NCAA 98 Volleyball: Knights Clinch First Win; Lady Knights Drop to 1-1

By: Aulyn Gwen Bergado
February 25, 2023

The Letran Lady Knights huddling together before the face off with the Mapua Lady Cardinals. Photo courtesy of Eduardo Nollora Jr. of The LANCE.

The Letran Knights were able to register their first win of the season through a come-from-behind manner by hacking out a 18-25, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17,15-13 decision in the 98th season of NCAA volleyball earlier today at San Andres Complex in Manila. 

The Knights welcomed the third set with high offense and defense which gave them a five point lead, 9-4 with Christian Doria and Vince Himzon regulating the offense and with preserved consistency and deadly offense, Letran claimed the third to extend the match. 

Team captain Doria spearheaded the Knights with 19 points with Himzon churning out 18 and Justine Alejandro giving 16 markers. 

With the Cardinals displaying strong defense at the net, the Knights struggled to execute their offense and a costly service error from the Letran side caused the first set victory of Mapua, 25-18. 

Letran trailed to Mapua as knots of errors were committed by the Knights, but a block by Alejandro made the match tied at 13 and two consecutive kill blocks by the Knights gave them a 16-14 advantage. But Letran failed to bolster their defense as Mapua also grabbed the second, 22-25. 

With the momentum continuously siding to the Letran side, Himzon doubled his offensive efforts to deliver for the Knights alongside libero-turned-spiker Vhan Molacruz to gain a thirteen-point cushion, 18-5 and Letran capitalized on Mapua’s errors to force a deciding set. 

The Knights and Cardinals continued their action-filled battle until the decider engaging in a push-and-pull affair in the match but Letran proved that they are more eager to seal their first win of the season. 

Meanwhile in the women’s division, the Lady Knights fell short in maintaining their consistency all throughout the match as they recorded their first loss of the season to the Lady Cardinals, 19-25, 16-25, 25-14, 26-24, 16-14. 

Juls Castro led the Lady Knights with 15 markers consisting of 14 attacks and a service ace, followed by Captain Shereena Urmeneta and Lea Rizel Tapang who contributed 14 points apiece and Libero Lara Silva who listed 21 excellent digs.

As the waves were surging in favor of the Lady Cardinals, the Lady Knights doubled their efforts on the third set through Angelique Ledesma, who scored back-to-back attack points to lead Letran. 

Both teams fought in a rigid back and forth affair during the opening frame but the Lady Cardinals paved a 5-0 run through their service and blocks to claim the first, 19-25. 

The Lady Knights continued their floor defense woes which became an edge for Mapua, as they gained a seven-point lead against Letran, 10-19.

Letran proved that they were still alive and awake in the match as Juls Castro, Angelique Ledesma and LJ Isar provided ample firepower to push Letran to a 19-12 advantage in the third window.

With renewed confidence and strength, the Lady Knights snatched a hammer and tongs battle with the Lady Cardinals which Letran had successfully won to extend the match to a deciding set, 26-24 through a Ledesma quick attack. 

Intramuros-based squads did not want to die down and give up and showed a fierce point-to-point battle in the fifth set as Daisy Melendres and Castro scored attack points for the Knights and with Gwen Espiritu and Roxie Dela Cruz doing so for the Cardinals. But errors continued to flood the way for Letran which resulted in Mapua’s victory. 

The volleyball squads of Letran will face Emilio Aguinaldo College on February 28, still in the same venue.