DOC VOLLEYBALL: How the Lady Spikers silenced the Lady Bulldogs’ bark
After coming from behind the first two sets, the Lady Spikers took control from the start of Set 3 to sweep the Lady BulldogsWith both teams’ confidence on a high coming off wins to finish the first round, both the NU Lady Bulldogs and DLSU Lady Spikers were on a mission to claim a statement win to further enhance their claim of the top spot this season.
For most of the match, NU started strong, relying heavily on middle attacks that were executed on a clean pass. Well placed serves by the Lady Bulldogs also enabled them to limit the middles of DLSU.
However, costly errors off services and attacks towards the end of the set proved to be the problem for the first round top seed.
On the other hand, the Lady Spikers showed the heart of a champion as they made quick adjustments despite trailing early on. Switching on their signature serves at the most crucial moments coupled with consistent offense from the wings on transition more than made up for their lack of their quintessential output from the middle to pull off comebacks and eventually claim the match.
Set 1: DLSU 27 - NU 25
The Lady Bulldogs came out strong to exert an early dominance over the Lady Spikers at the start of the first set. The Lady Spikers were not with their usual aggressiveness from the service line as their serves were high, slow, and dropping on an easy zone 6 location. The Bulldogs capitalized with a couple of first point conversion kills off the quick care of Jaja Santiago and Risa Sato. In line with that, NU played a better serving game as they targeted zone 1 primarily to disable DLSU’s middles and force the latter to just score a couple of hits from the left wing. NU continued with such strategy to establish a 21-14 lead later on.
The momentum started to shift when DLSU setter Michelle Cobb started serving into the seams between zone 1 and 6 as well as between zone 5 and 6 to limit the middles of NU. DLSU’s blocking came about as they were able to shut down NU’s left wing off transition rallies.
Throughout the set, NU’s Jasmine Nabor successfully utilized the middles as seven out of ten attacks came from the quick, but was not able to get any point off the left wing especially during the latter part.
On the other hand, Cobb relied heavily on the left wing with four out of seven attacks with a glaring one point only off the quick. Though it seemed that NU was off to claim the set, a series of late game errors off serves and attack coupled with well-timed aces and better transition offense by DLSU gave the Lady Spikers the set at 27-25.
Set 2: DLSU 27 - NU 25
The second set opened in similar fashion as the Lady Bulldogs were once again on an early rampage. Still serving primarily to zone 5, NU limited DLSU to just one successful attack each from the middle and open early on. Compared to the first set though, NU was able to make quick first point conversions from the left wing to prevent DLSU from making consecutive points.
Trailing 10-16 midway, the Lady Spikers adjusted by starting to serve aggressively to zone 5 initiated by Cobb and Desiree Cheng. DLSU also played better first point conversion as Cobb utilized the middles on the instance that NU puts the serve to zone 6. A couple of well-placed serves and an ace by Queen Spiker Majoy Baron actually gave DLSU the 21-19 lead towards the end.
Queen Bulldog Jaja Santiago was quick to answer with three consecutive serves of her own but eventually committed a costly service error towards the end. Despite not being able to set up the middle due to NU’s consistent targeting of zone 5, Cobb utilized Kim Dy from the right wing to rack in the points for DLSU while Cheng brought in clutch points from the left wing to eventually snatch the second set.
Throughout the set, NU managed to limit DLSU’s middle output to only three points with consistent zone 5 serving, but the combined effort of Cheng and Dy from the wings towards the end coupled with late game errors from NU enabled the Lady Spikers to snatch the second set.
Set 3: DLSU 25 - NU 16
The Lady Spikers were off to a better start in the third set as they showed their usual aggressiveness in serving zone 5 and zone 1. DLSU was able to prevent NU from making any clean attacks early on except for one quick hit from the middle.
On the other hand, the Lady Bulldogs maintained target on zone 5 as well, but the Lady Spikers adjusted by then to make first point conversions even from a zone 5 pass. DLSU maintained pressure from the serve to make a 15-9 lead midway.
Not to be left behind completely, NU made a run of their own care of services from Nabor to limit the DLSU offensive while scoring in the transition with quick attacks from Santiago.
The Lady Bulldogs’ momentum was cut short however when Kim Dy blasted away from the service line with fast and flat floaters that proved to much for NU’s passing. Her series of well-placed floaters eliminated NU’s quickers from the equation enabling DLSU’s blockers to force errors out of the Lady Bulldogs’ wings. The Lady Spikers continued to capitalize on the dip in NU’s passing efficiency to eventually claim the match and exact their revenge for their first round loss.