The ADMU Lady Eagles stunned the DLSU Lady Spikers in straight sets, 25-18, 25-19, 25-19, earlier today at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Game One of the UAAP 77 Women’s Volleyball Finals.
With the outcome, Ateneo moves one win away from clinching their second straight championship. On the other hand, La Salle is in a precarious situation in the upcoming Game Two, which is a must-win for them should they wish to keep their championship hopes alive.
Game Two of the Finals will be held on March 14, Saturday, 3:30 pm at the Mall of Asia Arena. Ateneo’s Alyssa Valdez led all scorers today with a stellar game-high performance of 25 points, carrying the bulk of the scoring load for the Lady Eagles. Besides Valdez, no other Atenean scored in double digits.
Meanwhile, veteran Cyd Demecillo led La Salle in today’s effort with 10 points. Christine Soyud and Mary Joy Baron also provided a steady offensive presence for the Lady Spikers with eight and seven points, respectively.
It was an early dominant showing for the Lady Eagles in the first set. Despite opening the match with a service error, Ateneo was able to bounce back and dictate a steady offensive rhythm to their advantage. La Salle showed promise early, taking the lead at 8-7 in the first technical timeout of the initial set.
Ateneo easily took advantage of La Salle’s errant reception department, throwing quick and powerful attacks to challenge their opponent’s defense. Although the early parts of the first set started off as a neck-and-neck battle filled with several deadlocks, the Lady Eagles were able to turn things around and establish a six point lead, 16-10, come the second technical timeout.
Valdez was the bright spot for the Katipunan-based squad, as she immediately tallied nine points in the early moments of the first set. Consecutive errors for the Lady Spikers saw them falter midway, allowing Ateneo’s lead to grow to as much as seven, 20-13. The Lady Spikers were unable to regain their rhythm for the rest of the set, as they succumbed to the Lady Eagles, 25-18.
The second set saw the Lady Spikers trying to redeem themselves early on. However, several unforced errors from net violations, service errors, and attacking errors denied La Salle of pacing themselves against Ateneo.
The Lady Eagles were able to ultimately control the lead for majority of the set. Veteran Lady Spiker Mika Reyes sought to fuel her squad midway in the set by scoring through a block, which trimmed their deficit to three, 16-13. However, Valdez took over the scoring duties for ADMU once again to propel the Lady Eagles to a 25-19 victory in the second set.
Soyud and Baron were vital cogs to the Lady Spikers’ cause in the third set. Providing several scoring opportunities for La Salle, the two were able to win points from strong blocks and drop shots. Ateneo was leading the Lady Spikers, 8-5, at the first technical timeout, but Soyud’s efforts allowed La Salle to tie the set at 9-9. Unforced errors by Ateneo kept La Salle alive with a 14-14 deadlock in the middle of the set.
The Lady Eagles were able to retaliate though, as attacks by Valdez and Amy Ahomiro quickly pushed a four-point ADMU advantage, 19-15. The Lady Spikers were unable to establish an offensive run of their own, and Ateneo quickly collected points to end the third set and the match, 25-19.
Moments before the third set ended, Lady Spiker Camille Cruz found herself down on the floor after hurting her right knee. Cruz was immediately subbed out, as some members of the team’s staff nursed her injury.