UNIVERSITY of the East hopes to move on without its aces Mean Mendrez and Seth Rodriguez, who decided to forego their final year of UAAP women’s volleyball eligibility to suit up for the now-pro Premier Volleyball League.
The 5-foot-9 Mendrez was the Lady Warriors’ leading scorer in the past two years, including Season 82 which was terminated due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Recto-based squad will miss the scoring contributions of Rodriguez, who was among the league’s top five blockers in Season 81, with 0.54 per set.
Mendrez has returned to PetroGazz, which she also played in the club’s inaugural season in 2018, while Rodriguez also signed to the reigning Reinforced Conference champions.
The erstwhile Lady Warriors standouts will be adding firepower and solid net defense to the Angels to fill in the void in the middle blocker and outside hitter positions following the departure of the team’s five key players.
“I chose PetroGazz not only because it was a great team but because they do not treat me as a player. They treat me as a family and I know it is part of God’s plan. After what happened last year, I’m sure na ni-ready lang ako ni Lord mentally for PetroGazz,” said Rodriguez in a recent interview with the school’s official publication The Dawn.
“I think yung skills na madadala ko is not really the skill sa volleyball. Siguro more on mental toughness and yung pagkahubog ng character and attitude ko as a player sa UE,” she added.
Aside from Mendrez and Rodriguez, the Angels have acquired another former Lady Warrior in multi-awarded libero Kath Arado to boost their stock for the Open Conference, which will open in a bubble environment on April 10.
Rodriguez has expressed her gratitude to the UE community for their overwhelming support throughout her collegiate career.
“Thank you kasi hindi kayo nagsawa at napagod na suportahan kami,” said Rodriguez, who thanked the school’s athletic deparment led by Rod Roque, who handled the Lady Warriors in interim basis in 2018 following the resignation of coach Francis Vicente. “No words can express!“