At the end of the day, their bread and butter carried them to the school’s third UAAP women’s volleyball championship. Superior blocking allowed Bea De Leon, Maddie Madayag, and Kim Gequillana to leave on top as the Ateneo Lady Eagles clinched the Season 81 title by defeating the UST Golden Tigresses in straight sets at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Lady Eagles pull away to take set one
Ateneo established its blocking early in the game to get a 5-2 lead. However, the Golden Tigresses came back to within one, 6-5, courtesy of a Deanna Wong double contact error. The Lady Eagles responded with two quick points to stretch the advantage to three going into the first technical timeout.
Coach Oliver Almadro’s crew maintained the upper hand by building a 13-8 advantage. But UST had a 4-1 run to trim the deficit to two, 14-12, off a Kat Tolentino attack error.
Ateneo was just starting. They blasted an 8-0 run to pad the deficit to ten and never looked back. Tolentino’s error off a free ball finally gave the Golden Tigresses a point at 22-13. UST tried one last push to narrow the margin to six, 23-17, but Tolentino’s cross court attack brought the Lady Eagles to set point. Sisi Rondina’s attack error gave Ateneo the first set, 25-17.
It was an error-filled first set as UST had two more than Ateneo’s 11 unforced mistakes. But the Lady Eagles maintained its dominance at the net with a 5-0 edge in blocks.
Ateneo edges UST in the second set
The Lady Eagles raced to a 5-2 lead but came back to take the lead at 8-7 with the help of Ysa Jimenez’ aces. From there, the Golden Tigresses played a quicker tempo to extend their advantage to 14-10. However, Ateneo responded with a 7-2 run to take the lead at 17-16 but Jimenez’ attack levelled the count at 17.
The Golden Tigresses owned a 20-18 edge after an Eya Laure service ace. But aces from Wong and quick hits from De Leon gave Ateneo five straight points to overtake UST at 23-20. UST made one last push by scoring two unanswered points before De Leon’s quick attack handed set point to Ateneo.
Rondina’s net touch error off a powerful spike ended the set for the Lady Eagles, 25-23. UST had eight unforced errors in the set while Ateneo only had two. That negated the Golden Tigresses 14-9 advantage in attacks. Ateneo still had the advantage in blocks, 4-2.
ADMU takes the crown in three
The Lady Eagles banked on their blocking and composure to stretch their lead from 8-6 to 16-9. But the Golden Tigresses made one last push to tie the game at 21 off a Rondina strike. But Tolentino’s attack went off the UST blockers before landing on the floor.
Rondina converted another spike to level the count at 22 but Madayag’s drop ball returned the favor to the Lady Eagles. Madayag’s tip after a block to an empty UST zone 5 delivered championship point to the Katipunan crew at 24-22. Samonte’s attack went through the block to end the set and the match, 25-22.
Tolentino is named player of the game while De Leon is named Finals MVP. This is UST’s first straight set loss of the tournament. Meanwhile, this is Coach Almadro’s fourth UAAP volleyball title and first in the women’s side. They return the crown to Katipunan after four years while missing the championship series last season.