NU reclaims UAAP women’s volleyball crown

SunStar Volleyball
SunStar Volleyball

The National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs are back on top of the UAAP throne in women’s volleyball as they thwarted the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Golden Tigresses in Game 2 of the Finals, 25-23, 23-25, 27-25, 25-16, to win the crown in the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Volleyball Tournament on May 15, 2024, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

With more than 22,000 people on hand to witness the titanic clash, Alyssa Solomon and Bella Belen gave NU fans a lot to cheer for as they made big plays to push the Lady Bulldogs to the top. This triumph by the women’s team also complimented the title run of the men’s squad for a rare collegiate golden double, a feat last achieved by Ateneo de Manila University in Season 77.

Head coach Norman Miguel shared that their team’s journey to redemption was not easy but rather filled with bumps.

“Hindi madali yung journey. Napakahirap. Lahat ng nakalaban namin sobrang magagaling na teams. May mga losses, iniisip namin anong reasons pero dahil buo yung kagustuhan po namin na maredeem yung title ngayon kaya pinagtrabahuhan talaga,” said Miguel, who returned as head coach of the team during the off-season while Karl Dimaculangan, who steered NU back in Season 84, slid down to lead deputy.

Xyza Gula shone for UST in the second set, nailing the winning point to equalize, 25-23.

But the Lady Bulldogs showcased their championship composure in the face of pressure in the third, as they did not blink even when UST reached set point, 24-23.

Two-time MVP Bella Belen responded with a kill to extend the set, but Gula put the Tigresses back on top with a power tip. Belen, though, drilled back-to-back points while Sheena Toring denied Gula at the net for the 27-25 victory for NU.

Belen and Solomon kept the pressure on their opponents in the fourth set to pave the way for the dominant win in the fourth set that capped off their championship run.

Solomon, named the Finals MVP, had 27 points on 20-of-37 kills, four blocks, and three service aces in this game.

Belen backed her up with 19 points, 11 digs, and nine receptions, while Vange Alinsug and Toring got 13 and 10 points, respectively./ JNP

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