The Ateneo Lady Eagles clinched a decisive sweep of the entire volleyball season after running down the La Salle Lady Spikers in straight sets, 25-22, 25-17, 25-23. This punctuated a historic week for the Ateneo community, wherein they won three UAAP Titles in different sports.
The Lady Eagles continued to overwhelm their depleted foes by outspiking their opponents, 45-26. After being crowned season MVP hours before the game, Alyssa Valdez carried the Ateneo offense, blasting the La Salle defense for a game-high 20 points. Valdez also led the Lady Eagles in scoring every game of this season.
La Salle setter, Kim Fajardo got the La Salle offense churning early as all of La Salle’s attackers got touches leading to an 8-6 La Salle lead. The Lady Spikers quelled Ateneo attempts at snatching the lead, until consecutive attacks from Michelle Morente gave Ateneo their lead of the match at 14-13. Furthermore, La Salle quickly regained control shortly at 19-17 as Ateneo’s errors piled up. La Salle’s service reception, unforetunately, went array from there, preventing La Salle from setting up attacks resulting in easy opportunities for Ateneo’s offense. The Ateneans took a 23-19 lead after a Michelle Morente service ace. Ateneo finished the set with 10 errors that almost cost them the set, when an Alyssa Valdez attack error preceded a Christine Soyud combination play, cutting Ateneo’s lead to one, 23-22. Off a timeout, Ateneo setter, Jia Morado made the best out of a misreception and pushed the ball through Kim Fajardo’s hands, giving Ateneo set point. Alyssa Valdez, capped the set for her team with a back row attack. Valdez finished the set with seven if Ateneo 18 points off attacks.
The Lady Eagles wasted no time in taking control of the set, as their serves continued to pester La Salle’s back row defense. Ateneo took the lead from the start of the second set, and nurtured it to a healthy eight point advantage, 18-10. The Lady Spikers rallied to cut the lead down to as close as four, 20-16, but their faulty service reception continued to anchor down any chance at a comeback. The Lady Eagles’ league-best spiking produced 12 such points, which blasted their way to a second set win.
Ateneo’s relaxed play to kick off the third set opened the door for the Lady Spikers to snatch an early 10-5 lead. The girls from Katipunan, however, came alive, sparking a rally that had them claw their way to the lead, 14-13. Ateneo’s offensive avalanche led by two-time MVP, Alyssa Valdez, buried the Lady Spikers, effectively clinching the title for Ateneo.
A teary-eyed Denden Lazaro spoke about their back-to-back title. “Kinilabutan ako doon [thought of back-to-back title]. Never ko naisip in my five years na kaya namin ‘to.”
After averaging 8.5 points for the Finals, Amy Ahomiro earned her first Finals MVP. “I was so shocked and speechless after they announced that I won it [Finals MVP]. I’m very honored and thankful for this,” said Kiwi.
The title is Ateneo’s second Women’s Volleyball title in school history. They are also the only Women’s volleyball team in UAAP history to go undefeated for an entire season since 2004.
Ateneo – Valdez 20, Ahomiro 10, Morente 10, De Leon 10, Morado 6, De Jesus 5, Lazaro (L)
La Salle – Baron 9, Reyes 8, Cheng 6, Demecillo 5, Cervea 4, Soyud 4, Tiu 2, Fajardo 1, Cruz Ci. (L), Macandili (L)