The Gretchel Soltones and Alyssa Eroa tandem of the San Sebastian College-Recoletos Lady Stags successfully won their third straight NCAA Women’s Beach Volleyball Title after dealing the San Beda Lady Red Spikers their only loss of the season in three highly-entertaining sets, 14-21, 21-9, 15-6, at the sands of the Subic Park Hotel in Olongapo City.
“Yes! Nakabawi kami sa outdoor! Ang hirap magchampion dito kasi dalawa lang kayong maglalaro. Pag beach volleyball, dapat composed kayong dalawa,” Soltones, who also ran away with MVP honors, proudly shared to Tiebreaker Times. “And kumukuha lang din ako ng lakas sa lahat ng mga sumusuporta sa amin.”
Just like the way they played throughout the elimination round, San Beda quickly established momentum against San Sebastian. Armed with their usual flurry of short balls and terrific serving, San Beda was able to build a 14-9 lead, San Sebastian fought back but the momentum of San Beda was too much and it led to a 21-14 first set win.
However, Soltones took it upon herself in the two sets as she threw down spike after spike to break down the Viray twins’ defense. The second and third set had common themes as both teams just exchanged points in its opening parts. Then, Soltones immediately changed the tone of the game in the latter parts of it with her power spikes which gave fits to San Beda’s defensive schemes.
“Before the game, talagang I felt good kasi alam ko naman na kaya namin. Sobrang humanga din ako sa dalawang iyon kasi first time nila sa NCAA pero they were playing since Grade 5,” Soltones added. “Batang-batang pa sila pero ‘yung diskarte nila parang pangmatanda na.”
Lastly, Soltones indicated that this win finally removed the sting of their tough defeat against the College of Saint Benilde Blazers during the women’s indoor volleyball championship last January. Knowing how painful it is to lose with a thrice-to-beat advantage, their three-peat in the beach volleyball tournament can help them establish momentum in their future matches.
“Basta dito dapat wag kang mag give up and Like nung sa [San Beda] talo kami noong elimination,” Soltones closed. “Doon ka dapat huhugot ng lakas, dapat you should learn lessons from your mistakes.”
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