With cold and heavy wind, it wasn’t your typical tennis weather Sunday afternoon, but the Lady Rattlers had to keep playing.The Florida A&M University Lady Rattlers played the Jacksonville University Dolphins and lost 6-1.
“It was a well-fought match, but (the Lady Rattlers) have to learn how to close the point out,” said head coach Rochelle “Nikki” Goldthreate.
The trouble started with the doubles match when No. 1 seat Rachel Pye and Kimber Redfern took the first loss for the team, falling 8-0. They were quickly followed by No. 2 seat Sarah Brinkley and Alice Izomor, 8-2.
Izomor, the newest member of the team, said it’s just a matter of getting used to.
“It was my first outing and first time playing with my partner,” said Izomor, a freshman from Nigeria. “We’re still learning each other’s game. It is still new to us.”
Sarah Brinkley, the Lady Rattlers’ No. 4 seat, was the first singles player to take a fall, in a 1-6, 3-6 decision. The loss left the ladies down in the game count 1-2.
Dolphins head coach Jarod Camerota admits that the Lady Rattlers have something his players lack – competitiveness. “We won because of our talent, but we were definitely out-competed,” Camerota said.
Junior Samaria Bailey fell short, 1-6, 3-6, and Izomor went under to No. 1 seat Emese Sulyos, 2-6, 1-6. Camerota said he believed the wind didn’t give most players a chance to show their true talent and could have possibly factored in the game’s outcome.
“It’s hard to play in the wind, and it makes it even harder to recognize these players’ true talents,” Camerota said.Kimber Redfern put up a fight in her first set but could not finish out, loosing 5-7, 3-6, which left FAMU down 5-1.In the end, all eyes were glued to court two where Rachael Pye took on No. 2 Dolphins player Lena Willi. Goldthreate said the game was too close for comfort.
“It was too many missed opportunities during Rachel’s match,” Goldthreate said. “She just has to learn how to close out the match. She had too many opportunities.”
Pye came back strong in the second set, 5-3, but missed three breakpoints causing an easy comeback for Willi.
The game came down to a tiebreaker, where Pye once again had two chances to close out but could not bring it home.
It ended 6-3, 7-6, with the tiebreaker round ending 8-6.
“It’s a growing experience for the team,” Goldthreate said. “The more they play, the better they get.”