UAAP: La Salle crushes defending champion NU to sweep women’s volleyball first round
MANILA, Philippines–La Salle masterfully came out firing on all cylinders and denied National University any chance of recovery, 25-10, 25-15, 25-21, to sweep the first round of the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball tournament on Wednesday.
Rookie Angel Canino punctured holes at the enemy lines with 14 points, highlighted by 11 attacks, while veterans Thea Gagate, Fifi Sharma and Jolina Dela Cruz had their share of the limelight in the statement win.
“I didn’t expect that we would sweep them (in straight sets). Before we came out there, our goal was just to stick to the plan. We clicked and played right,’’ said La Salle interim coach Noel Orcullo.
Not only did the Lady Spikers win all of their matches in the first round, they likewise got back at their tormentor in Season 84 where NU shredded them to pieces in just two games of a best-of-three championship duel.
Team skipper Mars Alba coordinated the attack with 20 excellent sets, Ylizyeth Jazareno had 15 digs on the defensive end while Gagate and Leila Cruz registered three blocks apiece for the Lady Spikers, who won for the first time after five matches against NU since Season 81.
“We saw what we are capable of accomplishing. But it’s not only me, it was a total team effort,’’ said Canino.
NU absorbed its second defeat in the first round, putting the defending champions in a three-way tie with the Adamson Lady Falcons and University of Santo Tomas Tigresses at 5-2.
The Lady Spikers rushed to beat the Lady Bulldogs to a pulp, seizing the first set in dominant fashion through the heroics of Canino and Cruz.
After quickly scoring eight straight points, La Salle hardly met any resistance and found itself leading way ahead, 20-10, before the Cruz-Canino combo dealt the blows.
A Cruz spike off the block and Canino’s drop gave the Lady Spikers a rare set victory against the defending champions. They failed to snatch a set from NU the entire season last year.
The storyline didn’t go NU’s way in the succeeding frames with Fifi Sharma delivering the needed points in the second set, including a service ace for a 12-5 La Salle leverage.
Bella Belen and Princess Robles pulled the Lady Bulldogs within six, but those efforts circled the drain as errors hounded them apart from the continuous shelling they got from Sharma and Canino.
Jolina Dela Cruz put the lid on the second set by deflecting Robles’ power shot at the net.
Silenced by the double-set deficit, the Lady Bulldogs somehow gave their legion of fans a reason to feel relieved after making it tough for La Salle in the final set.
Evangeline Alinsug and Sheena Toring propelled the NU charge, but La Salle quickly regrouped as Sharma and Gagate joined forces in piercing the Lady Bulldogs’ side prior to Dela Cruz’s coup de grace—a crosscourt spike on an open floor.