MANILA, Philippines -- A sweep of the first round of the UAAP Season 84 women's volleyball tournament is "not the goal" for National University (NU), reminds libero Jennifer Nierva as the Lady Bulldogs gear up for tougher matches ahead.
NU won all seven of its matches in the first round, dropping just two sets along the way. The Lady Bulldogs have gotten superb contributions from rookies like Michaela Belen and Alyssa Solomon, while skipper Princess Robles has not missed a beat despite sitting out in UAAP Season 82.
Nierva, a veteran of the team and the UAAP's leading receiver after the first round, is thrilled that their hard work is translating to victories but quickly warned her team that they have yet to really accomplish anything.
"I'm very happy kasi nag-pay off 'yung pinag-trabahuhan ng bawat isa. But at the same time, we can't be complacent," said Nierva, who has registered a 50% receiving efficiency through seven matches.
"This is not the goal," she stressed of their 7-0 record. "Hindi i-sweep 'yung first round, but to really step into the championship."
After completing a first round sweep by dismissing University of the Philippines in straight sets, Nierva said the team must put their achievement behind them.
"Kailangan mabura na sa isip 'yung 7-0," she said. "Kasi mas magiging eager 'yung kalaban na talunin kami. Nakita na nila kung paano kami maglaro, so pagalingan na 'to sa second round. Kailangan, talagang mas double time din, kung paano mag-prepare for the second round."
Despite comfortably winning most of their matches in round 1 -- NU only lost sets to Ateneo de Manila University and the University of Santo Tomas (UST) -- the Lady Bulldogs preached the need for improvement. Their primary concern at this point is their unforced errors, as the Lady Bulldogs have a tendency to give away free points.
Against UST, their 38 unforced errors helped the Golden Tigresses push the match to a fourth set.
"There's still a lot of things to improve on, to work on, so balik lang din sa ensayo," said Nierva.
"'Yung ibang team, marami ng adjustments na nangyari," noted NU coach Karl Dimaculangan. "May familiarity sa opponents, so kinakailangan namin mas mag-prepare pa."
The Lady Bulldogs will play De La Salle University on Thursday. They swept La Salle, 25-22, 25-15, 25-19, when they played in the first round.