After dropping a close five-set match to open the Final Four, the DLSU Lady Spikers defeated the FEU Lady Tamaraws in straight sets, 25-15, 27-25, 25-21, in their do-or-die match in the UAAP Season 78 Women’s Volleyball Tournament earlier today at the Mall of Asia Arena. With the win, La Salle will advance to the Finals, where they will face long-time rivals Ateneo Lady Eagles for the fifth straight season.
Team captain Kim Fajardo was adjudged the Player of the Game after making 50 excellent sets and chipping in six points on four aces for La Salle. Meanwhile, Mika Reyes and Ara Galang spearheaded DLSU’s offense as they scored 10 points each. On the other side, Bernadeth Pons and Toni Rose Basas led FEU as they also finished with 10 points each, with both players combining for 18 attacks.
The first set saw both La Salle and FEU perform excellent floor defense, resulting in long rallies that delighted the fans in attendance. Early into the set, the two teams engaged in a tight match, with DLSU gradually gaining an advantage on the Lady Tamaraws to put them ahead at 7-4. FEU tried to catch up but the Lady Spikers would not let them as they protected their lead through quick responses to the FEU attack. At 17-14, La Salle started a seven-point run that put them at set point, 24-14. Before they could finish the set, however, DLSU commited a net violation. In the ensuing possession, Kim Dy immediately made a drop shot to give La Salle the set at 25-15.
At the beginning of the second set, FEU grabbed an early lead with a 5-2 run. It was close match after that as the two teams never let the other gain more than a three-point lead. At 18-all, a strong attack from Pons followed by three service aces from Heather Guino-o gave FEU a four-point advantage. However, the Lady Spikers answered with a 6-1 run capped off by MaJoy Baron’s two aces and a block from Reyes to put them at set point, 24-23. The Lady Tamaraws scored back-to-back points but La Salle finished the second set at 27-25 with three consecutive points immediately afterwards.
Unlike the previous set, DLSU grabbed an early lead heading into the first technical timeout of the third set, 8-2. FEU tried to cut the lead, but multiple service errors on their part made them unable to score long runs. Midway through the set, however, the Lady Tamaraws managed to close the gap to two, 22-20. La Salle did not let them get any closer as they took the set and match with a 3-1 run, 25-21, capped off by a service ace by Fajardo.
The Lady Spikers outperformed the Lady Tamaraws as they finished with 32 attacks and 13 aces against FEU’s 29 attacks and seven aces. On the other hand, FEU made four blocks, while La Salle finished with only three. DLSU also incurred less unforced errors, committing 21 as opposed to the 29 errors of FEU, most of which came in the final set.
The Lady Spikers will face the Lady Eagles for the first game of the Finals on Saturday, April 23, at 4 pm in the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. This will be the fifth straight time that both teams will square off in the championship round, with both La Salle and Ateneo winning two titles each.