The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers take their four game winning streak on the road as they face in- state rival the Lady Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman University Wednesday in Daytona Beach.
The Lady Rattlers come into the game 4-11 overall, 2-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, while the Lady Wildcats (3-18 overall, 0-1 in the MEAC) are on a seven-game losing.
Florida A&M will attempt to set the pace early so they can control the tempo and run their style of volleyball against Bethune-Cookman.
“We have to play with a lot more energy than what we showed against North Carolina Central,” head coach Tony Trifonov said. “We can’t come out flat, because having the speed of the game helps us with less unforced errors.”
Trifonov called the Sunday game against North Carolina Central “boring,” as he pointed out his team did not come out with the same fast-paced game as they showcased against South Carolina State. Serving aggressively will be critical for the Lady Rattlers to get the Lady Wildcats out of system early so they can dictate the game.
“It’s important to get BCU out of system and serve aggressively because it’s difficult to defend teams when they are passing the ball well,” Trifonov said.
The Lady Rattlers confidence is growing each game as they players feel they can beat the Lady Wildcats and extend their winning streak to five games and their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference win streak to 22 games.
“We know we can beat BCU, we just have to come out and play like we know we can,” outside hitter Ashley Johnson said.
The Lady Rattlers must play consistent volleyball and not get rattled early if they want to win against Bethune-Cookman.
“Consistency, showing a level of confidence, and playing a mental game are key points to a victory,” outside hitter Bianca Rucker said. “We play best when we play a strong mental game and not get rattled.”
The Lady Rattlers know that no conference game is easy, especially when you play a hostile crowd like the Lady Wildcats will have in their corner.
“It’s a tough place to play with the crowd at BCU, we are going to have to come out and play our best volleyball,” Trifonov said.
Florida A&M didn’t communicate and weren’t consistent during its 11-game losing streak, but communication and consistency has been there during the win streak and the coach wants to see more.
“It’s a rebuilding year and I don’t know which team is going to show up,” Trifonov said. “The girls need to rely on each other, communicate, and encourage each other.”