Back on Top. La Salle dethrones NU to reclaim UAAP Women’s Volleyball title

After settling for second place last season, De La Salle University is back on top of UAAP women’s volleyball.

The Lady Spikers made an incredible comeback from being two sets down to win the UAAP Season 85 championship in an epic Game 2 against National University, with a score of 19-25, 23-25, 25-15, 25-17, 15-10, in front of 20,514 fans at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday night.

This victory marks De La Salle’s first title since Season 80 and their 12th overall.

“Tyinaga ng mga bata. Kahit pa sabihing 5 sets, mas masarap manalo nang pinaghirapan mo,” said assistant coach Noel Orcullo.

With the Lady Bulldogs on the verge of forcing Game 3 after winning the first two sets, De La Salle came alive in the third set with a convincing 25-15 win.

The Lady Spikers continued their momentum in the fourth set, pulling away from a 10-8 count to establish a commanding 20-13 lead, ultimately winning the set 25-17 and forcing a fifth set.

In the decisive fifth set, De La Salle quickly took a 5-1 lead, but NU fought back with Alyssa Solomon’s impressive performance, tying the score at 7-all.

However, the Lady Spikers regained control and, leading 10-9, sealed the victory with three consecutive points, including back-to-back blocks by Thea Gagate on Mhicaela Belen and Solomon.

Leiah Malaluan then delivered a crosscourt kill to secure match point at 14-9. Although Solomon managed to score one more point for the Lady Bulldogs, Gagate fired anew to secure the win.

Finals MVP Mars Alba demonstrated her playmaking skills with 16 excellent sets, in addition to contributing three points, while orchestrating the offense for De La Salle.

Rookie MVP Angel Canino led the balanced attack with 19 points, including 12 spikes, six aces, and a block, while Thea Gagate contributed 17 points through 12 attacks and five blocks. Shevana Laput added 12 points, while Fifi Sharma had 11.

Maicah Larroza and Leiah Malaluan provided a spark in the fourth and fifth sets, respectively, with four and three points.

Despite Alyssa Solomon’s remarkable performance of 34 points, including 31-of-62 spikes and three aces, she lacked support from her teammates.

Mhicaela Belen was limited to just 11 points on 10-of-40 attacks, while Vange Alinsug only contributed seven points.

Furthermore, the absence of Sheena Toring, who was unable to play due to a partial ACL tear in her left knee, added to NU’s challenges.

The Lady Spikers narrowly escaped with a win in Game 1 last Sunday, with a score of 18-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13.

De La Salle remained undefeated against NU in all four games this season, reversing the outcome from last year when the Lady Bulldogs were the ones who didn’t lose a match against the Lady Spikers.