ATENEO notched its first win in the post-Alyssa Valdez era, trouncing University of Santo Tomas, 25-20, 25-21, 25-22, on Saturday in the UAAP Season 79 women’s volleyball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
Jhoanna Maraguinot shone in the spot left by Valdez, while returning Michele Morente, who missed one season due to academic deficiencies, added nine.
Kat Tolentino, who recovered from an ACL injury during the offseason, fired all but one of her eight markers from kills and returning Maddie Madayag, who missed the second round due to ACL injury, chipped in five.
“We lost a go-to player and this is the way we can deal with it the best (to have a balanced scoring) For sure, were going to try to get everyone to score,” said skipper and setter Jia Morado, who registered 45 of the team's 47 excellent sets.
Ateneo looked to end the match, however, Carla Sandoval refused to lose and saved the match point, 22-24, but Alex Cabanos’ service error handed Ateneo the win.
“We're very happy with the win, we’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Morado. “People were expecting us to have opening day jitters. But I think, lalo na in the end game, lumabas naman 'yung pinaghandaan namin. We're hoping na we can continue this for the following games.”
EJ Laure finished with a game-high 17 points but those were not enough to lift UST, while team captain Sisi Rondina added 10.