By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter
VOLLEYBALL season at the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) kicks off on Feb. 16 and in connection with it the league recently released the first-round schedule for Season 81.
Opening things at 2 p.m. in women’s play are the University of the Philippines Lady Fighting Maroons and University of the East Lady Warriors at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
UP finished joint fifth in Season 80 with a 6-8 record and narrowly missed the Final Four. It has made significant strides in the offseason, doing well in the various tournaments it competed in, leaving many looking at the Lady Maroons as one of the teams to contend with in Season 81.
The Lady Warriors, meanwhile, wound up last in Season 80 with a 2-12 record and will try to improve on it armed with the lessons it got last year.
Also playing on opening day at 4 p.m. are the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws and National University Lady Bulldogs, who made it to the Final Four last year as the second and fourth seeds.
Day Two of the new season on Feb. 17, meanwhile, will be headlined by the rivalry game at 4 p.m. between defending champions De La Salle Lady Spikers and the Ateneo Lady Eagles at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Both teams are heading into the match with a new-look roster after key departures following their respective campaigns last season.
Preceding the contest at 2 p.m. is the battle between the Adamson Lady Falcons and University of Santo Tomas Golden Tigresses.
Season 80 Final Four protagonists FEU and Ateneo reengage on Feb. 24 while NU and La Salle play in their own rematch on Feb. 27. FEU and La Salle defeated their opponents last year to set up their championship series.
The Lady Spikers face the Lady Tamaraws in a finals rematch on March. 16.
University Belt rivals UST and FEU collide on March 2 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with the “Battle of Katipunan” between Ateneo and UP happening on March 10.
The “avian war” of Adamson and Ateneo, meanwhile, soars on March 13 at FilOil.
The first round of UAAP women’s volleyball action ends on March 17 at FilOil with the Lady Tigresses facing off with the Lady Warriors in the opening game at 2 p.m. and the Lady Maroons clashing with the Lady Falcons at 4 p.m.