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La Salle shocks Ateneo with straight-set victory

By Emy Manipol

QUEZON CITY—What many expected to be a highly competitive PLDT Home Ultera-UAAP Women's Volleyball Tournament match-up between the two protagonists of last season’s championship collision turned out into a lopsided outing as the De la Salle University Lady Spikers dominated the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles in straight sets, 25-22, 25-14, 25-18, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday night.

La Salle's win finally ended Ateneo's winning streak dating back from the 2014 finals.

League-leading setter Kim Fajardo shone as the Lady Spikers made mincemeat of the Lady Eagles’ defense, even pulling off strong serves that resulted to aces.

Ateneo started strong and even reached the first technical timeout in the first set leading, 8-6.

But La Salle bounced back and took the opening frame.

La Salle then dropped a huge 8-0 run during the second set to the delight of the pro-La Sallian part of the 16,536 people at the Big Dome.

Ateneo tried to stay in the match, opening a 12-7 lead in the third set.

But La Salle converted on huge attacks and crucial aces to steal the set.

Jho Maraguinot was the lone bright spot in the Lady Eagles’ offense as the Lady Spikers covered Alyssa Valdez’s attacks and even made her work double time in defense.

The win over Ateneo was a big confidence boost for the Taft-based squad as the team finally avenged its title losses and its last six head-to-head in the past two seasons.

La Salle became the first team to hand over a loss to Ateneo after 24 straight wins.

Follow her on Twitter: @emymanipol