Returning veterans Isa Molde, Tots Carlos, and the UP Women’s Volleyball Team bowed down to the defending champions Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Lady Eagles in straight sets, 25-13, 25-17, 25-23, yesterday at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena.
Carlos and Molde topped the team’s scoring with 11 and nine points, respectively, but the 29 errors of the Fighting Maroons led them to their first loss.
State U was off to a cold start after a string of errors resulted in an early 1-8 lead by the Lady Eagles. Ateneo continued to dominate the set with their strong offense while capitalizing UP’s faults, as Kat Tolentino’s drop ball iced the set, 13-25.
It was a neck-and-neck second frame with powerful exchanges of attacks from both squads until the defending champions’ heavy services shaked State U’s reception. Jessma Ramos piled three consecutive points, including two blocks, to spark the UP’s run and tie the game at 14. However, their Katipunan rivals stayed hungry at the net, scoring a 9-3 run to end the set at 17-25.
UP’s faulty defense and erratic offense boosted Ateneo’s firepower to earn a 4-11 lead in the third set. Series of points from both squads caused momentum switches until the Lady Eagles pulled away, 10-17.
The Isa-Tots combo powered the team’s offense to stop the bleeding and cut the deficit to one, 21-22. Maroon rookie Euricka Eslapor’s service error and veteran eagle Tolentino’s kill block put the Lady Eagles to match point, 21-24.
The Fighting Maroons managed to save two match points but Rem Cailing’s service fault gave the win to the ladies in blue, 23-25.
The Fighting Maroons’ 29 errors proved to be costly to their season-opener.
UP’s faulty reception limited the squad’s attack points to only 24 as compared to Ateneo’s 37.
Team captain Roselyn Rosier, who remained scoreless in UP’s first outing, has been expecting these possible challenges for the team.
“I think [magiging challenge namin ay] rookie jitters especially we haven’t played together outside. We haven’t played pre-league or league before the season so this is gonna be our official first game together outside, where everyone can see us,” she shared in a pre-season interview.
The Fighting Maroons will try to bounce back against the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors on March 7, 10:30am, at the MOA Arena.