The Rattlerettes are still winless against their cross-town rival, the Lady Seminoles.
A hungry volleyball team that smelled a win in last year’s match, left Tully Gymnasium ever hungrier Wednesday evening after losing to Florida State University in three straight games (30-25, 30-22, 30-22). The Lady Seminoles raised their perfect record against FAMU to 19-0, and swept the Rattlerettes for the 18th time.
The Rattlerettes looked very timid out of the gates in this very important non-conference match that attracted 733 fans.
“It was a very hyped up match and I think that the jitters overcame us early,” said senior middle blocker Shavonne Newsome.
Unlike in last year’s match, the first game could have gone either way. The Rattlerettes came back from an early 4-1 Seminole lead into a grand opportunity to take the lead at 12-11.
Sophomore outside hitter Ivelina Petkova accounted for five of those first twelve points with three kills, an ace and a block that posted the Rattlerettes 12th point. Petkova had seven of her team-high 12 kills in that first game.
But then a service error by junior setter Delisha Peterson and another hitting error by senior outside hitter Fiorella Aita Junek destroyed this opportunity.
Later in the game, the Rattlerettes made it interesting scoring five unanswered points, which cut the FSU lead to 26-24. However, with the help of two powerful kills by sophomore hitter Aisha Carr and another FAMU error, the Seminoles scored four out of the next five points and took game one.
“I think it was just a mental failure,” said senior libero Anisha Nicholson, as FAMU committed 25 hitting errors and nine receiving errors in the match. “Our own mistakes beat us tonight.”
Petkova made her presence felt again early in game two as she led the Rattlerettes with three kills, a block and an ace, to a commanding 8-3 lead. And then slowly but surely the Lady Seminoles began to inch there way back into it. The Rattlerettes speeded up the process by committing four costly mistakes, including a possible kill by Aita Junek that sailed out of bounds, which tied the game at 10.
FSU then immediately took a three-point lead at 13-10 with two kills by senior outside hitter Alex Sevillano, and an ace by sophomore Kameelah Omar, which they would never relinquish.
“It just all didn’t come together for us tonight. They were more intense,” said Peterson, who had 34 assists.
With their backs against the wall, the Rattlerettes came out swinging in a very tight game three. The score was tied eight times and there were six lead changes. Toward the end of the game, Aita Junek rendered a receiving error, which led to the third ace of the match by senior middle hitter Dawn Hough and the last tie of the game at 17.
Then Velorio attempted her fifth kill of the game and eighth of the match, but she hit the net, so FSU took the lead 18-17.
The game stayed close until junior middle blocker Ursula Jara was inserted for Newsome at 22-20.
Senior Kristin Frye’s game-high 14th kill was the first of four unanswered points by FSU, which put the game out of reach for the Rattlerettes.
“They had us on the ropes a couple times, but we came back,” said first year FSU head coach Todd Kress, who took over for 26-year veteran Cecile Reynaud. “It took our best effort to take the match in three games.”
The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Rattlerettes. They will hope to rebound this weekend as they play three matches in three days.
After this disappointing road loss
Petkova said, “If we would have played them in our gym that we would have won.