NU Lady Bulldogs storm back to edge UP Lady Maroons in five

Down two sets to one, the NU Lady Bulldogs fought tooth and nail to defeat the UP Lady Maroons in five sets during their UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball match at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.

The fight was not there for the Lady Maroons early in the first set as the Lady Bulldogs stormed to an 11-1 lead and never looked back. Coach Godfrey Okumu’s squad came to within six, 21-15, but NU neutralized UP’s run to take the first set.

Princess’ Robles ace took the F. Jhocson crew to set point and Audrey Paran’s attack that went through the UP blockers ended the opening canto at 25-17.

Lady Maroons claim sets two and three

The Lady Maroons started the second set with a 4-1 spurt that was countered by the Lady Bulldogs to force a 5-5 deadlock. But UP blasted a 7-0 run to establish a 12-5 advantage that proved to be insurmountable for NU.

Justine Dorog’s cross court attack that landed in NU’s zone five brought the Lady Maroons to set point while Aieshalaine Gannaban’s tip tied the set tally at one apiece, 25-15.

It was all UP after a 4-4 deadlock in the third set. Dorog, Tots Carlos, Marist Layug, and Isa Molde all scored during the Lady Maroons’ 12-2 run to put the away from the Lady Bulldogs’ reach.

The lead was at its largest, 21-10, when the Lady Bulldogs scored six unanswered points to narrow the margin to five. However, the Lady Maroons finished with a 4-1 run to move one set away from a victory. Consecutive errors by Ivy Lacsina and Roselyn Doria clinched set three for the Katipunan unit.

Lady Bulldogs rally in set four

NU mounted an 11-6 lead in set four before UP caught up after a 5-0 run. However, the Lady Bulldogs responded with a 6-3 spurt courtesy of Doria and Lacsina to open a 17-14 advantage.

UP scored four straight points since to claim a precarious one point edge, 18-17. A close battle ensued at the tail end of the fourth set but Molde’s off-target attack gave NU set point. The Lady Bulldogs forced a deciding set by taking the fourth, 25-23.

The exciting fifth set

The Lady Maroons opened a 10-7 advantage in the final set but NU proved to be a tough out. Eventually, UP gathered composure in the closing stages to take the victory.

Layug’s kill block sent UP to match point at 14-10. But the Lady Bulldogs did not give up and forced a deuce. Lacsina’s spike turned the tide for NU but a net touch violation tied the count again at 15.

Lacsina made another attack for set point number two and Gelina Luceno’s kill block ended the set and the match at 17-15 for NU.

Top scorers and team stats

Robles led the Lady Bulldogs with 17 points while Lacsina added 16. Doria and Audrey Paran had 12 points each. Joni Chavez tallied seven to go with 26 excellent sets while Luceno contributed three. Libero Jennifer Nierva had a splendid outing with 26 digs and 29 receptions.

On the other hand, Carlos and Dorog paced UP with 15 points each while Molde made 13. Layug and Gannaban scored nine apiece while Roselyn Rosier had one. Ayel Estranero has one point to go with 24 excellent sets.

NU had a 15-3 edge in service aces and 12 errors less than UP’s 42. The Lady Maroons had the edge in attack points, 49-42. Both teams had 11 kill blocks.

Next games for NU and UP

The NU Lady Bulldogs (2-4) will finish the first round of the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament versus the league-leading Ateneo Lady Eagles on March 16. Meanwhile, the UP Lady Maroons (3-3) will close against the Adamson Lady Falcons on March 17. Both games will be played at Filoil.