If we were to identify roles for this season’s NU Lady Bulldogs, Roselyn Doria is their team captain while rookies Princess Robles and Ivy Lacsina have embraced the role of main scorers. Joni Chavez is the unlikely setter while Bingle Landicho is the service specialist.
With Jennifer Nierva being the team’s cornerstone on defense, we can add one unofficial role for the 19-year-old libero: team spokesperson. Addressing reporters during the post-game interview, her confidence and wisdom exceeded her age. Even the maturity of her game does not reflect the struggles that a first-year player often deal with.
Manning the back row against the dangerous UP spiking core of Tots Carlos, Isa Molde, and Justine Dorog, Nierva was named Game MVP by tallying 26 excellent digs and 29 receptions. More importantly, she helped the Lady Bulldogs turn a 14-10 fifth-set deficit into a 17-15 victory.
“Naging ganun yun result kasi ginusto namin manalo. Pinagtrabahuhan namin every point. Alam namin mahirap pero gagawin namin for the people beside us,” Nierva shared.
With their backs against the wall, the rookie defensive specialist from the Nazareth School of National University kept her faith among her teammates. “No doubt ako sa mga teammates ko kasi nakikita ko talaga na nagtatrabaho kami sa training and I know na lalabas yun sa game,” she added.
What does this game prove about NU’s character? Nierva had this response: “Siguro yun panalo namin ngayon, doon namin napatunayan na ang bawat isa, may trust talaga na gustong manalo. Na yun team na ito kahit kulang kami, may gusto kami i-achieve. Hindi namin sabihin na ganito lang yun team namin kaya matatalo kami. Pero hindi, ginawa namin siyang motivation.”
The Lady Bulldogs will carry this momentum towards their UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament closer. But they will be in for a fight against the league-leading Ateneo Lady Eagles. But rookies they may be, Nierva is aware of the proper mindset going into that game. “I will respect yun five-straight win nila. Lahat kasi ng nasa loob ng team sa Ateneo ay senior. So yun isip namin doon kapag nakatapak na kami doon, hindi namin iisipin na rookie kami at papantayan namin kung anung ibibigay nila.”
But until that game, it will be back to the drawing board for the F. Jhocson crew. “Now na nanalo kami, ang sarap mag-training ulit and kuhain yun third win namin,” Nierva expressed.
The National University Lady Bulldogs (2-4) will face the Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles (5-1) on March 16 (Saturday), 2 pm, at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.