Lady Chiefs back on the throne in sweep of Lady Stags
Arellano University won its second title in three years.
Arellano University gave San Sebastian College a major heartbreak on Valentine’s Day to hoist its second title in three years completing a 92nd NCAA women’s volleyball Finals sweep of the Lady Stags, 25-15, 22-25, 25-23, 25-16, Tuesday at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.
Jovielyn Prado, Andrea Marzan, Regine Arocha, Mary Anne Esguerra and graduating player Rialen Sante became the sweethearts of the Lady Chiefs faithful, willing the Legarda-based squad to the title they last held in Season 91.
"Napakalaki sa amin ito kasi 'yung mga bata, pinaghirapan talaga namin ang taon na ito," said AU coach Obet Javier, whose squad lost its season opener in five sets against SSC-R before winning 12 straight to capture the title. "Noong first round, natalo kami sa Baste kaya nag-set kami ng goal na hindi na dapat mangyari ito. Nangyari naman."
Finals Most Valuable Player Prado had 14 points to lead the Lady Chiefs. Sante unleashed 12 attacks and got a pair of aces ior 14 points while Marzan got 11 kills in her total of 14 markers for AU, which slammed 55 attacks.
Rhea Ramirez dished out 56 excellent sets for the Lady Chiefs.
Ahead, 2-1, in the match, Arellano U opened their 8-7 advantage to 16-10 in the fourth set to bury the Lady Stags, who closed their season with three straight losses after completing a 9-game sweep of the elimination round that propelled them outright to the Finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage.
Three-time Season MVP Grethcel Soltones gave SSC-R a fighting chance in the fourth frame scoring three straight points to cut their deficit to 18-14.
Soltones also tried to carry her team in the third set with the match tied at 1-1. The graduating hitter scored back-to-back hits to tie the frame at 23 but Prado’s attack and an ace by Marzan closed the set for the Lady Chiefs.
The Lady Chiefs pulled off a shocker to open the title series, 25-18, 25-20, 25-16, last week before outlasting reigning three-time league Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones, who scored 26 point, and the Lady Stags to walk away with a 18-25, 25-16, 25-11, 26-28, 15-13, victory Friday.
It was a sorry end for Soltones’ collegiate career, taking the Recto-based squad to four championship appearances but falling short each time to claiming the crown.
Soltones scored all her 25 points from kills, Katherine Villegas had 10 while Dangie Encarnacion finished with nine pointd for SSC-R, which committed 30 errors - a total of 111 the whole series - and for the first time on three games scored its one and only kill block.
SSC-R also lost in four games in the Finals last year against College of St. Benilde while also armed with a thrice-to-beat advantage.
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