After losing their UAAP Season 81 opener to the De La Salle University Lady Spikers, the Ateneo Lady Eagles avoided an 0-2 hole by winning over the UST Golden Tigresses in four sets at their match at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan this Wednesday.
From a 16-16 tie in the first set courtesy of a service ace by Jules Samonte, the Lady Eagles stormed to a 5-2 run to open a 21-18 advantage. However, a service error by Ateneo and a successful kill by Milena Alessandrini trimmed the lead to one, 21-20. The Lady Eagles responded with three unanswered points, two of which from Kat Tolentino, to reach set point but an attack error by Samonte gave UST life.
A quick attack from the middle by Bea De Leon ended the opening set for Ateneo, 25-21.
The squad of Coach Oliver Almadro created separation with a 9-1 run from a 12-12 deadlock in the second set. But UST came to within five, 22-17, via an Alessandrini service ace. However, service errors from Alessandrini and Ysa Jimenez brought Ateneo to set point and a De Leon block on Cherry Ann Rondina ended set two for the Lady Eagles, 25-18.
The Golden Tigresses turned things around in set three by starting with seven straight points and never looked back. The lead went as high as ten points, 14-4, and the Lady Eagles never threatened to catch up. Two aces by Alessandrini, part of UST’s eight total in the set, gave the set to the squad of Coach Kung Fu Reyes, 25-18.
The Lady Eagles raced to an 8-2 lead that expanded into a 16-9 advantage. But UST is not quick to give up with their own 8-3 run to slash the deficit to two, 19-17. Ateneo replied with a 4-1 run to open a 23-18 advantage but the Golden Tigresses responded with three consecutive points by Rondina, Alessandrini, and Laure, respectively, pulled UST to within two, 23-21.
An off-target spike by Samonte slashed Ateneo’s lead to one but Tolentino’s kill brought them match point. The Lady Eagles survived the fourth set and took the match, 25-22, when Alessandrini’s attack sailed out.
Both teams now have a 1-1 record. Maddie Madayag is named Player of the Game with nine attacks and six kill blocks. While UST had the advantage in attacks (47-37) and service aces (12-6), the Lady Eagles dominated in blocks, 12-5. UST also had more unforced errors, 36-23.
Tolentino led all scorers with 16 attacks, four blocks, and two aces while De Leon and Gaston had six apiece. Samonte contributed five while Deanna Wong had a point.
On the other hand, Rondina paced UST with 20 markers while Eya Laure had 12. Alessandrini contributed 10 points while Alina Bicar and Caitlyn Viray chipped in eight and five, respectively. Kecelyn Galdones and Janine Balcorta both had two points while Jimenez, Donna Tuazon, Rachelle Roldan, and Mafe Galanza all had one point each.
The Ateneo Lady Eagles will fight for their second straight win when they face the FEU Lady Tamaraws on February 24 at 4 pm. Meanwhile, the UST Golden Tigresses will try to bounce back versus the UP Lady Maroons on the same day at 2 pm. Both games will be played at Filoil.