The Lady Rattlers tennis team will enter its bout against rival Bethune-Cookman with history on its side.
Florida A&M (3-9, 3-1 MEAC) has claimed the last five meetings between the teams and is looking to extend its streak to six Saturday afternoon at the FAMU Tennis Complex.
The match-up carries Mid-Eastern Conference Championship implications as the Lady Rattlers would maintain their No.3 seed when the tournament begins. With a loss, FAMU would fall to fourth place behind North Carolina Central (7-7, 3-2 MEAC). The championship begins April 13 in Raleigh, N.C.
Team captain Cathline Durden, a 21-year-old senior information technology student from Detroit, said the team is in position to defeat the Wildcats (17-5, 3-0 MEAC) during its final match of the regular season.
“Since my freshman year we haven’t lost to Bethune,” Durden said. “My freshman year, we beat them 4-3. Every year, it’s been close, but we’ve managed to pull it off.”
To prepare for the match, the Lady Rattlers have sharpened three facets of their game.
“The things we have been focusing on are consistency, communication, especially in doubles, and just going out with a lot of energy,” head coach Nikki Goldthreate said. “Those are just some of the things we’ve been working on, and we have improved.”
Goldthreate and the team’s seniors are anticipating the match, not only because of its implications, but also because it is also FAMU’s senior day. The team’s four seniors – Durden, Britney Dean, Alexis Brown, and Vanessa McCall – will be recognized for their accomplishments. The events will include picture sessions and a presentation of Letterman jackets.
“I am excited about the match especially because it’s senior day,” said co-captain Dean, a senior education student from Riverdale, Ga. “It will be my last match of the season, as well as the end of my college career.”
Durden said she is equally as eager about this weekend.
“I am excited as well because it is senior day,” Durden said. “They (the Wildcats) are a good fit for us, and it will be an exciting match for people to come watch on the day our seniors are recognized.”