The UST Golden Tigresses' winning streak ends at eight games after succumbing to the NU Lady Bulldogs, 25-23, 17-25, 21-25, 20-25, in the UAAP Season 86 women's volleyball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, March 24. (Photo by Patrice Jerica A. Beltran/ The Varsitarian)

THE UST Golden Tigresses suffered their first loss in nine games after succumbing to the NU Lady Bulldogs in four sets, 23-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-20, in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, March 24.

Despite the loss, the Golden Tigresses remained atop the standings with an 8-1 win-loss record, just one game behind the 7-1 DLSU Lady Spikers. NU kept its hold of the third spot as it improved to a 7-2 slate.

“Marami kaming natutuhan sa pagkatalo na ‘to,” UST head coach Emilio “Kung Fu” Reyes said postgame. “Ang gagawin namin is ‘yong lagi lang naming ginagawa, babalikan namin ‘tong game na ‘to kasi marami pa kaming lapses na kailangang i-tama.”

“Nagkulang talaga kami kanina sa department ng depensa, maluwag din ‘yong blockings namin.”

NU was leading by one in the first frame, 22-21, until the Tigresses went on a 4-1 blitz capped by a down-the-line kill by Regina Jurado that allowed UST to draw first blood. 

In the second set, the Lady Bulldogs broke a 5-all deadlock and pulled away with a 20-12 run to tie the game at one set apiece.

NU capitalized on four service aces in the third set, creating enough of a gap to secure a 25-21 set win. UST, the best-serving team after the first round, only had two aces throughout the game, while third-best servers Lady Bulldogs had 13 aces.

In their first-round encounter, UST did not allow the Lady Bulldogs to score an ace.

With UST down by five, Jurado and Jonna Perdido scored back-to-back points that forced NU to call a timeout, 22-19. 

After Vange Alinsug scored a down-the-line kill to give NU a 23-19 lead, UST’s Pia Abbu blocked Alyssa Solomon to help the Tigresses inch closer. However, Solomon made up for it with a drop ball and a game-sealing service ace to hand UST its first loss.

“Ang maganda rito, as early as now, second game ng second round, naramdaman na namin at nakita na namin somehow ‘yong breaking point,” Reyes said.

“Ang dapat lang naming alalahanin, especially ng mga bata, we lose a match, pero we must never lose our character.”

Angeline Poyos paced the Golden Tigresses with 18 points, while Jurado chipped in 11 points.

Bella Belen led the Lady Bulldogs with 24 points, while Solomon and Alinsug chalked up 18 and 17 points, respectively.

The UST Golden Tigresses will next face the Adamson Lady Falcons on April 3, Wednesday, 4 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena.