In a match marred by long rallies, the Adamson University Lady Falcons gutted out a tight four-set win over the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, 25-22, 19-25, 25-23, 26-24, in the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
The Lady Falcons took advantage early, as UP tried rookie setter Marianne Sotomil to start the match. Lady Maroons’ rookie libero Mirgie Bautista was also helped off the court midway through the opener due to a sprained ankle.
Adamson, after trading share of the lead, imposed their will late, piling up points from veterans Bernadette Flora and Eli Soyud to cap the first set.
With graduating setter Arielle Estrañero coming off the bench in the second frame, UP’s offense flowed from one unattended spiker to the next. The Lady Maroons built an insurmountable 14-6 lead to tie the match at a set apiece.
The third set opened with the gritty long rallies that dictated the rest of the match. Adamson turned heady defensive plays into points and a 16-10 lead in the third set, before the Lady Maroons countered with an 8-2 run to knot the set. UP then took a short-lived 22-20 lead thanks to consecutive Adamson errors. The Lady Falcons burst out of a timeout with a 4-0 run, highlighted by an Eli Soyud hit that soared past two blockers. With UP threatening to force a deuce, Flora saved the Lady Falcons with a roll shot that surprised the Lady Maroons’ defense.
UP were in good shape to bring the match to a decider, building a 13-9 lead in the fourth set. But true to the match’s flow, Adamson mustered a late comeback. With Adamson sitting on a 24-23 lead, Soyud surrendered an error that gave the Lady Maroons hope. The Adamson opposite spiker eventually retaliated, scoring their last two points off an off-speed hit and a block on Isa Molde.
Given the match’s frantic pace, Adamson head coach Airess Padda was perplexed with how her team won.
“UP was playing very consistent. Estrañero did a great job at finding her spikers and they were raining hard hits on us,” said the American mentor. “Our floor defense saved us today.”
Libero Thang Ponce spear-headed Adamson’s peaky defense, gathering 29 digs and 22 excellent receptions. Flora added 18 digs and 14 receptions to go with her 16 markers, while Soyud finished with 21 markers.
Molde and Mariane Buitre each tallied 15 markers for the Lady Maroons.
The Lady Falcons (4-0) take on fellow undefeated squad University of Santo Tomas Tigresses (5-0) on Saturday at the same venue. UP (2-2) face the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws (4-1) also on Saturday.
AdU (3) – Soyud 21, Flora 16, Permentilla 6, Dacoron 5, Genesis 5, Igao 5, Perez 3, Uy 0, Ponce (L)
UP (1) – Buitre 15, Molde 15, Bernardo 10, Gannaban 10, Magsarile 9, Estrañero 3, Rosier 2, Sotomil 2, Lagman 0, Altomea (L), Bautista (L)