The UST Lady Spikers suffered a stunning defeat at the hands of the FEU Lady Tamaraws, 21-18, 19-21, 16-18, in UAAP Season 86 women’s beach volleyball opener on Friday, Nov. 17, at the SM Sands by the Bay.
Bannered by Gen Eslapor and Sofiah Pagara, UST faltered late in both the second and third sets, ending their 38-match winning streak and claiming their first loss since Game 2 of the Season 79 Finals over seven years ago.
The Lady Spikers are eyeing their seventh consecutive title this season in the women’s division, albeit without their long-time star and former MVP Blove Barbon–-who graduated last year.
UST started their Season 86 campaign with a drubbing of the UP Lady Maroons, 21-9, 21-11, in the morning set of games.
On the other hand, the UST Tiger Sands opened their title defense in the UAAP Season 86 men's beach volleyball tournament by warding off the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 21-11, 21-19, at the same venue.
Leaning on their stingy defense throughout the match, UST's duo Rancel Varga and Alchie Gupiteo proved to be too much for Ateneo's Amil Pacinio and Jian Salarzon.
Varga and Gupiteo also connived for a dominant start, building off their connectedness in their sets to exact a 21-11 beating on the Eagles early.
The Tiger Sands, however, lost control of the game as the Blue Eagles found their groove through opponents' errors and timely attacks, building off a 10-14 lead midway through the second canto.
Playing his first season in the collegiate ranks, Gupiteo lifted UST out of the deficit, converting much-needed blocks to spark a comeback and turn the tides in favor of the Tiger Sands.
Varga finished the flurry for UST in the final stretch with an off-speed kill, ultimately snatching the victory, 21-19.
Later in the evening game, the Tiger Sands walloped the UP Fighting Maroons in straight sets, 21-9, 21-12, to go 2-0 in the first day of the tournament.
UP never found their groove with the powerhouse UST as the Tiger Sands utilized their quick hits to pull away early in the sets and never look back.
The Tiger Sands will face FEU at 8:30 A.M tomorrow, while their women’s counterparts will play against the DLSU Lady Spikers at 2 P.M at the same venue.