Currently tied with an 11-2 win-loss record, the DLSU Lady Spikers and the ADMU Lady Eagles will square off anew to close the elimination round of the UAAP Season 79 Women’s Volleyball Tournament. La Salle is on a six game winning streak since losing to its archrivals in the first half of the season. ADMU, on the other hand, has won back-to-back games after a five-set loss to the NU Lady Bulldogs two weeks ago.
The Lady Spikers’ second loss of the season came at the hands of the Lady Eagles’ and their inability to close out sets. With two points short of winning the first set, 23-19, ADMU went on a 7-1 scoring run to claim the set, 26-24. Similarly, in the second set, La Salle was up 23-18, but its opponents managed to tie the game at 23-all, before eventually closing the set, 26-24, and the game, 26-24, 26-24, 21-25, 25-17.
The Lady Spikers were complacent, as consecutive errors from their side brought their opponents within striking distance. Lady Eagle Michelle Morente scored 25 points on 20 attacks, three blocks, and two aces during the game, and was a force to be reckoned with on offense and defense.
After their bounce-back game against FEU, team captain Kim Fajardo explained their struggles as a team late in sets. “Nakapaglamang kami, nagrerelax talaga. Dati naman ganun din yung problema.” (We build a lead and tend to relax.) Although inconsistencies continued to show throughout the remainder of the season, DLSU began to get its groove back. Through six games, they only managed to give up one set, handed by NU.
DLSU’s recent win was a sweep against the AdU Lady Falcons, 25-13, 25-14, 25-16. Dawn Macandili recorded 18 excellent digs and 12 excellent receptions and was named the Player of the Game. MaJoy Baron finished with a game-high 13 points. The Lady Eagles’ last game was also a sweep, a victory against the struggling UE Lady Warriors , 25-18, 25-12, 25-10. ADMU relied on open hitter Kat Tolentino, who scored 12 points.
Defense leads to offense
The Lady Spikers’ success throughout the season can be accredited to their frenetic all-around defense. La Salle currently leads the league in both blocking and receiving, recording 102 kills off blocks through 13 games. On the other hand, the Lady Eagles have dominated the tournament offensively. Currently number one in spiking and in service aces, ADMU has a spike success rate of 39 percent and has recorded 135 service aces. DLSU is not very far off with a spike success rate of 34 percent and 117 service aces as a team.
Jhoana Maraguinot and Kim Kianna Dy, both key players from their teams, missed their last respective games due to injuries. Against UE, the Lady Eagles rested Maraguinot after a reported injury in the right knee. Dy suffered a mild ankle sprain against the UST Golden Tigresses and was not utilized versus AdU despite suiting up.
DLSU is expected to be in good shape, should Dy be fully recovered. In the Lady Spikers’ recent stretch of games, their bench has been able to step up. Aside from relying on Baron and Tin Tiamzon for scoring, Desiree Cheng has also been putting up significant scoring numbers.
As both teams head in to their final respective games in the elimination round, finishing as the first seed will prove to be helpful. As the intensity heightens as the Final Four looms close, both squads will need every advantage they can get.
DLSU and ADMU will square off tomorrow, Saturday, April 8, at 4 pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.