MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) National University (NU) made a statement on Tuesday, sweeping De La Salle University to stay unbeaten in the UAAP Season 84 women's volleyball tournament.
The Lady Bulldogs racked up a third win in a row by taking down La Salle, 25-22, 25-15, 25-19, in front of a good weekday crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena.
This was the first loss of the tournament for the Lady Spikers after winning their first two assignments.
"Nag-stick lang kami sa game plan," said NU coach Karl Dimaculangan. "'Yung mga bata, na-execute nila ng maayos 'yung game plan at na-enjoy lang 'yung game."
It was a comprehensive victory for the Lady Bulldogs. They had a 40-22 advantage in kill,s thanks to playmaker Camille Lamina, who tallied 15 excellent sets. As a team, NU had 26 excellent receptions out of 50 attempts, with libero Jen Nierva accounting for 16.
Rookie spiker Michaela Belen tallied 13 points, including four aces, while Alyssa Solomon had 14 points including 10 kills and three aces. Skipper Princess Robles contributed 12 points including nine kills and two blocks.
"In-execute lang po namin ang pinag-aralan po namin sa La Salle," said Belen, who stressed that NU cannot be satisfied with their performance after giving away 26 points on unforced errors.
A youthful NU team displayed their poise in the opening frame, where they fended off the Lady Spikers who came to within one point, 22-21.
A service error by Julia Coronel and an ace by Belen put the Lady Bulldogs at set point, 24-22, before Fifi Sharma saved a point thanks to a quick hit. But rookie Alleiah Malaluan sent her next serve to the net, gifting the winning point to NU.
The Lady Bulldogs rode the momentum of that win in the second frame, where they overhauled an early three-point deficit to grab the comfortable victory.
In Set 3, NU built a five-point cushion, 20-15, after a crosscourt hit by Robles and a block by Sheena Toring on Malaluan. Despite the best efforts of Jolina dela Cruz, the Lady Spikers were unable to make up the difference.
Malaluan was the lone player in double-digits for La Salle, with 10 points. Dela Cruz was limited to eight markers.
The Lady Spikers struggled with their reception, giving up 10 aces to NU, while playmaker Marrione Alba was limited to eight excellent sets.