By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter
DEFENDING University Athletic Association of the Philippines women’s volleyball champions De La Salle Lady Spikers kept their unblemished record intact in Season 81 with a four-set win over the National University Lady Bulldogs on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
Found themselves against a biting opponent, the Lady Spikers took the challenge head-on and delivered accordingly when needed to end up on top, 25-10, 20-25, 27-25 and 25-22, to stay in top form at 3-0.
La Salle got off to a blistering start with contributions coming from different directions.
It took an 8-2 lead at the onset and sped to a 25-10 rout after the first set.
In the second frame, the Lady Bulldogs showed more fight, keeping the Lady Spikers at bay at 16-13 by the second technical timeout.
La Salle managed to narrow the gap to one point, 16-15, before NU answered with a 6-3 run to create a 22-18 separation.
From there the Lady Bulldogs steadied to clinch the frame and level the match at a set apiece.
Ruffled, the Lady Spikers came out shooting to begin the third, led by rookie Jolina Dela Cruz and veteran Des Cheng, to build an 8-2 lead at the first technical break.
But Audrey Paran and the Lady Bulldogs stayed resilient, fighting to within one, 15-14.
La Salle though survived the onslaught, still up, 16-14, midway.
The Lady Bulldogs kept coming back and took the lead, 18-17.
The two fight it out to a 24-all count.
In the set overdrive it was La Salle which survived, 27-25.
In the fourth set the nip-and-tuck joust continued with the Lady Spikers digging deep to collar a 16-12 lead at the halfway point.
NU towed itself to within two points 24-22, behind rookie Ivy Lacsina.
However, that was the closest it could get as Cheng and the Lady Spikers brought home the win after.
May Luna led La Salle with 14 points with Aduke Ogunsanya adding 13. Cheng and Dela Cruz finished with 12 points each.
Princess Robles, meanwhile, paced NU (1-2) with 18 points while Lacsina and Paran added 16 and 11.
While they are happy with the win, La Salle coach Ramil De Jesus said they could have done better, especially in limiting their service errors.
“We still struggled despite the win, especially in our service. It was frustrating and we have to work on it in our practice,” said Mr. De Jesus post-game.
La Salle next plays against the University of the Philippines (2-1) on March 2 while NU faces off with Adamson University (0-2) on March 3.