Lady Bulldogs snap Tigresses’ 8-game winning streak

Photo from UAAP Media

The UST Golden Tigresses saw their immaculate record tarnished on Sunday, March 24, as they suffered their first defeat in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament at the hands of the NU Lady Bulldogs in four nail-biting sets, 25-23, 25-17, 25-21, 25-20, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The victory allowed NU to snap UST’s eight-game winning streak and to avenge its season-opener sweep-loss on Feb. 18.

The Lady Bulldogs started strong with a dominant 4-0 lead spearheaded by Chamcham Maaya’s two aces.

UST refused to go down without a fight as Xyza Gula, coming off the bench, sparked a mini-rally with a crosscourt kill and an ace to narrow the gap, 8-7.

The teams traded blows during the tense first set until they reached a 22-all deadlock. Tigress lefty Reg Jurado stepped up for UST by scoring three crucial attack points to win the frame, 25-23.

After a 5-5 tie in the second salvo, NU unleashed a run, including a crucial off-the-block kill by NU’s Bella Belen, allowing her team to snatch the lead 15-10.

Looking to take the edge, the Lady Bulldogs mounted a 6-3 advantage to take the set, 25-17.

The Tigresses and the Lady Bulldogs were strapped in another tight affair in the third set until they reached a deadlock, 16-all. But NU’s balancing of its defense and offense, led by power spikers Vange Alinsug and Belen proved too much for UST, allowing the Bustillos-based squad to secure the frame, 25-21.

UST sought to bounce back in the fourth frame, with Jurado punching in two straight kills to close the gap to 13-11. However, the experience of last season’s runner-ups shone through as NU regained control and held on to its momentum for the win.

Nailing the coffin of the first team they lost to this season, NU opposite hitter Alyssa Solomon closed out the match with a drop kill and an ace, 25-20.

Despite the loss, UST remains the best in the league with an 8-1 win-loss card, while NU improved to 7-2.

Belen was named player of the game after steering the Lady Bulldogs to triumph with 24 points on 21 attacks, two blocks and an ace. Alinsug contributed 14 kills, a block and three aces, while Solomon chalked up 17 markers.

Rookie hotshot Angge Poyos paced UST with 18 attacks, while Jurado added 11 attacks. Meanwhile, middle blocker Em Banagua was seen hobbling on one leg with an apparent left knee injury during the fourth set.

The rookie-laden Tigresses will try to recover from their first blemish when they skirmish with the Adamson Lady Falcons at the Mall of Asia Arena on April 3. F

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