On founder’s day, October 3, 2014, the Florida A&M Lady Rattler volleyball team made its case for Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference supremacy by sweeping the North Carolina Central Lady Eagles (25-23, 25-14, 25-19).
The match was played in the Tulley Gymnasium, which is the home to Florida State’s volleyball team.
The Lady Rattlers (5-10, 3-0 MEAC) and Lady Eagles (0-19, 0-2 MEAC) went point for point in the first set to keep things close. At one point in the match, the Lady Eagles rallied off a 3-0 run to bring the score to 21-20 and forced head coach Tanio “Tony” Trifonov to call a timeout to stop the momentum swing.
“We did exactly what we talked about not to do yesterday in practice. We just started out really slow and a making a lot of personal errors, not moving with no intensity and everything else,” Trifonov commented.
He mentioned playing in a different facility may have played a factor because it was different from any gym they have played in.
After the timeout, the team went on a 4-3 run with three of the four points coming from the MEAC rookie of the week Pamela Soriano. Two of the points being subtle tips catching the Lady Eagles off guard and unprepared, and the last being a spike that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
“It was a good time to not just hit and hit and hit. All of that comes with experience,” Soriano explained.
Soriano’s experience comes from playing international games with the Dominican Republic’s junior national team.
As the crowd continued feeding energy to the Lady Rattlers, the team responded from the start of the second set jumping out to an early 7-4 lead. Three points came from sophomore middle blocker Dei’Ja Martin.
Martin scored off of two kills and one block during the early rally. One of the blocks came right before the kill. In the process, she fired up her teammates.
“Whenever you do something great on the court it feels great. When you do it back to back it gives you like an extra kick,” Martin said.
Following the intermission, the Lady Eagles stormed back onto the court and started off with a 3-0 lead. Unforced errors cost the women from Durham, N.C., a chance at forcing a fourth set. Serving errors, violations and long shots were the downfall of the Lady Eagles as it riddled them all evening long.
Outside hitter Yeisha Arcia spoke on the miscues from the Lady Eagles saying, “It’s always good when the other team makes errors. We tend to take advantage of that.”
Arcia did just that as she scored five points in the final set.
The evening ended with a standing ovation from fans as they cheered on the team to close out the match. Ultimately, it ended with one final kill from Soriano.
The Lady Rattlers improved their perfect MEAC record to 3-0. Up next is on the schedule is North Carolina A&T on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. The match will be back at its traditional location the Al Lawson Center at 4 p.m.