With the help of star players like Bella Belen, Alyssa Solomon, and Jennifer Nierva, the NU Lady Bulldogs ended their long drought to clinch the UAAP Women’s Volleyball Championship.
Ending droughts seem to be a running theme this UAAP Season 84. For starters, the season marked the return of the UAAP in over two years. Back in May, the UP Diliman Men’s Basketball Team made history when they defeated the presumed frontrunners, the Ateneo Blue Eagles, to score UP’s first championship win in decades. And now, another long-running drought has ended as the National University Lady Bulldogs completed a phenomenal season to sweep NU’s first volleyball championship in 65 years.
65 YEARS IN THE MAKING
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The moment NU began their journey in Season 84, it was very much clear that they were a team to beat. Their first match against Adamson showcased how the rookies on the team were young juggernauts ready to fuel the team to victory. Going up against the La Salle Lady Spikers in the finals wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. But the excellence NU displayed this whole season was on full force as they defeated La Salle for a second time in a best of three games to take home the championship win.
The Lady Bulldogs scored 25-15, 25-15, 25-22 in game two after defeating the Lady Spikers in a dominant 25-20, 25-12, 25-21 in game one. And just like that, NU went 16-0 with all their games this season, making this the third time in history that a team in UAAP Women’s Volleyball swept all their games (in case you’re curious, the first two were La Salle and Ateneo). Their championship win served as their first win since 1957. Chances are, some of the parents of the players weren’t even born yet at the time. But 65 years later, the glory has returned to NU.
The Lady Bulldogs were a team to beat since the beginning and that’s helped by the fact that they have a core group of star players who dominated in the season. There is, of course, Bella Belen who capped off her other worldly rookie season with 16 points in game two of the finals. She also made history as the first ever player in the UAAP to take home Season MVP and Rookie of the Year at the same time. Bella also bagged the 1st Best Outside Hitter award. Young legends behavior really as a star was undoubtedly born.
Fellow rookie Alyssa Solomon scored a game high of 18 points and took home Best Opposite Spiker. Ivy Lacsina followed the two girls with 8 points bagged. Jennifer Nierva recorded 19 digs and 10 receptions as well as the 1st Best Libero award. Lams Lamina got Best Setter while Sheena Toring got 2nd Best Middle Blocker. As for team captain Princess Robles, she scored six points and 15 digs, and was named Finals MVP, a deserving recognition if we do say so ourselves.
The cherry on top for NU is the fact that all but two awards given during the individual awarding ceremony went to NU players (La Salle’s Thea Gagate got 1st Best Middle Blocker while ADMU’s Faith Nisperos got 2nd Best Outside Hitter). Meanwhile, all seven athletes who got awards were products of the NU high school’s famed volleyball program.
A 16-0 sweep, first championship win, snatching most of the top awards, and introducing us to a new generation of volleyball stars, it was very much a fairytale ending for the NU Lady Bulldogs. Congratulations, girls!