NCAA Season 93: women's volleyball preview
A quick look at the NCAA Season 93 women's volleyball teams.
Exciting volleyball action starts early this year as NCAA opens its 93rd season on Thursday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Arellano University will try to retain its women’s crown against a field filled with squad’s raring to sit on the throne.
Let’s take a quick peek at the competing teams.
MAPUA UNIVERSITY LADY CARDINALS
Winless last year, can Mapua University finally put a stop on their skid?
Season 92 record: 0-9
Key players: Danielle Ramilo, Shaira Hermano, Katrina Racelis, Dianne Latayan
This team has nowhere to go but up after a forgettable season last year.
The Lady Cardinals lost four of their games in straight sets, three in four frames and a couple of matches in five.
Mapua’s last victory was against Letran in five sets back in Season 91 (January 7, 2016).
EMILIO AGUINALDO COLLEGE LADY GENERALS
Emilio Aguinaldo College needs to be consistent to add more Ws in their record this season.
Season 92 record: 1-8
Players to watch: Iona Yongco and Yvette Tongco
EAC’s lone win last season came at the expense of Mapua in straight sets before closing their campaign with a five-set loss against Letran.
LETRAN LADY KNIGHTS
Can Letran contend for a spot in the Final Four this year?
Season 92 record: 2-7
Titles: 8 (last title: 1999)
Players to watch: Glayssa Faith Torres and Jaymeleene Parin
Letran finished at eighth spot last year.
They won only two games, against Mapua and EAC, but gave Lyceum, College of St. Benilde and San Sebastian College a scare before bowing down to these powerhouse teams in five sets.
JOSE RIZAL U LADY BOMBERS
Shola Alvarez is expected to carry Jose Rizal University on her shoulders but will need to get support from her teammates.
Season 92 record: 3-6
Players to watch: Shola Alvarez, Dolly Versoza, Karen Montojo (Season 92 Best Opposite Spiker)
JRU is a young and vertically challenged team, mostly banking on Shola Alvarez for point production.
The Lady Bombers joined the PVL’s Collegiate Conference during the offseason but lost all of their five matches.
LYCEUM OF THE PHILIPPINES U LADY PIRATES
Lyeum of the Philippines University is considered as a darkhorse this season.
Season 92 record: 5-4
Players to watch: Cherilyn Sindayen, Christine Miralles, Bien Juanillo
An intact and veteran-laden team.
But will the Lady Pirates’ exposure in the PVL Collegiate Conference be enough for them to contend for a spot in the Final Four?
UNIVERSITY OF PERPETUAL HELP LADY ALTAS
Veteran Lourdes Clemente will be one of Perpetual Help's vital cogs in their campaign to reclaim the throne.
Season 92 record: 5-4
Titles: 3 (last title: 2014)
Players to watch: Lourdes Clemente, Necelle Gual, Marijo Medalla
Former CSB coach Macky Carino replaced long-time mentor Sammy Acaylar but the Lady Altas lost a solid middle in Coleen Bravo and hitter Jamela Suyat.
After its three-peat (2012-14), Perpetual has yet to return to the Finals.
SAN BEDA COLLEGE LADY RED SPIKERS
All eyes will be on Cesca Racraquin when San Beda College makes a run for the crown.
Season 92 record: 6-3
Players to watch: Cesca Racraquin, Satrianni Espiritu, Nieza and Jiezela Viray
Season 92 Rookie of the Year Cesca Racraquin will be the go-to guy of the Lady Red Spikers, who made it into the stepladder semis last year.
SBC participated in the PVL Collegiate Conference while Racraquin had good stints in the PVL Reinforced and Open conferences for Creamline.
COLLEGE OF ST. BENILDE LADY BLAZERS
Ranya Musa (left) and Rachel Austero are the players to watch for a beefed up College of St. Benilde.
Season 92 record: 6-3
Titles: 1 (2016)
Players to watch: Ranya Musa, Rachel Austero, Maritess Pablo, Felicia Cui
Expectations are high for this team with the arrival of transferees Maritess Pablo (NU) and Felicia Cui (Ateneo) to help Rachel Austero and graduating player Ranya Musa.
Leadership will be a tough challenge for this team after the departure of ace scorer Jeanette Panaga as well as adapting to a new system under interim head coach Arnold Laniog, who replaced Macky Carino.
SAN SEBASTIAN COLLEGE LADY STAGS
San Sebastian College is looking at a rough and bumpy road ahead this season.
Season 92 record: 9-0 elims, defeated thrice in the Finals
Titles: 23 (last title: 2011)
Players to watch: Joyce Sta. Rita, Alyssa Eroa, Nikka Dalisay
The most-decorated volleyball program in the NCAA will be facing its toughest season yet.
If losing scorers three-time Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones and Kat Villegas weren’t enough, head coach Roger Goreyab will have at his disposal a very short rotation on nine players.
But his available players could even go down entering the season after Julie Anne Tiangco suffered a knee injury recently. Scarcity of players even forced SSC-R to field a swimmer to fill in the required minimun of nine players to be able to participate in the tournament.
ARELLANO UNIVERSITY LADY CHIEFS
Who will stop Arellano University from its back-to-back bid?
Season 92 record: 8-1, won thrice in a row in the Finals
Titles: 2 (last title: 2017)
Players to watch: Jovielyn Prado, Regine Arocha, Andrea Marzan
The Lady Chiefs lost Rialen Sante and veteran libero Eunice Galang, who both graduated, after last season but will still parade a grizzled core.
Fueled by their stints in the PVL including a third place finish in the Collegiate League at the expense of UAAP team Adamson University, Arellano U is expected to make a return trip into the Finals.
With SSC-R, the only team to defeat the Obet Javier-mentored squad last year, weakened after the departure of Soltones, the only question now is who will stop the Lady Chiefs’ impending rampage?
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