Injuries and a lack of substitutes could not stop the Rattlers from sweeping Bethune-Cookman University Sunday afternoon 27-25, 25-23, 25-21,to remain undefeated in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
“They’re persevering,” Florida A&M head coach Tony Trifonov said. “That’s what it’s all about especially late in the season. We’ve been able to overcome a lot and a win is a win.
We’ll take it.”
Senior outside hitter Maria Gomez, despite playing with an injured left ankle, had 13 kills and helped stave off two of the Wildcats’ comeback attempts.
“We started of kind slow,” said Gomez. “We felt like, we always win against these kind of teams. We were just expecting just to beat them really easily. It didn’t happen that way.”
The Wildcats (8-12, 2-1 in the MEAC) kept the first and second games close by mounting comebacks before the Rattlers could get too far ahead. The first game saw a 15-8 deficit for the Wildcats and the second game saw a similar 14-8 deficit.
“In the first two games it was just a matter of just getting over that hump,” Bethune-Cookman head coach Vanessa Cogswell said. “When we know we’re close we have to finish. We have to finish the game.”
Extending the game to improve their chance of winning proved difficult for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats struggled to find points after tying both games and could not overcome Florida A&M’s offensive attack. The Rattlers had 45 kills against Bethune-Cookman’s 35.
“We talk about keeping up the confidence even when you’re down,” Cogswell said. “We play to win.”
The Rattlers hit their stride by game three despite the Wildcats taking an early lead. The Rattlers won the final game without the threat of a comeback. Junior outside hitter Jovana Blazeski led the Rattlers win kills and digs. She had 20 kills and 12 digs.
“We got into our game,” Gomez said. “In the last match we just played our game and boom boom boom that’s it.”
Trifonov expressed displeasure with the officials and debated several calls during the match.
“They missed a lot of calls today,” Trifonov said. “Some judgment decisions were missed in my opinion but that’s just how the game goes.”
The victory gives the team a boost before it heads to Tampa to take on the University of South Florida Bulls Tuesday. The next home game will take place in Al Lawson Teaching Gymnasium on Wednesday, Nov. 5 against the South Carolina State University Bulldogs.