Senior night for the Lady Rattler volleyball team proved to be a dogfight as FAMU (13-6) welcomed the University of North Florida (4-25) in their second non-conference match in four days.
The Lady Ospreys matched FAMU dig for dig and was able to counter the kill power of senior Iva Lakic and freshman Jovanna Blazeski, but the dynamic duo proved to be too much as the Lady Rattlers took the match 3 games to 1. UNF jumped out to a 4-1 lead in game one. Upset of the dismal play of the team, Head coach Tony Trifonov called a timeout to stop the bleeding.
Out of the timeout Lakic executed a kill to stop the UNF momentum, as the Lady Rattlers never looked back taking game 1 (30-25).
In game 2, the Lady Ospreys responded with a 30-27 win as senior Maegan Weisert led UNF with 18 kills exposing the middle of the FAMU defense.
“They have been playing better and better over the last couple of weeks since we have seen Florida A&M before,” UNF head coach Kevin Campbell said. “I really liked the way they fought. Florida A&M is a really strong team, they have some strong hitters and we battled with them tonight.”
After the second game, FAMU seemed to tire out the Lady Ospreys as they swept the next two games 30-22 and 30-27. Some questionable calls by the officials caused coach Trifonov to receive a warning for complaining about the calls as the officiating seemed to be unorganized as one of the score keepers showed up late to the game causing an inexperienced score keeper to fill in, delaying the match as the head official had to stop play several times to assist with scoring and substitutions.
“The line judge missed a touch earlier in the game, then a ball clearly out of bounds outside of the antenna she did not call came at a crucial time, she wasn’t paying attention,” Trifonov said.
Lakic led the Lady Rattlers with 21 kills but the senior also committed 13 errors as FAMU struggled defensively as they seemed confused with the UNF attack. “We were so excited because it was our last home game but we gave them too many points, made too many personal errors, and we had team errors and didn’t pass well,” Lakic said.
FAMU believes scheduling non-conference games towards the end of the season against opponents like Mercer, Texas and UNF will help in the Lady Rattlers quest to another MEAC title and hopefully a run to the NCAA Tournament.
“These games prepare us for the better teams in the conference which we are going to meet in the semifinals and finals and ultimately the NCAA Tournament,” Trifonov said.
Coach Trifonov and the rest of the squad are already looking ahead to the semifinals and finals of the MEAC tournament Nov. 16 and 17 in Hampton, Va.