The Florida A&M volleyball team turned up the heat to close the season, defeating the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats three sets to one on Senior Night Friday, Nov. 2.
The Rattlers set the tone early, winning the first set 25-22. Although they were not able to get it done in the second match, they came back strong in the third match, showing the crowd an electrifying performance.
“It was very intense, they had me on my feet the whole entire time,” said Florida State freshman Nydia Donaldson who was in the crowd during the match.
The third set started off with a kill by the Rattlers outside hitter Radka Dimitrova, as she established the momentum that carried on throughout the set. FAMU’s middle blocker, Aybuke Kocabiyik finished out the set with a block and a kill winning the set with a score of 25-21.
FAMU outside hitter and captain, Maria Garcia, set the pace in the fourth set scoring the first point with the Wildcats unable to return her attack.
Down by seven points, the Rattlers rallied, scoring four consecutive points with kills by Garcia and middle blocker Nair Canessa. From there, the set was back and forth, and the crowd was on their toes.
Outside hitters, Alexis Gosha, and Dimitrova had two crucial kills, allowing the Rattlers to take the lead. The Wildcats gave up two points with double hit violations and out of bound hits. Ultimately, the Rattlers capitalized off their mistakes finishing the match with a point from Garcia making the score 28-26.
In honor of Senior Night, the Rattlers celebrated Canessa, along with seniors Valentina Carrasco and Pamela Soriano.
“All of them are great. I really have a close relationship with all the girls on the team, especially the seniors,” said Kalen Blathers, the sole freshman on the Lady Rattlers.
Never underestimating the Wildcats’ talents, captain Garcia recognized the added pressure riding on this game.
“We were doing drills just special for this game because we knew it was going to be hard… We know how athletic they are,” Garcia said. “I feel really confident, I know my team can go as far as we want.”
This win makes the Rattlers 7-1 for the season and locks up first place in the Southern division for FAMU going into their match against Alabama State on Nov. 7.