Made to work harder this time, La Salle still dominates NU
Alone at the top with their arch nemesis frayed and mangled, the La Salle Lady Spikers know they must configure a far better version of themselves ahead.
The Lady Spikers can only achieve that once their errors are cut down further to a minimum.
“We’ve been working on minimizing our errors. We will correct those once we go back to practice,’’ said La Salle assistant coach Noel Orcullo after another masterful win over the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs, 26-24, 26-24, 25-16, in the UAAP Season 85 women’s volleyball on Saturday.
They dropped the ball 12 times in this game, and though they repeated against the defending champions in a four-day span to remain unbeaten in eight games, Orcullo would be happier if La Salle has lesser errors moving forward.
Angel at forefront
“Hopefully, in our succeeding games, we can cut [our errors] to single digits,’’ said Orcullo.
Angel Canino had 15 points highlighted by 13 attacks, and Jolina Dela Cruz added 12 points, three blocks and nine receptions with Marionne Alba tossing 16 excellent sets for the Lady Spikers, who tore the Lady Bulldogs apart in their first-round meeting last Wednesday, 25-10, 25-15, 21-21.
“Teams seldom get this chance of going 8-0 or sweeping the first round. We just grabbed the opportunity, so it can further boost our confidence,’’ said Dela Cruz.
With La Salle head coach Ramil De Jesus back calling the shots, the Lady Spikers were on target right at the opening set, surviving an intense back-and-forth that boiled down to Fifi Sharma sneaking in a push and Canino sending her jump serve to an unsuspecting Jennifer Nierva for set point.
“We came out ready for the adjustments they made. We know it won’t be easy, but again we didn’t expect to end it in three sets,’’ said Orcullo.
Injured Lady Spiker
— Lance Agcaoili (@LanceAgcaoilINQ) March 25, 2023
La Salle, though, lost Leila Cruz halfway through the first set after a bad landing. Curled and writhing in pain, Cruz was carried off the court, never to see floor time again.
La Salle found itself trailing again at the onset of the second frame, but Canino’s push and Baby Jane Soreno’s ace knotted the count at six, quickly shifting the tide in their favor.
Back-to-back air strikes by Canino and another pair of timely attacks from Dela Cruz finally put the Lady Spikers ahead, an advantage they protected despite the NU fightback anchored on Evangeline Alinsug and Bella Belen.
The Lady Bulldogs actually shot themselves in the foot when Nierva over-received, gifting Sharma with an easy push that secured La Salle a 2-0 headroom.
“It was actually a good game for us. We just fell short. We will move on and focus on the next games,’’ said NU coach Karl Dimaculangan.
Staring at another straight-sets debacle, the Lady Bulldogs simply crumbled in the face of La Salle’s unparalleled quickness and aggressiveness at the net in the final frame with Canino once again delivering most of the killer blows.
Belen led the Lady Bulldogs with 17 points, all on kills.
NU fell into a tie at third with the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses (5-3), leaving the Adamson Lady Falcons alone at second spot with a 6-2 record.