The Ateneo Lady Eagles have dominated the opposition during their last ten games. But their ascension was halted by their rival De La Salle University Lady Spikers in straight sets during their UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball second round encounter at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Lady Spikers pulled away in the opening set courtesy of their service and blocking. Their lead grew to as high as nine points before they clinched the opening salvo at 25-17.
Coach Ramil De Jesus’ wards continued their domination by starting the second set with a 13-4 run and never looked back. The Lady Eagles had a 4-0 mini-run at the middle of the set but that was all they wrote. Jolina Dela Cruz’ successful attack from Zone 2 brought the Taft unit to set point while Vanessa Gandler’s service error gave De La Salle a two-set advantage, 25-13. The Lady Spikers had the edge in attacks (11-3), blocks (2-0), and service aces (2-0).
Lady Spikers complete straight-set victory
DLSU raced to a 13-6 run in the third set before ADMU sparked a 5-1 to pull to within three, 14-11. But consecutive points by the Lady Spikers made the tally 16-11 coming into the second technical timeout. The Lady Eagles made one more push to trim the deficit to two, 17-15. However, Dela Cruz led De La Salle’s response to stretch their advantage at 22-16.
Ateneo was not yet done. Maddie Madayag’s service ace brought the count at 22-21 La Salle. But a Lady Eagles’ infraction doubled the Lady Spikers’ lead. Des Clemente’s drop shot brought DLSU at set point but her service error gave the Lady Eagles some life. Aduke Ogunsanya’s running spike ended the set and the match at 25-23.
Individual and team stats, upcoming matches
CJ Saga is named player of the game with 21 excellent digs and 14 perfect receptions. Dela Cruz led La Salle’s offensive onslaught with 14 markers while Clemente and Ogunsanya had ten points apiece. May Luna added nine points off the bench and Desiree Cheng made four. Tin Tiamzon tallied two points while Michelle Cobb also made two to go with 16 excellent sets.
No Lady Eagle reached double-figures in scoring as Ponggay Gaston paced with seven. Madayag, Kat Tolentino, and Bea De Leon finished with six scores each while Jules Samonte added four. Deanna Wong had a single point and 21 excellent sets.
Though Ateneo is the number one blocking team in the tournament, De La Salle finished the bout with a 6-0 margin in kill blocks. The Lady Spikers also won in attacks (37-27) and aces (8-3).
Clinching a Final Four slot, the De La Salle Lady Spikers (9-3) will carry a four-game win streak against the UE Lady Warriors. Meanwhile, the Ateneo Lady Eagles (10-2) will try to bounce back against the Adamson Lady Falcons. Both games are slated on April 24 at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.