After living out of suitcases for the first half of the season, the Lady Rattlers have finally come home. Tuesday night, the FAMU volleyball team defeated Bethune-Cookman College in three straight games, 12-30, 13-30, 17-30.
“It was good to be playing at home,” said sophomore outside hitter Andreina Ruiz. “To play here is always different because of the fans, so it was nice.”
Coming out with a vengeance, Florida A&M(8-3 overall) took a quick 6-0 lead. Four aces by junior setter Mariela Portocarrero, a BCC setting error and an awesome block by junior Jayli Jackson put the Lady Rattlers on the board.
The team continued to dominate the rest of the game. Freshman Maria Andonova and sophomore Adriana Kostadinova combined for an amazing weakside block to push the score to 10-3.
Andonova continued to pace her team with six kills in the first game for a .600 hitting percentage.
In a feeble attempt to stop FAMU’s progress, Bethune Cookman Head Coach Paula Thompson called a timeout when the score reached 23-8. Her efforts were not effective though because FAMU went on to finish the game 30-12 off a kill by junior Tereza Arellano.
Bethune-Cookman began the second game with fervor. They went point by point with the Lady Rattlers for the first 10 points. A net violation and missed serve gave the Wildcats even more room. The score reached 10-6 before FAMU finally broke away.
“We’re coming from playing top 25 ranked teams and then we play a team like this that is at a completely different level,” said coach Tony Trifonov. “The rest of our home games are against conference teams which will be at the same level.”
Half-way through the game, Ivelina Petkova entered the lineup. She came in and delivered four straight kills to push the score to 27-11. The game ended on a cross-court kill from Kostadinova.
The final game began in the same fashion as the second one. A hitting and service error started the game 0-2. Ruiz put the team on the board with a cross-court kill.
Jackson dominated the net with three kills and one block in the final rallies as FAMU defeated Bethune-Cookman 30-17.
“We made some mistakes that were stupid so we have to learn how to not do that especially against these easy teams,” said Ruiz.
The Lady Rattlers are currently ranked 12th in the USA Today/AVCA Division 1 Coaches Top 25 poll and 3rd in the region. They are still atop the MEAC conference rankings with a 1-0 record.
This weekend the team travels to the Carolinas to play North Carolina A&T Friday at 7 p.m. and South Carolina State Sunday at 1 p.m.
Dominique Drake can be reached at email@example.com