Lady Spikers sweep 1st round with statement win vs Lady Bulldogs

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Lady Spikers sweep 1st round with statement win vs Lady Bulldogs
Angel Canino strikes anew for La Salle.
UAAP Media Bureau

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 5:52 p.m.) – The DLSU Lady Spikers came out with a vengeance against the NU Lady Bulldogs in their first-round meeting in UAAP Season 85, stamping their class on the defending champions, 25-10, 25-15, 25-21, to improve to a perfect 7-0 slate at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Wednesday.

After not getting a single set against the defending champions last season, La Salle snapped a four-game losing streak against the Lady Bulldogs in emphatic fashion.

"’Di ko inaasahan yung straight-sets namin sila. Sabi ko nga sa mga bata bago pumasok yung first six, sabi ko stick to the plan kung ano yung inaral natin. Doon tayo, wag tayong umalis doon, kung ano yung plano natin na ginawa sa training," said DLSU interim head coach Noel Orcullo. 

"At least, nag-click, and they played with pride," he added.

In the opening set, the Lady Spikers jumped the gun as they started with an 8-0 run to lead NU, 9-3, after a Leila Cruz block on Cess Robles.

They then ended the set the same way they started it with an identical 8-0 scoring burst punctuated by an Angel Canino hit from an NU misreceive to claim the opening set in dominant fashion, 25-10.

The dominance continued in Set 2 for the Lady Spikers, who tightened their defense at the net. Jolina Dela Cruz denied Robles at the net to clinch the 2-0 lead, 25-15.

NU only showed a real fight in Set 3 when they kept within striking distance of streaking La Salle, which has now swept the first round.

After a 6-2 DLSU run saw the Lady Spikers ahead, 14-10, off of a Thea Gagate hit, the Lady Bulldogs mounted their own 5-0 scoring burst to take the lead, 15-14, with a Robles hit punctuating the run.

Vangie Alinsug also scored to tie the game, 16-all, in the hopes of staying alive and extending the match.

But three straight points from the Lady Spikers helped DLSU pull away anew. 

In the late goings of the game, NU was within three, 20-23, after a crosscourt hit by Bella Belen.

But Thea Gagate converted on a hit off of another misreceive from NU to send them to match point. 

Dela Cruz sealed the deal for the Lady Spikers with a crosscourt kill, 25-21.

Three different Lady Spikers finished in twin-digit scoring with Canino leading the way with 14 markers as Fifi Sharma added 12 points as well.

Dela Cruz added 11 points while Gagate chipped in nine.

Because of her distribution on offense, Mars Alba clinched Player of the Game honors with 20 excellent sets.

Belen led the Lady Bulldogs in the losing effort with 12 markers.

The Lady Bulldogs finish the first round with a 5-2 slate, tied with Adamson and UST and are now third.

La Salle remains atop the standings with their immaculate 7-0 record.

Because of how they ended up after the first round, La Salle and NU are now headed for a collision course anew on Saturday, March 25, to begin their second-round campaign.

In the last game of the day, the NU men's team extended their win streak to 25 games with a three set victory over La Salle, 25-21, 25-21, 25-16.

Michaelo Buddin topscored with 19 markers as NU swept the first round 7-0. DLSU, meanwhile, fell to 4-3.

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