Ateneo shocks La Salle to finish first round at no. 1
Ateneo stunned defending champions De La Salle, 26-24, 26-24, 21-25, 25-17, to finish strong in the first round of the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Lady Eagles topped the league after the first round with a 6-1 slate while the Lady Spikers slipped to second place at 5-2.
La Salle was a few points away from securing the first and second sets but faltered in the face of Ateneo’s fiery comebacks.
Ateneo assistant coach Sherwin Meneses said it all boiled down to his team’s desire to win the match despite having to overcome late deficits in the first two sets.
“I think we just didn’t give up in the first two sets and the team really wanted to win,” said Meneses. “And with our standing right now, I hope it continues to the second round and eventually to the semifinals.”
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Ateneo was forced to play catch up in the first set with Mary Joy Baron heating up with four early points to put La Salle up 5-1. That lead eventually ballooned to 23-19 but the Lady Eagles were able to counter that to take the opening set.
A similar scenario happened in the second set when La Salle built a 23-18 lead before Kat Tolentino and Kim Gequillana came through snatch a 2-0 lead.
The returning Mich Morente led Ateneo with 25 points while Tolentino added 18.
Despite winning the third set, the Lady Spikers were visibly in shambles as head coach Ramil De Jesus tried to field a lineup that could stop Ateneo’s onslaught.
Setter Kim Fajardo was thrust into the opposite hitter spot with Michele Cob playing the former’s position.
Kim Kianna Dy had 15 points to lead La Salle while Baron and Aduke Ogunsanya had 14 and 12 points, respectively.