The Lady Rattlers opened their season short-handed as they were without four of their top players, and at times it showed as they lost to the Florida International University Panthers 3 sets to 1. The Rattlers showed heart and won the first set, but the Panthers took the next three easily.
At first the Lady Rattlers were a little sluggish and nervous, as they fell behind quickly 0-2 to FIU, and the woes continued early as they fell behind 2-7 forcing coach Tanio Trifonov to call a timeout. After the timeout, FAMU was more aggressive and the lead was cut to 5-7 and eventually took the lead at 12-10.
“Coming out of the timeout I was just trying to help the team win and get us jump started which lead to our run,” sophomore Ashley Johnson said.
FAMU stayed on the attack maintaining the pace with the lead 18-16, FIU then took the next three out of four points to tie it up at 19 forcing Trifonov to call another timeout. The two teams then battled back and forth exchanging points with FAMU having set point at 24-23. After two errors by both teams they exchanged points once again and FAMU finally broke through by taking advantage of two FIU mistakes to win the 1st set 31-29.
In the second set FAMU once again got off to a slow start due to early mistakes they saw themselves trailing 7-1 and eventually fell behind 3-11. FAMU never recovered from that as they lost the set 25-18.
At the start of the third, set FAMU got off to an early start as they took an early 2-0 lead but FIU stormed right back and after FAMU went 5-4, FIU went on a run to take the lead 12-10 and never let up winning the third set 25-16 and taking the set to go up 2-1.
In the final set of the match the Lady Rattlers opened up with a 2-0 lead and watched it grow to 8-5 forcing FIU to call an early timeout and out of the timeout the Rattlers turned things around as they went up 15-12 forcing FAMU to call a timeout. After the timeout it was pure dominance as FIU took 10 of the next 13 points to win 25-15.
“We just have to learn intensity and focus that is going to win matches, being timid and worrisome about errors is going to result losing sets. Finish how we start and we will learn how to close out games,” said sophomore Bianca Rucker.
The Lady Rattlers look to rebound as they play Aug. 28, 2010, against New Mexico State and if to do so Trifonov believes they must be more consistent.
“I saw a lot of things we need to work on, but overall I’m pleased with the effort the team put forth but consistency is key,” Trifonov said.