Lady Stags sweep 9-game elims for outright Finals seat
Mark Escarlote on Jan 10, 2016 03:16 PM
Grethcel Soltones dropped 32 points to help San Sebastian complete an elimination round sweep to advance outright in the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage.
San Sebastian barged straight to the championship round with a thrice-to-beat advantage after completing a clean sweep of the 91st NCAA women’s volleyball eliminations Sunday at The Arena in San Juan.
Reigning Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones once again showcased her scoring prowess with a monster performance in leading the Lady Stags against the College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers, 25-20, 22-25, 25-17, 25-18 for their ninth straight victory that sent the next three teams that qualified to the next round to a knockout stepladder semifinals.
The power-spiking Soltones nailed her second-best scoring output of the season with 32 points – one hit short of her total markers in a four-set win against the defending champion Arellano University last month. Soltones, a national team standout from Catmon, Cebu, blasted 24 of SSC-R’s total of 51 attacks, was sharp at the service line with six aces while adding two block kills for the Lady Stags.
Libero Alyssa Eroa complemented Soltones’ offensive effort with superb floor defense with 21 excellent digs and eight perfect receptions. Soltones added seven digs and 10 excellent receptions.
Even with the win, SSC-R head coach Roger Gorayeb was far from impressed with his team’s performance. He particularly pointed out the 32 points they gave away on errors.
“Nanalo kami ngayon pero hindi kami naglaro ng matalino. Maraming desisyon ng mga bata na parang pang-rookie pero nagpapasalamat pa rin ako kasi ‘yung Benilde maganda rin ang nilaro,” he said.
The Lady Stags sent the Lady Blazers to their third loss in nine games in a match that was originally scheduled last December 14 but was postponed due to Typhoon Nona.
CSB, which was led by Jeannette Panaga with 17 points, will take on Perpetual Help (7-2) on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. at the start of the semis that will air live at ABS-CBN Sports+Action Channel 23, ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD Channel 166 while those on the go can still watch and be updated via livestream at sports.abs-cbn.com/livestream/ncaa.
The winner of the knockout match will take on the no. 2 seed Lady Chiefs (8-1) in another winner-take-all clash to determine which squad will challenge the Lady Stags for the crown.
“Dun sa tatlong papasok ay good luck na lang din sa amin lahat dito sa season ng NCAA. Even for us, we are not yet assured of the championship,” Gorayeb said. “I cannot talk of the championship hangga’t hindi nag-uumpisa kasi hindi pa namin alam ang kalaban namin.”
Meanwhile, the Lady Altas routed Letran (0-9), 25-12, 25-23, 25-21, to go into the Final Four with a 7-2 slate.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles