Now that’s what you call improving.
The Lady Spikers shut out UST in straight sets, 25-20, 25-22 25-13 as they continue on their mission to retain the womens volleyball championship. In today’s game, they effectively shut down UST’s offense with great net blocking and outstanding floor coverage. The Lady Spikers took the best UST could dish out in the first 2 sets, before completely dominating last year’s runner up team in the 3rd set. So effective was the blocking that UST could not get any consistent scoring from its main guns Banaticla, Ortiz, and Caballejo, who were all closely marked and consistently blocked whenever they would try to power their spikes into the DLSU side. UST resorted to a high risk tactic – powering their serves in an attempt to get quick points, but the move also gifted our team with some free points when the serves misfired.
The Lady Spikers allowed UST to take early leads in the first and second sets, then pulled ahead by the second technical timeout in both sets to win with a bit to spare. At no time was UST able to threaten to take any set, as our team clamped down on defense, muzzling any attempt by UST to gain momentum. In the 3rd set, the Lady Spikers then turned on the gas at the start, taking an early lead to get to 8, then building a double digit lead which was never threatened. The demoralized UST team just collapsed after that, scoring just 13 points.
Our offense was on track, with Esperanza effectively varying her sets to keep the attacks coming from different players, and UST could not keep tabs on all of them. Cha Cruz was steady, scored when needed, and had some great digs. Marano and Gumabao were very effective in their blocks, and contributed on offense as well. Galang (player of the game) and Reyes were also instrumental with their 2-way games. One area which could do with a bit more work is the serve. In the first and second sets, the team gave away at least 10 points on errant serves, perhaps due to jitters, but they steadied themselves from the middle of the second set onward.
The team appears to have taken Coach Ramil’s challenge at the end of the first round to heart – prepare for teams that gave them a hard time in the first round. So far, so good. No team has taken a set in the second round; the 2 teams that really threatened in 5 sets, FEU and UST, succumbed meekly in straight sets. Adamson failed to repeat its 1st round feat of taking a set.
At 11 wins, there are only UP, NU, and ADMU. Of the 3, only ADMU was successful in taking a set. Let’s see how they fare on Feb 12.