by Joshua Felix S. Tadena
(Editor’s Note: The article covered period up to Feb. 17, 2008 only)
Adamson Lady Falcons showed superiority all season long which led them to the first-place finish at the end of eliminations of the UAAP season 70 women's volleyball competition played every Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays in Blue Eagle Gym.
The Volleybelles started the season with fresh stint in the invitational tourney Shakey's V-League, settling their best finish at fourth place and the UNIGAMES 2007 at University of St. La Salle at Bacolod, winning the gold medal. Leading the charge is the veteran playmaker Minerva Dulce Pante together with the seasoned players like Rissa Jane Laguilles, Angela Benting, Jackie So, Janet Serafica, Jill Gustillo, Michelle Segodine, and Lizlee Ann Gata. Everyone expected that AdU will be the surprise of this year's tournament.
The Lady Falcons started the season with a frustrating defeat against the defending champions UST Lady Tigresses, 22-25, 25-27, 25-19, 25-19, 15-13. The girls were on perfect form until UST's Venus Bernal controlled the pace on the endgame. Adamson bounced back from a painful defeat by winning back-to-back straight set victories against NU Lady Bulldogs (25-16, 25-7, 25-19) and FEU Lady Tamaraws (25-18, 28-26, 25-19). Laguilles was the driving force of the straight sets win and was also awarded the player of the game honors. However, De La Salle University Lady Archers almost dominated Adamson at the beginning of their season 70 encounter, but the Lady Falcons fought back to win a closely fought five sets, 27-25, 21-25, 20-25, 25-16,17-15. The rest of the first- round schedule proved to be easy, winning their last assignments convincingly against Ateneo Lady Eagles (25-14, 25-13, 25-22), UP Lady Maroons (25-23, 25-14, 25-11) and UE Amazons (25-12, 25-20, 23-25, 25-12).
The first round went to a triple tie (6-1) for the driver’s seat, with UST (losing only to FEU), FEU (bowing only to Adamson), and Adamson (falling only to UST) leading the pack in seven games.
Adamson began the second round with an explosion despite the hefty assignment on their first game versus co-leader, FEU. The Lady Tamaraws started the game strong, but the game was clearly controlled by the Lady Falcons with setting prowess of Serafica and power boost of Segodine. At the next game, DLSU seemed to get Adamson’s number on their second meeting but still handed the win in four sets, 23-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-16. The San Marcelino-based women's squad become hotter than ever, haplessly beating ADMU (25-14, 25-15, 25-23), NU (25-21, 25-11, 25-12), UP (25-19, 25-5, 25-13) and UE (25-8, 25-22, 25-19) to series of unblemished straight sets victories that sent message on the league that the Adamson Lady Falcons are clearly the team to beat this season. The celebration ended when UST crushed Adamson with a 25-12, 25-23, 25-20 victory, sweeping the Lady Falcons at the elimination phase. Benting played that game nursing a fever that resulted to an unusual low point production, sending the whole team into downslide.
Nevertheless, the two losses of the Adamson Lady Falcons record did not leave the team hopeless for UAAP season 70 women's volleyball championship. Finishing the double round robin elimination phase triple tied with UST and FEU (12-2), Adamson was ruled to be a step higher with the two teams on the superior quotient system. UST and FEU slugged it out on a one-game showdown for the last ticket of twice-to-beat advantage with the Lady Tamaraws emerging the victor.
Last February 17, Adamson Lady Falcons and FEU Lady Tamaraws took on a one-game match to decide the first seed on the end of eliminations. FEU started strong winning the first two sets, leaving Adamson in the brink of defeat. Lady Falcons bounced back from a poor start to straight the remaining sets and salvage the top spot on Final Four, 23-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-20, 15-12. Segodine had her breakthrough game scoring 21 points while Benting added 19. The solo fourth Ateneo Lady Eagles (8-6) will be forcing two wins on the league leading Adamson to aliven their championship hopes for the Final Four match ups.
As of February 10, the Adamson Lady Falcons are also topping the individual statistical rankings. Serafica was the best setter in season 70 elimination round, collecting an average of 11.32 sets per set. So (1st - 42.36%), Serafica (4th – 39.82%), Segodine (6th – 38.58%) and Laguilles (7th – 35.85%) are also ranked in best attackers category based on the success rating. In services average per set, Laguilles (2nd – 0.47), Benting (3rd – 0.40) and
So (6th – 0.32) are also considered the best in UAAP today. Gata (2nd – 1.79) and Laguilles (7th – 1.15) digs are enough to be included in the best diggers circle. Laguilles (211 points) and Benting (195 points) are the current 4th and 6th top scorers in th league, respectively. Laguilles was the lone statistical leader in blocking department at 8th place, tallying 0.38 blocks per set. Gata is currently 5th in receives per game with 24.20% efficiency rating.