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Lady Cards lanced by charged Lady Knights, 0-3

Article by: Maurine Claire F. Kim
Graphics by: Cassius Klai C. Francisco and Kristin Clarisse H. Mateo

The Mapúa Lady Cardinals met another setback in the elimination round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Season 97 Women’s Volleyball Tournament after losing in their clash against the charged Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSJL) Lady Knights, 17-25, 21-25, 18-25, last July 6, at the Paco Arena.

A rotational error at the start of the game dealt a hit to the Lady Cardinals that snowballed into an early lead for the Lady Knights. Tending to the holes in their offense, Middle Blocker Alyanna Nicole Ong performed a smooth attack that the opponents failed to overcome. However, as the first frame of the game progressed, the red and gold team slowly lost control of the court. The Lady Cards gave their Intramuros rivals up to a seven-point advantage mid-set.

Setter Gwen Espiritu subbed in as the team playmaker and enabled Wing Spiker Therese Manalo and Queen Cardinal Jonina Mae Fernandez to minimize the lag. While Ong was able to handle the Cardinals’ net defense, the holes in their floor defense resulted in unexpected 1-2 plays in favor of the white and blue jerseys. By the end of the first set, the Mapúa volleyers granted the Lady Knights a win, 17-25.

As the Lady Cards struggled to connect the first pass, the Lady Knights took it as an advantage by targeting the yellow jersey hitters as they rotated to the back row, but Manalo’s sharp hit led to a point for the home team, followed by Ong’s retaliation that put another point through. Mapúa’s offensive troika consisting of Setter Trixie Gojol, Wing Spiker Carla Jean Gaudan, and Manalo were unable to get kills and relied on missed receives of their Muralla neighbors.

Meanwhile, the Lady Cards were troubled with wipes orchestrated by the white and blue jerseys. The red and yellow jerseys were able to trim the lead during a 3-0 run that led to a tie, but their score was pegged at 21 as the Lady Knights bagged 25, leading to a four-point deficit by the end of the second set.

Hoping to end Letran’s streak, Lady Cardinals Head Coach Clarence Esteban varied the starting players for the third portion of the game as Opposite Spiker Raina Vergino took over for Gaudan. Open Spiker Chenie Batac was also subbed in during the third frame and was able to score two points, including an offhand tip from a stray set. Still unable to put a halt to the momentum the templars created, the Lady Cardinals lost the third set and were swept by the other Intramuros-based squad, 18-25.

Lady Cards’ Best Scorer Fernandez listed nine points while trailing behind closely are Manalo and Ong with seven individual markers. MU’s lack in setting up offenses and receiving attacks paved the way for Letran to garner 47 attacks to Mapúa’s 28.

As for the Lady Knights, Julienne Castro led with 19 points, while Chamberlaine Cunada and Shereena Urmeneta contributed 14 and 11 points, respectively. Despite dropping down to a 4-4 win-loss record, the Mapúa Lady Cardinals remain in the final four race. Meanwhile, the CSJL Lady Knights tallied a 2-6 record.

The Mapúa Lady Cardinals will attempt to conquer the Emilio Aguinaldo College Lady Generals in a must-win game tomorrow, July 9, at 2:30 PM, in the same arena. The game will be broadcasted live on GTV and streamed live through the social media channels of GMA Sports PH and NCAA Philippines.

The Scores:
MU – Fernandez 9, Manalo 7, Ong 7, Gaudan 3, Babiera 2, Batac 2, Gojol 1, Vergino 1, Ortega (L), Espiritu 0, Bolandrina 0, Sy (L), Cruz 0, Dalida 0
CSJL - Castro 19, Cunada 14, Urmeneta 11, Musngi 4, Isar 4, Melendres 3, Tapang (L), Silva (L), Dela Cruz 0, Dela Cruz 0, Ledesma 0, Estreller 0, Santos 0, Calixto 0
Set Scores: 17-25, 21-25, 18-25
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