The Florida A&M Lady Rattlers opened the Florida State Volleyball Invitational Friday with a disappointing 25-21, 25-20, 25-20 loss against the Georgia Bulldogs at home in the Al Lawson Center.
After last week’s losses against Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of Florida at the Campus USA Credit Union Invitational Volleyball Tournament in Gainesville, Fla., the Lady Rattlers hoped to bring home a win. However, Friday’s loss against the Bulldogs leaves the team at (0-4).
The Lady Rattlers got off to a good start in the first set. A kill by middle blocker Pamela Barrera got the team its first point of the game. The set remained close with the Lady Rattlers never trailing by more than two points.
With the first set tied at 21, a Georgia attack error gave the Lady Rattlers a chance to take control. In the end, the Lady Rattlers were unable to push through for any more points. They ended the set with a 25-21 loss.
The second set didn’t begin with as much energy as the first. A service error by the Lady Rattlers led to a 19-9 lead by the Bulldogs. The team struggled with serving and hitting errors throughout the set, costing the team many points. The Lady Rattlers gained momentum after another kill by Barrera, cutting Georgia’s lead to 22-20 and capping an 11-3 run by the Lady Rattlers.
During the final moments of the set, the Lady Rattlers committed both a service error and an attack error, giving the Bulldogs match point at 24-22 and the chance to win the set 25-20.
Knowing that this could be the last set of the game, the Lady Rattlers played strong at the start of the third set, taking a 10-9 lead over the Bulldogs. An attack error by the Lady Rattlers allowed the Bulldogs to take control. However, they stayed persistent, leading to a 19-19 tie.
The Lady Rattlers did not have enough push to take the set, which gave the Bulldogs the chance to dominate and go on a 5-1 run to win the set and match 25-20.
All three sets were close, but the Lady Rattlers failed to pull a win.
“We just need more experience,” said Libero Karol Marquez, a senior public relations student from Lima, Peru. “We know how to play the game. We just need more experience so we can practice being more competitive and playing harder as a team at the end so we can win.”
Team captain Maria Ceccarelli, a senior literature student also from Lima, Peru, agrees with Marquez. She said she hopes the team will be able to develop more confidence as the season continues.
“When we get behind, our attitude changes,” said Ceccarelli. “We stop cheering for each other and lose excitement. If we want to win, that is something we need to work on.”
According to head volleyball coach Tanio Trifonov, there are quite a few improvements the Lady Rattlers need to make.
“Going forward, we have to be more consistent,” said Trifonov. “We made a lot of hitting errors tonight, and that is something we really need to practice and improve on.”
Overall, the Lady Rattlers have shown improvement with every game they have played and will only get better as the season progresses.
“This team was tougher than the teams we played last week, but as the other teams improve, we do too,” said Ceccarelli.