By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter
THE Ateneo Lady Eagles soared to their third straight win in Season 81 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines with a shutout victory over the University of the East Lady Warriors, 25-15, 25-21 and 25-16, on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Angled to have a convincing win for a change, the Katipunan-based volleybelles delivered accordingly, working at the get-go and never allowing the Lady Warriors to get their game going on their way to the victory that improved them to 3-1 for the season and a share of the lead in the standings with defending champ De La Salle University and University of the Philippines.
Ateneo sprinted to an 8-2 count at the start of the opening frame and finished the set in just 22 minutes.
In the second frame, the Lady Eagles continued to dominate, led by Maddie Madayag and Kat Tolentino, staying ahead, 16-10, midway.
But UE would fashion a fight back on the lead of leading scorer Judith Abil and Mean Mendrez.
Ateneo though would not relinquish the advantage as it closed out strong to take the set and the commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
Got the momentum on their side, the Lady Eagles sustained their wind in the third despite a stiffer challenge from the Lady Warriors.
Ateneo held an 8-7 lead by the first technical knockout, extending it to 16-12 at the halfway point.
From there it was all Ateneo as it outscored UE, 9-4, the rest of the way for the match.
Tolentino top-scored for the Lady Eagles with 13 points with Madayag adding 11.
Captain Bea De Leon wiggled out of her slump to score eight points. Jules Samonte also had eight markers for Ateneo.
UE, meanwhile, was led by Abil’s 14 with Mendrez finishing with nine.
“I credit my players because I asked them to win this game convincingly for we are having it tough in our previous matches. And they delivered,” said Ateneo coach Oliver Almandro postgame.
“But this is not it for us. We still have to work more on our fundamentals and stay consistent,” he added.
Winning a third straight game, De Leon said the mindset would still remain for them.
“We’ll still take it one game at a time. It’s a competitive field and every team brings it every time so you can’t think too far ahead,” she said.
Next for Ateneo is a marquee match with UP on March 10 while UE faces off with Far Eastern University on March 6.