It seemed as if the DLSU Lady Spikers were being chased by their nightmare of last season wherein they failed to qualify for the finals. As a new tourney of UAAP Beach Volleyball begins, the Green-and-White failed to begin the season on the right foot and they lost their first two matches of the season to the UST Tigresses last August 31 and the Adu Lady Falcons the next day in the opening weekend of the tourney.
Their male counterparts, the Green Spikers, did not do better as they too failed to register a win in their first three matches against FEU, NU and UST on opening weekend.
Lady Spikers Kim Fajardo, Cienne Cruz and Cyd Demecillo failed to notch their first victory versus reigning champion UST. The Thomasian trio of Maru Banaticla, Mela Tunay and Pam Lastimosa won in three sets, scoring a 21-12, 16-21 and 15-6 win on opening day to snatch their first victory of the season at the expense of DLSU.
The Tigresses started out strong during the first set and left the Lady Spikers struggling to recover. The players of head coach Ramil de Jesus tried to stay composed in the opening set, but were unable to catch up to UST who ended up with a nine point final winning margin.
Fajardo, Cruz and Demecillo held on in the second set despite the toughness showed by their opponents and they did not let the Tigresses to take an easy win. The Lady Spikers ended the second set with a five point advantage that pushed the match to a third deciding set. However, the final set was a repeat of the first and Taft-based squad lost by nine points, 15-6.
On the second day of the weekend tournament, victory still appeared to be elusive for the Lady Spikers. As they faced the team that eliminated them from the Final Four last season, the Adu Soaring Falcons, they failed to exact revenge as Shiela Pineda, Jessica Galanza and Amanda Villanueva outlasted La Salle’s volleybelles in a thrilling three-setter match, 16-21, 22-20 and 15-11.
Compared to their first match, the Lady Spikers were much more aggressive in their plays. Fajardo, as a veteran, led her team with smart and challenging plays that gave them the first set win. The Lady Falcons however, gave La Salle a knotty second set and after a deadlock at 14, a service ace courtesy of Kim Fajardo gave them the lead. AdU then kept close to La Salle and won a long rally and finally scored the last point taking La Salle to a deciding set.
Things then began to pick up in the last set. Fajardo made a down the line hit that gave a two-point lead to La Salle, but the Lady Falcons showed their control of the game, despite an unforced error. The Lady Spikers were locked-up after scoring their 11th point and struggled as the Lady Falcons took away the last point for their 3rd straight win.
The Lady Spikers found themselves on an unusual standing. Last season, they only had one loss in the eliminations against UST, but at this point in time, they have already occurred two early defeats.
Meanwhile, the tercet of Red Christensen, Jopet Movido, and reserve spiker Mike Frey failed to prevail in their opening-day game against FEU as they fell in two straight sets, 15-21 and 20-22 last August 31.
Furthermore, the Green Spikers incurred the same result against the UST Tigers and they lost ,18-21 and 19-21 to end the weekend. Prior to that, the Taft-based spikers also bowed down to National University 17-21 and 17-13 in the curtain-raiser of the September 1 festivities.
What hurt La Salle all throughout their games were their serving and reception errors which were quickly converted into points by their opponents. In their game against UST, unforced errors played a vital role. The Espana-based spikers benefitted from errors of the Green-and-White squad. Up by three points in the first set, 14-17, UST committed a service error then DLSU connected a service ace to trim the deficit to one, 17-16. However, the Tigers rallied and they finished the first set with a 21-18 win.
Midway through the intense second set, La Salle connectted a down-the-line hit to tie the game at 11 points each and then converted a point through a UST block and tied the game at 15 apiece. The Tigers pulled away and closed the second and final set with a 21-19.
The Green Spikers finished the first weekend of the tournament with 0-3 win-loss record and up next for them are the UE Red Warriors. The triumvirate from Taft will surely seek to end their three-game losing streak and finally record a victory.
Expect the ladies to bounce back tougher and braver in their next match against the UE Lady Warriors on September 7 also at the UE-Caloocan sand court. The tentative date of their game versus the ADMU Lady Eagles that was rescheduled due to unfortunate weather conditions has yet to be announced.
It will be interesting to see these two teams without any losses and when they will manage to break out of their funk and pick up a win. The greatest thing about the UAAP though is that everything is unpredictable.