SAN SEBASTIAN stole the top spot from Arellano at the end of the 89th NCAA women’s volleyball tournament with a 22-25, 25-22, 25-19, 25-19, win over the Lady Chiefs on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
Both teams ended their campaign with an even 7-2 records, but the Lady Stags’ win over the top seeded Lady Chiefs made them the outright no. 1 seed in the Final Four.
Arellano and San Sebastian actually found themselves in a four-way tie with University of Perpetual Help and College of St. Benilde on top at 7-2, but the Lady Chiefs were unfortunate enough to end up as the no. 4 team owing to a lesser quotient.
San Sebastian had a shaky start after losing two straight games to St. Benilde and Perpetual Help, but the Lady Stags regrouped to win their last four matches and claim the top spot.
“Nagpapasalamat ako siyempre sa mga bata kasi maganda ang nilaro nila,” said San Sebastian coach Roger Gorayeb.
The multi-titled mentor said he reminded his team not to rest on its laurels and told the Lady Stags they still need to win the single round semifinals to advance.
“Pero papasok kami sa second round na back to zero kami kaya hindi kami dapat maging complacent,” he said. “Kaya talagang pupukpok pa kami. Ang goal namin ay maka-top two para pumasok sa Finals.”
Gretchel Soltones, the hard-hitting sophomore from Cebu, came with a season-high 30 points, scattered on 24 spikes, two blocks, and four service aces for the Lady Stags, while Jolina Labiano added 17 quiet markers.
Menchie Tubiera had 16 points for Arellano, while Danna Henson and Cristie Rosario chipped in 14 and 12, respectively.
The Final Four starts on Monday with San Sebastian facing Arellano once more at 12 noon followed by the St. Benilde- Perpetual Help match at 2 p.m.