The closing of a striking chapter

Rattlers taking a time out.
Photo credit: Sydne Vigille

In their final home game of the 2017 season, seniors Pamela Soriano and Valeria Lopez fight alongside their teammates to secure the win against the Alabama State Hornets. The stands were full with colors from their native homelands. As their family members and friends carry the beautiful colors of their countries. A yellow, blue and red flag waves for the Colombian setter while a blue, white and red flag waves for the Dominican outside hitter.

It was an intense battle royale ending in victory for the ladies of Orange and Green. After numerous ups and downs, anxiety filled play and breath taking moments, FAMU took the win in the fifth set, winning the overall match, 15-11.

For the two seniors, it was just the way they wanted their last home game of their FAMU volleyball career to end — victorious.

Senior setter Valeria Lopez, who finished the match with a massive 50 assists, reminisces on her four-year career.  

“I am really grateful with the school, and I am just happy to finish my volleyball career here. On that court, I lived the best moments of my life and of course, my bad moments as well. But they made me grow as a person, which will in the future help me become a good professional.”

Lopez, who is a student in FAMU’s School of Architecture is looking to graduate in the Spring of 2018.

The Lady Rattlers came out in the first set swinging, snatching the 25-22 victory. The Lady Hornets stung right back, taking the second set by force, 26-24.

However, the Lady Rattlers were un-phased as they came back to sweep the Hornets 25-14. After the third set the two teams tied four times, at 24, 25, 26, and 27 respectively. Alabama State kept the series alive after they narrowly defeated FAMU by just 2 points, 29-27.

It was in the fifth set that the Lady Rattlers struck the final blow along with the overall victory.

Senior Pamela Soriano, who also didn’t see much of the court until this night, felt that this is only the beginning.

“It is very emotional because it’s finally over. It is almost surreal because you know this day is coming but it doesn’t hit you until it’s really here and it’s happening. It’s sad, but I’m happy and I look forward to whatever comes next.” Soriano is a volleyball player, and hopes to graduate this December.

The team took down opponents North Carolina Central and North Carolina A&T this past weekend, earning the Lady Rattlers the #2 seed in the MEAC Tournament. The wins help the Lady Rattlers finish 13-11 overall and 9-1 in the MEAC.  

Assistant Coach Gohkan Yilmaz spoke in regards to their attempt to take back their crown which has been missing from Tallahassee since 2009. The last win was the finale on a streak of nine straight for the women.

“We are trying to make sure we develop all of our players for the tournament. We will not only need 6 players on the court but we will also need several contributors from the bench.”

Yilmaz also added, “Our ball control and offensive efficiency have been improving and these areas will help us be successful.”

Valeria Lopez said in reference to her final chance at grasping the MEAC Championship, “I am just taking my heat to that tournament, I have always believed that if you work hard you will get what you deserve. We have worked really hard, so let’s see if we deserve to be called champions.”

The seniors are close to closing one chapter but look forward to starting another one.