The Balipure-NU Water Defenders continues to impress in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference.
The blue and white squad, which is mostly composed of young players from Nazareth School of National University, threw the upset ax on the more-experienced Petro Gazz Angels yesterday, beating them in five sets, following a four set loss against the Iriga-Navy Lady Oragons last week.
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And behind this outstanding start from the young Water Defenders is a player who has been a steady force in the backline – the prized libero Jennifer Nierva.
Doing in Both Ends
The 16-year old floor defender has been doing it on both ends for Balipure-NU – from popping up hard serves to stopping the strong attacks of foreign imports and local players alike.
Her digs and service receptions were consistently sensational – no game jitters, no hesitations, just pure determination in preventing every ball to touch the floor.
In two outings, the young lady logged a pair of double-double performances for Balipure-NU.
Against the veterans from Petro Gazz, Nierva sizzled for 25 excellent receptions and 19 excellent digs for a 57% and 58% success rate in both departments respectively, an impressive record considering she was going up against battle-scarred players like Paneng Mercado, Kai Nepomuceno and imports Anastasha Trach and Kadi Kullerkann.
She was more superb in her debut after she tallied 70% and 58% success rates on 24 excellent receptions and 14 excellent digs respectively, only the game was shorter compared to their five-set victory last night.
If she continues to display the same intensity, Nierva can give Melissa Gohing and Tatan Pantone a run for their money in the Best Libero race.
The Needed Antidote
As early as now, we can conclude that Jennifer Nierva can be the future remedy to NU Lady Bulldogs’ defensive weakness.
If she can do a spectacular job in manning the back line in the commercial league, how much more in the women’s volleyball wars in the collegiate ranks?
NU Lady Bulldogs ranked 7th and 8th in the receiving and digging categories in the recently concluded UAAP tournament. Their defense, or the lack of it, has been the culprit of their second round collapse, which saw the Babes Castillo-squad dropped six of its seven outings, enough for a fourth place finish with a 7-7 win loss record.
It could have been a different story if NU was able to compliment their high octane offense with at least a decent floor defense. But as they struggled to deliver good first balls, their season ended in the semi-finals after the eventual champions DLSU Lady Spikers drubbed them in straight sets.
Nierva is expected to suit up for the Sampaloc-based squad next year in Season 81, with NU still has Jasmine Nabor, Roselyn Doria, Risa Sato, Jorelle Singh, and Audrey Paran to spearhead the offense.
For sure come the next UAAP war, Babes Castillo will no longer scratch his head due to NU’s poor floor defense as the talented Nierva will be there to save the day.