The Ateneo Lady Eagles opened their back-to-back title campaign with a straight set thrashing of last season’s second seed, the NU Lady Bulldogs, 25-21, 25-18, 25-15 at the MoA Arena.
Local volleyball superhero, Alyssa Valdez dominated the entire match, basically scoring enough points to win a set for the Lady Eagles and then some with 28 points- 20 from spikes, 6 off aces, and 2 from blocks.
NU, led by the towering Jaja Santiago, who scored five points early in the set, battled to start the first set, as they were able to trade blows with the Lady Eagles. With Ateneo holding a slim, 15-13 lead, Valdez rattled off two straight points off a timeout to spark an Ateneo run which ended up giving them a 22-16 lead. NU subbed in first year player, Jorelle Singh, igniting an NU run that trimmed ADMU’s lead to one. Valdez, again off a timeout, rifled off consecutive points for Ateneo, claiming the set for the Lady Eagles.
The teams again slugged it out early in the second set, each unable to pull away. With the Lady Eagles clinging to a 14-13 lead, Valdez again led an Ateneo charge that handed them a 20-14 lead. A fiery Myla Pablo spearheaded an NU run to bring them as close as 21-18 but Ateneo grabbed all ensuing points to notch the set for the Lady Eagles.
NU started the third set strong, scoring the first three points of the set. However, Ateneo quickly caught up and built an indomitable lead. Valdez capped her legendary performance by winning the final set for Ateneo with three consecutive aces.
Santiago led the Lady Bulldogs with 16 points while Pablo added 10 points but NU could not find another scoring option, as the rest of the team could only manage 10 points.
Ateneo- Valdez 28, De Jesus 10, De Leon 7, Morente 4, Morado 3, Ahomiro 2
NU- Santiago 16, Pablo Myla 10, Mandapat 6, Singh 2, Perez 2