UAAP Season 81 in review: UE Lady Warriors

Progress is not always measured through drastic improvments. It can be quantified through incremental steps that contribute to the end result.

That has been the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament for the UE Lady Warriors. Their success might not be leaps and bounds. But they have taken a step towards the positive direction.

Taking the UP Lady Maroons to five sets in the season opener was a good start to their campaign. However, everything went south since as they lost five of their next six matches, winning only against the Adamson Lady Falcons. But the record does not reflect some positives in their journey. They took last year’s finalists FEU Lady Tamaraws to five sets while holding their ground against the De La Salle University Lady Spikers and the UST Golden Tigresses.

Round two was even better as they won a three-setter against Adamson and a four-setter over the NU Lady Bulldogs. The Recto crew also went toe-to-toe with UP and FEU, only to fall in five sets in both occasions.

But at the end of the day, they still can’t get over the hump against the top teams. No one would question their fighting spirit, though, in those losses. They scored 20 points in sets one and two against UST and forced an extended second set against the Ateneo Lady Eagles, 25-27.

Results like these prove that first-year head coach Karl Dimaculangan has imparted a winning mindset that stems from his accolades as a player. The Lady Warriors may not win it all but they won’t go down without a fight.

Starting over again

Three wins in a season for the UE Lady Warriors is a commendable achievement, considering that they only had a total of four in the three previous tournaments combined. Prior to that, they haven’t tasted victory in Seasons 75 to 77.

But reality bites and most of their starters have donned the red and white uniform for the last time. They will be back to planting new seed, hoping that the harvest of talent will be ready for Season 82. Kath Arado’s departure is a huge void to fill, if they can fill it at all. UE always had a fighting chance in every rally when she executes her digs and saves. Also leaving is Laizah Bendong who has been the best setter of the competition.

Judith Abil has been a spring well of maturity and consistency on her last year with the Lady Warriors. Roselle Baliton provided them a serviceable threat at the middle.

The cupboard is bare for UE as of now. That should make them work doubly hard to recruit the talent that will complement the likes of Seth Rodriguez and Mary Anne Mendrez. It also helps that Arado will still impart that hunger to excel upon their players as assistant coach.

As the sun rises in the east, the women’s volleyball program of the University of the East is also on a gradual upswing. We can only hope that what they’ve built now will not turn into a sudden sunset next year.