Ateneo Lady Eagles survive tough match against UST Tigresses to keep slate unblemished 
Alyssa Valdez and the Ateneo Lady Eagles are two wins away from a sweep and an outright spot in the finals. Dante Peralta

ATENEO survived a tough battle with University of Santo Tomas and eked out a 25-18, 25-22, 25-22 victory on Wednesday to preserve its unblemished slate in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the MOA Arena.

The Lady Eagles managed to overcome quick starts by the Tigresses in the latter two sets and registered their 12th victory in as many matches to move closer to a sweep of the eliminations. UST dropped to fifth spot with their seventh loss against five wins.

MVP Alyssa Valdez admitted they have thought about the sweep, which would give them an incentive of an outright spot in the finals with a thrice-to-beat advantage, but noted that they need to focus on one match at a time.

A tough opponent in La Salle awaits Ateneo in their final match before the playoffs, but Valdez noted they still need to take care of the next match against University of the East.

“We’re looking forward to it (sweep), but the aim is just one game talaga,” said a beaming Valdez.

“We’ll prepare for UE, then we’ll prepare for the last match.”

The Tigresses managed to come up with short runs to take small leads at different stages of the match, including a 3-0 start in the second and a four-point blast in the middle of the third.

But Ateneo proved too tough to crack, countering with short bursts of its own and playing much steadier in the closing stages of each set.

The match was tied at 21 when Valdez came up with back-to-back points, off the block and on a dink to put Ateneo at match point, then a Chloe Cortez error handed the Lady Eagles the set.

In the third, UST again got ahead shortly after 6-foot-1 rookie Madeleine Madayag was pulled out after hurting her left ankle. The Tigresses again came up with a short burst for a 12-9 lead, but Lady Eagles quickly regrouped to even the match and another see-saw scoring ensued.

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