactics called by Kuan Yang caught them at unawares, and they were on the back foot for awhile. It was now a more open and flowing game on both sides, meaning more goals went in at both ends. Even on a bad ankle, Kuan Yang spearheaded the team to score two devastating goals past Leonard, who had had very little to do in the first two periods. For the defense, it was an even more backs-to-the-wall job for the defenders who were forced to throw themselves into every tackle and block to stop the rampaging Phoenix forwards.
Final score: 2-9.
It was not to be the Spartans' time that day, and consummate skill triumphed over fierce passion, as Phoenix ran out deserving winners of the match.
"Don't let anyone tell you that you didn't play well," was Kuan Yang's urge after the match.
...for what is the storm, when BROTHERS stand side by side?