Ateneo stays solo on top after 1st round
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Ateneo Lady Eagles rallied from a set down to hack out a four-set win over the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs, 23-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17, and claim the solo top spot in the UAAP women's volleyball tournament on Saturday, March 16, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Maddie Madayag powered the Lady Eagles with 17 points built on 10 attacks, 3 blocks and 4 aces.
After losing the season-opener to defending champion La Salle, Ateneo went undefeated to clinch the No. 1 spot in the first round of eliminations with a 6-1 record.
The young but gritty Lady Bulldogs, who shocked University of the Philippines in their last game, fell to 2-5.
Although the Lady Eagles finished on top, Ateneo head coach Oliver Almadro said it was a grueling run so the team should brace for an even more difficult second round.
“First round is really tough for us. We really learned a lot from here but I’m telling my players that going to the second round is going to tougher,” said Almadro.
Princess Robles led NU with 18 points off 15 attacks, 2 aces and 1 block while Jennifer Nierva covered 29 excellent digs and 30 excellent receptions.
Ateneo controlled the opening frame but collapsed midway through the set as they committed 3 straight errors that sparked NU's 5-0 run.
The Lady Bulldogs eventually took the set as the Katipunan-based squad drowned in a total of 13 errors.
The Lady Eagles bounced back in the 2nd set as they stretched the lead to 10, 22-12. But errors plagued Ateneo once more when they clinched set point as Madayag committed a net touch error and Deanna Wong picked up a double contact violation.
The Ateneo setter made up for her blunder by wrapping up the set with her classic drop shot that leveled the match at 1-1 .
NU got off to a good start with a 3-0 spurt in the 3rd frame, but the Lady Eagles overturned their early deficit with a 4-0 run to nab the lead, 11-10.
The Lady Bulldogs threatened Ateneo once more late in the set as Gelina Luceño's block on Kat Tolentino closed the gap to one point, 22-23.
However, an attack error by Lacsina gifted Ateneo with the set point and Madayag's quick gave the Lady Eagles a 2-1 match advantage.
The Lady Eagles pulled away early in the 4th set and Bea de Leon's 4 attacks in a six-point stretch put them at 21-16 on the way to sealing the win. – Rappler.com