Lady Rattlers defeat No. 2 Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Florida A&M Lady Rattler volleyball team stunned second-ranked Nebraska, 3-1 Friday in the opening round of the NU Volleyball Invitational at the Coliseum.

Coach Tony Trifonov’s crew, disappointed at their 1-2 showing in the Michigan State Inivational a week ago after coming into the 2004 season ranked in the Top 40 nationally, swept their Saturday match against Maryland, 3-0, to remain unbeaten in the event.

In Friday’s upset, the Lady Rattlers knocked off Nebraska, 30-25, 16-30, 30-28 and 30-28, paced by sophomore Tereza Arellano’s 16 kills and 12 digs.

Andreina Ruiz added 15 kills and 16 digs; Adriana Kostadinova had 14 kills and 23 digs, while senior setter Mariela Portocarrero had 43 assists and 18 digs.

Friday’s win made FAMU the first unranked team since Nebraska-Omaha in 1986 to bounce the Huskers at home, and the first unranked non-conference team to beat Nebraska since 1996.

The win over Nebraska was Florida A&M’s first over a nationally-ranked opponent since 2002, when they bounced Louisville, 3-2 in the second round of the Georgia Tech Invitational.

Last season, the Lady Rattlers pushed nationally-ranked Stanford and Colorado State to five games in a two-day span in the CSU Invitational, then capped off the year with a first-ever opening round NCAA win (3-0 over Winthrop (S.C.) University).

Saturday, FAMU breezed past Maryland, 3-0, winning 30-26, 30-20 and 30-18, led by Adriana Kostadinova’s 16 kills and 15 digs. Tereza Arellano added 13 digs and nine (9) kills, while Andreina Ruiz had 12 kills.

The Lady Rattlers (3-2) will take on Ball State University at 12 noon Central Time, while host Nebraska will tangle with Maryland at 2 p.m.