By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors emerged victorious for the second straight time in UAAP Season 80 after hacking out an impressive four-set victory over the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses, 25-23, 18-25, 28-26 and 26-24, yesterday at the start of second-round women’s volleyball elimination play at the FilOil Flying V Centre.
Banking on solid floor defense and showing tremendous grit all throughout the match, the Lady Warriors are back-to-back winners anew in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) after a long time while adding to the woes of the Tigresses, who have now lost four consecutive games.
Momentum swung left and right in the opening set with the two teams in a tight slug fest by the second technical timeout, 16-15, with UST ahead.
League-leading scorer Sisi Rondina then would wax hot with her attacks to give the Tigresses further room, 19-15.
But just when UST was seemingly on its way to close out the frame, UE steadily clawed its way back, tying the count at 21-all and overcoming a 23-21 deficit thereafter to claim the first set.
Knowing that they allowed the Lady Warriors to pull one from under them, the Tigresses played with more sense of urgency in the second set.
They raced to a 10-4 lead, with Dimdim Pacres and Rondina leading the way, and never wavered the rest of the way to level the match at a set apiece.
Taking cue from their strong showing in the second set, the Tigresses jumped off the gate anew to begin the third, claiming an 8-4 lead by the first break and 16-10 midway into the frame.
Stepping up their level of play on both ends and keeping their focus though, the Lady Warriors made a huge 14-8 run as the set progressed to tie the score at 24-all and extend the frame.
The teams went back and forth in the extension but UST would blink first, giving the set victory to UE.
Regaining the bounce they had in the opening frame, the Lady Warriors rolled to an 8-5 lead in the early goings of the fourth frame, punctuated by the solid floor work of libero Kath Arado.
UE continued to pounce on UST, extending its lead to 16-12 halfway into the set.
Rondina then towed the Tigresses to a 7-3 run to tie the count at 19-all after which went on to build a 24-22 advantage.
The Lady Warriors was undeterred, however, and moved to tie the score at 24-all and extend the set anew.
It was an opportunity they would not let go off as they scored the next two points to shut the door on UST.
Arado was adjudged player of the game after posting 32 excellent receptions and 28 excellent digs to set the tone for the Lady Warriors for the rest of the match. She also had two points.
Meanne Mendrez top-scored for UE with 21 points with skipper Shaya Adorador adding 15 and Judith Abil and Seth Rodriguez adding 10 each.
UST, meanwhile, was led by Rondina with 25 points with Pacres adding 18.
With the win UE is now sporting a 2-6 record, the same card as UST.