MANILA, Philippines — National University libero Jennifer Nierva attributed their outright UAAP Season 84 women’s volleyball Finals appearance to the loyalty of her rookie teammates out of Nazareth School.
The Lady Bulldogs are marching to the championship round for the first time in the Final Four era after completing a 14-game elimination round sweep on Thursday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The NU libero believes the key to their success is their reunion with high school teammates Bella Belen, Alyssa Solomon, Sheena Toring, and Lams Lamina, who opted to stay as Lady Bulldogs amid the offers from other schools.
“I’m thankful to our rookies from high school for choosing NU. They received offers from other schools, but they are loyal and have vision for the team. They committed themselves and that’s something I’m very grateful for,” said Nierva after NU’s 25-22, 29-27, 25-17 victory over University of Santo Tomas.
Nierva knew that her former high school teammates would change the culture of the Lady Bulldogs when they entered the collegiate level.
“They’re really hard working and passionate. We forged a strong bond with them. I’m very proud to be with them because if they will be playing for other schools, we will have a hard time for sure,” she said.
Nierva said it was easy for her fellow seniors Ivy Lacsina and Cess Robles to lead the rookies, who swept 16 games to rule Season 82 girls’ volleyball in 2019.
“Through the leadership of the seniors like Princess Robles, Ivy Lacsina, and me, they followed us e. They are easy to get along with and our jelling back in high school is still there,” she said.
The third year libero relished her journey from missing the Final Four in 2019, their canceled stint Season 82 two years ago after winning a pair of games, to getting a chance to deliver NU’s first title since 1957.
“I’m happy with my journey. I suffered a lot of losses (in my rookie year). But those setbacks made us stronger, more hard working and more determined to achieve a lot of things not just for myself but for the team and the school,” she added.
NU will have to wait for its finals rival as the semifinals will play in a stepladder format.
Nierva said they will cherish their outright finals this day. But the next day, they will go back to work, seeking to accomplish their goal to end a 65-year title drought.
“For now, we will enjoy this feeling and celebrate our team’s 14-0 achievement. But tomorrow, back to work,” she said.
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