The Rattlerettes will cross the railroad tracks into Seminole territory tonight as Tallahassee’s two universities collide in the fall inner-city clash in Tully Gymnasium.
With two of its key players injured, the volleyball team will be striving to beat their local opponent Florida State for the first time.
The Lady Seminoles, who are undefeated at home this season (9-0), have defeated the Rattlerettes 18 times since the two teams’ first match at the Miami Invitational in 1980. The closest the Rattlerettes have ever come to beating their inner-city rival was in last season’s four-game thriller in front of a large and lively crowd of 752 in Tully Gymnasium.
The Rattlerettes crossed those railroad tracks last October a perfect 11-0, having just received the program’s first-ever regional ranking of 10th by the National Collegiate Athletic Association Volleyball Committee.
In the match’s first game, the Lady Seminoles sprinted out of the gates with a 10-1 run and never looked back taking that game 30-19.
“We didn’t play together as a team the first game,” said senior middle blocker Shavonne Newsome, who had three kills and two digs in the match. “There were a lot of mistakes.”
The Rattlerettes then refocused, fed off the energy of the orange and green crowd and snatched game two, with a five-point comeback 33-31 win in dramatic fashion. That was the first time the Rattlerettes had ever won even a single game against FSU, as the previous 17 wins by the Lady Seminoles were all (3-0) sweeps.
But then FSU jumped on the back of their two explosive outside hitters in Alex Sevillano, who had a match-high 18 kills and eight digs, and Erica Bunch, who had 10 kills and a match-high 16 digs, and took game three (30-19) and four (32-30) to win the match. Sevillano and Bunch are both looking to do the same again tonight.
“It was frustrating (to lose that match) because we did expect to win because that was one of the best teams that we’ve had,” said senior setter Delisha Peterson.
Just like last season, the Rattlerettes (10-3) will go into tonight’s match ranked 10th in the east region, while FSU (12-6) is ranked fourth.
The Rattlerettes will be looking to win for the first time against FSU like they did, 3-1, against the University of Virginia on Saturday (28-30, 30-23, 30-24, 30-28). They had previously lost all three matches to the Cavaliers. Freshman outside hitter Andreina Ruiz, extended her recently hyperextended elbow all afternoon long with 16 powerful match-high kills.
“This is the first match that we played like a team (this season),” said senior libero Anisha Nicholson after the win.
The Lady Seminoles also beat the Cavaliers Friday 3-1 as Sevillano notched her sixth double-double of the season (10 kills and 10 digs). FSU took care of No. 8 Maryland Saturday, as Sevillano, the tribe’s leader, recorded another double-double (15 kills and 15 digs). Sevillano has put together a string of five straight double-doubles, so head coach Tony Trifonov must figure out a way to slow her down if the Rattlerettes want to win.
quote from Trifonov
Senior co-captains Nicholson and Fiorella Aita Junek, who together had 21 kills and 18 digs last year’s heartbreaker, must again both put together exceptional performances in order to lead their team to victory.
quote from Trifonov