National University did not miss a beat, sweeping Ateneo de Manila University, 25-15, 25-20, 25-16, to open its title retention bid in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.
Alyssa Solomon led the way for the Lady Bulldogs, en route to their 19th straight win dating back to Season 82, with 12 points on 10 attacks, a block, and an ace.
Cess Robles logged 11 points and eight digs, while reigning MVP Mhicaela Belen chimed in eight points on five spikes, two aces, and a block.
“Malaking bagay sa amin yung parang fresh start kasi kami eh. Ang mindset na muna namin yun pa rin, every game pa rin mula last season hanggang sa nag champion kami and ngayon panibago na ulit,” said NU head coach Karl Dimaculangan.
Leading by just a small margin in the early parts of both the first and second frames, NU unleashed huge runs to put away Ateneo and cruise to a 2-0 advantage.
The Lady Bulldogs then started the third on fire, racing to a 16-4 lead and reaching match point by a mile, 24-11, before the Blue Eagles made five straight points to inch within single digit, 24-16.
Dimaculangan then called a timeout that iced Faith Nisperos at the service line, resulting in an error for the win.
Middle blockers Sheena Toring and Erin Pangilinan also contributed seven points each for NU.
“Happy kami na nakikita namin kung ano yung pinagttrainingan namin at naaapply namin sa game pero hindi kami magse-settle kasi marami pa rin kaming dapat i-improve,” said Solomon.
The Lady Bulldogs were masterful at the service line, leading to 10 aces compared to Ateneo’s two in the one-hour and 25-minute match.
AC Miner paced the Blue Eagles with nine points including two blocks, while Vanie Gandler and Nisperos got eight points apiece.
NU will face fellow opening day winner Adamson University on Wednesday at 10 am, while Ateneo seeks its first victory against University of the East.