Dolly Versoza lifted Jose Rizal University over San Sebastian College-Recoletos in five grueling sets, 22-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21, 15-8, to open their NCAA Season 95 Women’s Volleyball campaign on a positive note, Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Versoza came through when it mattered most, pummeling six crucial points in the rubber frame — capped off by a match-clinching through-the-block hit — to formalize the Lady Bombers’ first win.
“Bata pa ‘yung teammates ko kaya kailangan ko mag step-up as a captain,” said the third-year student-athlete, who finished with a game-high 21 markers built on 16 attacks and three services, to go along with 20 excellent digs.
Holding onto a slim 9-7 lead in the fifth set, Versoza scored in succession to buoy JRU to a comfortable 11-7 cushion. Jerry Lyn Laurente and Renesa Melgar then delivered differential plays to put their team at match point, before Versoza nailed the finishing touch.
But despite a convincing closing run, the Lady Bombers struggled to establish footing early on. They had to crawl their way back into the match after staring at a 1-2 set deficit.
“Tingin ko we’ll just try our best kung paano maayos ‘yung movements ng mga players tsaka ‘yung chemistry nila sa loob kasi most of them, like si Dolly, third year palang niya, tatlo dun sophomores tapos isa freshman, so medyo kailangan talaga mag-jell pa nila,” JRU head coach Mia Tioseco opined.
Fortunately, the Heavy Bombers were able to pull through in the fourth set onwards after disrupting San Sebastian’s offense with its stifling net defense.
The duo of Sydney Niegos and Riza Rose made their presence felt above the net. The former had 13 points anchored on five blocks, while the latter contributes 12 with four coming from denials. Thanks to their net defense, JRU outblocked San Sebastian, 14-6.
Melgar also put up a strong offensive outing with 11 points, a pair of which coming from aces, on top of eight excellent sets.
“Kailangan pa more on defense, kailangan pang may mga plantsahin pa kami, medyo may miscommunication pa sa loob but then again, start of the season, hopefully maayos namin,” Tioseco added.
Shannai Requierme led San Sebastian with 17 points laced with 18 digs and 11 receptions for a triple-double that went for naught. Kamille Tan and Veronica Carreon had 15 and 14 markers, respectively, in a losing cause.
San Sebastian’s Jewelle Bermillo also made quite an impact on the defensive end despite the loss. She strung 36 excellent digs in 67 attempts.
JRU looks to keep its momentum going when it faces San Beda. Meanwhile, San Sebastian takes on Perpetual in a bid to bounce back from a sour opener. Both matches will be played on Saturday, January 18 at the same venue.