With a hitting average of just .216 against the opponents’ .258, it was an uphill battle to victory for the Lady Rattlers in Friday night’s win over North Carolina A&T.
FAMU (22-3 overall, 13-0 MEAC) celebrated its 20th straight win for the season as the Lady Aggies went down 30-24, 30-14, 30-13. NCAT, the third seed in the MEAC tournament, dropped to 16-15 with the loss.
The home team certainly was given a run for its money in the first game. The ladies began well with an immediate kill by sophomore Adriana Kostadinova to put them on the board.
“They started slowly and we started fast, so that helped us out some,” said NC A&T Head Coach Kathy Roulhac. “But we’re very young, so when we start making errors it’s all downhill from there.”
Service errors and dropped balls gave the Lady Aggies a comfortable cushion of at least three points for the majority of the game.
“It was difficult,” said Assistant Coach Sergio Villar Galup. “Our setter was sick, Tereza – one of our key hitters – had an injured shoulder, and Andreina (Ruiz) was also sick.”
FAMU didn’t let that deter them from obtaining success though. Junior Jayli Jackson and Kostadinova each contributed 14 kills for a .545 and .542 hitting percentage, respectively.
Jackson’s No. 3 ranking in the country in overall hitting percentage (.455) has contributed to the team’s .352 hitting percentage, which ranks No. 1 in the country.
In the second match, FAMU came out with more vigor.The team took a 4-1 lead right away off of two kills by Ruiz, a Jackson ace and a setting error.
Freshman Diana Genkova, who started because Mariela Portocarrero was ill, carried the team well throughout the match.
“I was a little bit nervous from the beginning, but after that it was going great,” said Genkova, who finished with 36 assists and three service aces.
“We’re a really good team so I’m sure we can do a lot and I hope to go far in the MEAC tournament.”
The MEAC tournament begins Nov. 22 in Greensboro, N. C. The Lady Rattlers, the No. 1 seed, hope to win the tournament and go all the way to the NCAA tournament that begins Dec. 4.
Brackets for the NCAA tournament will be announced Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. on ESPN News.
‘These last games are just like practice for the tournament,” said Villar Galup. “We are looking much better.”