Improving their record to 7-3, the volleyball team defeated Bethune-Cookman College for the second time this season with the support of 161 rambunctious fans in Gaither Gymnasium.
That loss dealt the Wildcats their third defeat in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, which dropped them to 5-12 overall.
“We had very good blocking this match, but changes in focus and momentum swayed game play,” BCC’s Head Coach Paula Thompson said.
The Wildcats’ eight blocks were more than FAMU could muster up, but it wasn’t quite enough to win. They hit only .146 in the first game, falling 30-21.
The Rattlerettes (4-0 in MEAC) started off the second game with fervor and took an early 5-2 lead. Points went back and forth with neither team taking a large lead.
Senior middle hitter Shavonne Newsome tied the game at 13 with a cutting line shot on a slide play, but the Rattlerettes fell quickly after a run of points from BCC. Coach Tony Trifonov called a timeout, and halted the Wildcat run.
Continuous effort digging balls out of the net along with freshman Giulianna Velorio’s two consecutive tips off the blockers helped FAMU finish off game two 30-27.
The Rattlerettes led the first half of game three until they were called for being out of rotation. This slightly swayed the momentum of the game and gave BCC a point to tie the game at 12. Velorio and junior setter Delisha Peterson put an end to the Wildcats’ attempt to overtake FAMU by stuffing the ball back in their face.
“We had better communication this game,” Peterson said, “We improved from the other (Sept. 20) game because there wasn’t as much talking then. Even though we beat them there, it wasn’t a good game.”
During the final game, FAMU was delivered yet another setback when freshman Adriana Kostadinova hurt her ankle coming down from a block. She was helped off the court and stayed out the rest of the match, and was replaced by senior Mariana Aita Reyes.
BCC then tried to take the lead by taking advantage of several dropped balls by the Rattlerettes, but they were quickly stopped when Aita-Reyes delivered her only kill of the game.
The Rattlerettes eventually reached game point at 29-24, but were halted when Newsome hit out-of-bounds.
Three match points and one timeout later, FAMU ended the game 30-27 on a dig by sophomore Ivelina Petkova, a playable block from Newsome, and finally a kill from Petkova.
Leading the team in digs was outside hitter turned libero senior Anisha Nicholson. “(Libero) is a different position, but I am adjusting well,” Nicholson said.
Coming off this win, the Rattlerettes will be taking on Norfolk State in Gaither Gymnasium, Saturday at 1 p.m. “We just have to keep our level of game and spirits up,” Nicholson said.