UAAP: UST ends NU’s 20-game winning streak in women’s volleyball
MANILA, Philippines–University of Santo Tomas pulled out all the stops and did the unthinkable by scoring a 25-23, 27-25, 17-25, 22-25, 15-11 reversal of defending champion National University on Wednesday night at the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament.
Eya Laure carried out the game-clinching block on Alyssa Solomon that capped a whirlwind finish for the Golden Tigresses, who finally stopped the rampaging Lady Bulldogs on their tracks from a long triumphant stretch.
“They (Lady Bulldogs) have a great record. It’s a perfect run for them (last season). But we believe that we can beat them and we showed in this game that we can,’’ said Laure after leading UST with 18 points, highlighted by 14 attacks, plus 14 excellent digs and four blocks.
With the victory, their second in three starts, the Tigresses ended NU’s 20-game win streak dating back to 2020 before the pandemic struck.
Rookie Regina Jurado scored 18 points with two blocks and a pair of aces, Italian Milena Alessandrini came back from a sprain in the fourth set finished with 14 markers and Cassie Carballo had 24 excellent sets for UST, which tied the Lady Bulldogs in the standings.
WATCH: NU absorbs its first loss since April 27, 2019 in Season 81.The Lady Bulldogs’ last defeat came from the UST Tigresses in their last game of the elimination round, 27-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-16. #UAAPSeason85 | via Lance Agcaoili, Inquirer
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Saturday, March 4, 2023
“It was a cardiac win. It was a roller-coaster ride. There were ups and downs, that the flow of the game. Luckily, we were able to overcome the adversities and got the fifth set,’’ said UST coach Kungfu Reyes.
They likewise overcame another strong output from Solomon, whose 20 attacks out of her 22 points helped bring the Lady Bulldogs in the thick of the contest along with Michaela Belen’s 17 markers.
For a change, the Lady Bulldogs slipped to the other side of the fence when the Tigresses snatched the opening set from their grasp.
Ahead by three early on, NU suddenly found itself chasing the pack of Tigresses, who scored six straight points through Eya Laure’s spunk in attacking the net.
Erin Pangilinan tied the count at 20 before Princess Robles and Solomon pushed the Lady Bulldogs closer to wrapping it up. But Alessandrini stymied Solomon’s attack, Jurado scored on a push and Alessandrini dropped it to the other side that completed UST’s rally in the first frame.
The Tigresses showed that their success in the first was no flash in the pan, grabbing the second set as well that shook up the defending champion Lady Bulldogs and their legion of fans at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Jurado’s crosscourt spike positioned UST at the threshold of securing the set and the Tigresses completed the task after Robles erred at the net.
Though it came as a big surprise for NU, the upset was nothing new for UST.
The Tigresses put the Lady Bulldogs on the edge after two sets back on April 27, 2019 when they eventually won, 27-25, 25-17, 20-25, 25-16, at the end of the elimination phase of Season 81.
Pushed against the wall, the Lady Bulldogs stormed back in the next two sets that arranged a five-setter with the trio of Solomon, Belen and Pangilinan taking matters into their own hands.
Solomon’s smash gave NU an eight-point leverage and the Tigresses refused to just call it a day with Laure putting them within 23-17.
Solomon sealed the third frame after pushing the leather to an open space at the backend of UST’s floor.
Laure and Imee Hernandez pulled their team within a point and NU’s error in the next possession put them on even footing despite Alessandrini on the bench after spraining her right foot upon landing.
But Solomon used her length with a push that landed squarely near the line plus a block before Belen ended the fourth set with another block.