Today’s 25-14, 25-20, 19-25, 26-24 win by the Lady Spikers brought them one win away from an unprecedented 4-peat.
The heart of a champion. The best way to test that is to see how they responded to setbacks and adversity.
The resounding answer was a resounding comeback victory this afternoon. Quite a difference after they looked a bit lost in their first setback in 31 matches last Wednesday. If there was a question about their character, today’s game was an emphatic response. No one’s taking the championship from them. Not if they can help it. And yes, they can.
The Lady Spikers took control of the game right in the first set, taking it easily with a barrage of attacks from all angles. It was Ateneo that looked lost as they surrendered meekly, 25-14. But this was exactly the scenario last time, and Ateneo came back to hand the Lady Spikers an unexpected loss.
Not this time. The Lady Spikers kept their collective noses in front with effective blocking and floor defense to take the second set, 25-20. This time, it was closer, and Ateneo crawled back after trailing 18-11. It looked like Ateneo was starting to get their act together.
But whatever the score, it was still a 2-0 lead in sets. However, their tendency to take it easy when they have a comfortable lead reappeared, and they lapsed into several errors to hand the 3rd set to Ateneo, 19-25. Again, errors gave the Ateneans free points. And Ateneo took the 3rd as the La Salle offense became tentative, attacks got weaker, we lost the set.
But in the fourth, the Lady Spikers pulled themselves together, and despite a last-ditch attempt by Ateneo that tied the set at 24-all, the Lady Spikers closed out the game.
What changed from last game?
Quite a few things. Attacks – we had 46 points on spikes against 34 for the Lady Eagles. While Ateneo matched our blocking with 7, we had 64 attempts vs 45 for Ateneo. Ateneo’s serve continued to plague our receivers, with 12 aces to our 4, but our scoring was balanced with Ara (17), Mika (14), Abi (11) in double digits against only one for Ateneo (Valdez with 15).
Our players started reading Ateneo’s offensive thrusts, and our floor defense picked up, negating many of Ateneo’s attacks which had gone through in the first game. And most importantly, the resolve was there, to prove that the first game was a fluke, and that they are not giving up the championship.
Will we in it on Wednesday? With today’s performance? Most probably. Ok, very likely.