MANILA, Philippines -- American spiker Lindsay Stalzer is not ruling out a return to the Philippines next year, after her latest stint with F2 Logistics ended earlier than she would have liked.
The Cargo Movers failed to qualify for the semifinals of the 2022 Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Reinforced Conference, with their 4-4 record only good for fifth place. They were the lone team to beat top-seed Creamline in the preliminary round, but they also suffered costly defeats to Akari and Cignal HD.
Stalzer still made sure that they would end the conference on a winning note, contributing 22 points in a 25-16, 25-22, 27-25 sweep of semis-bound PetroGazz on Tuesday evening.
"[It] feels awesome to finally get a win again and to have that good feeling. We've been kind of in a slump for a little while now, and haven't really been playing the F2 way," said Stalzer, who had 19 kills, two blocks, and an ace in the win.
"I think we finally were able to do that tonight, and it's always great to finish on a win, on a high note," she added.
Still, Stalzer can't deny that the conference was disappointing for the Cargo Movers. Armed with a powerhouse roster, they were tipped to contend for the championship but couldn't build on their impressive five-set win against the Cool Smashers.
The American remains at a loss to explain how their campaign "unraveled," though she noted that they endured plenty of challenges -- including injuries and changes to their schedule. Filipino-American spiker Kalei Mau, in particular, did not play at her best due to some nagging issues.
"A lot of things are out of our control, and it's… yeah, it's sayang. Big, big sayang," said Stalzer.
Asked about her future, Stalzer couldn't answer with certainty. The American has been playing overseas since 2007; her first stint in the Philippines was with the Cignal HD Spikers in 2014.
Since then, she has played for Foton and Petron before making a highly-publicized move to F2 Logistics in 2019. Along the way, she has become one of the most accomplished imports in the country, winning three championships in the now-defunct Philippine Superliga.
"I'll probably continue to play at least until the spring somewhere else. I don't know exactly where, but working on it," said Stalzer, who also had stints with Athletes Unlimited in the United States.
As for a comeback in the PVL, she said: "I have no idea. We will see."
Now 38 years old, Stalzer knows that retirement is also an option for her. "I always say this should be my last year, but I can't seem to quit. Volleyball is just part of my DNA now, I guess," she said.
If this stint with F2 Logistics was her last in the Philippines, Stalzer can take some comfort in knowing that she has left quite the legacy in the local volleyball scene.
"I wanted to leave a legacy of just excellence, you know. I want to be known as the import that can always get to the final. She lifts up her team and helps them get to the final every time, she's dependable, she's a team player. She works super hard, and just really has embraced everything about the Philippines," an emotional Stalzer said.
"The fans have been amazing to me, that's a big reason why I keep coming back. So yeah, I hope I leave a small bright spot in the fans' hearts, and all the people that I've played with and played under," she added.