The De La Salle University Lady Spikers played their best volleyball in two seasons and thrashed the Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles, ending the latter’s 24-game winning streak 25-22, 25-14, 25-18 in the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ateneo’s offense came out firing in the first set. But their own errors helped the Lady Spikers keep pace. Down 12-14, La Salle called a crucial timeout that helped quell a strong Ateneo advance. From there, the Lady Spikers outworked Ateneo in ugly rallies. La Salle team captain Kim Fajardo scored off a dump, a joust, and even a spike to push La Salle to a 21-18 advantage. Spikes from Alyssa Valdez pulled the Lady Eagles to within a point, 20-21 and forced La Salle’s last timeout. Like how they started the match, Ateneo ended the set with a slew of errors – first an attack error from Valdez to put La Salle ahead, 23-21, then the set-clinching point off a Maddie Madayag service error.
La Salle then handed Ateneo the beating of a lifetime in the second frame. Fajardo got the romp started with her serves, dealing out four aces in a run that put her team up 8-0. The Lady Spikers then rode that momentum, pouring the pressure from their serves. Sporting rare looks of frustration, Ateneo trailed by as much as 12, 8-20, and had burned all their timeouts. Shedding her happy demeanor, Valdez took over but could only pull Ateneo to 23-15. Former MVP Ara Galang punctuated the set, sneaking a tip past two blockers then serving an ace to give La Salle a 2-0 set lead.
Ateneo seemed to sober up in the following set. Slotting Kim Gequillana in and shuffling Kiwi Ahomiro to middle hitter, Ateneo built a 14-10 lead, forcing a La Salle timeout. Fajardo again took over, serving up a storm and brewing a 5-0 run to give La Salle the lead. Galang kept the ball rolling, serving back-to-back aces for a 19-16 scoreline.
Kim Fajardo led all scorers with 13 points, including seven aces. Majoy Baron and Ara Galang added 10 points apiece, while Mika Reyes finished with nine markers.
“Sabi ko nga sa kanila (Lady Spikers) hindi puwedeng kakapasok pa lang natin ng court, intimidated na kaagad tayo. Maganda talaga ‘yung confidence na ipinakita namin,” said DLSU head coach, Ramil De Jesus.
Valdez tallied 11 points on a miserable 10/33 attacking clip. She was the only Lady Eagle in double-digits.
La Salle now have a chance to take the top spot with a 5-1 record and a match still to come against the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Ateneo fall to 6-1, marking the first time in two seasons that there will be no stepladder Final Four in the tournament.
DLSU (3) – Fajardo 13, Galang 10, Baron 10, Reyes 9, Dy 7, Demecillo 2, Tiamzon 2, Macandili (L)
ADMU (0) – Valdez 11, Maraguinot 8, De Leon 6, Gequillana 4, Madayag 4, Morado 2, Tan (L), Lavitoria (L)