Rattlerettes disrupt Eagle flight

The Rattlerettes efficiently defeated Coppin State in three straight games (30-12, 30-11, 30-7) Sunday night in Gaither Gym.

Taking advantage of the Lady Eagles’ losing record, FAMU’s coaching staff mixed up the lineup giving those who have not received much playing time an opportunity to shine.

Even senior Anisha Nicholson, who has been playing as the team’s libero all season, was allowed to hit for the first game before reverting back to her defense position.

“It was good to play with everybody with the injuries out now,” said assistant coach Sergio Villar Gallup.

The first game went fairly well for the Rattlerettes. They maintained the lead for the entire game, never allowing the Lady Eagles to come close to overtaking them. Senior Fiorella Aita Junek gave the team four points off of kills to put the score at 24-11, before Coppin State’s head coach China Jude called a timeout.

Jude’s efforts were not successful because on the next play Coppin State’s outside hitter was blocked by sophomore Ivelina Petkova. Petkova continued to support the team by delivering two cross-court kills. The game ended on a hit that was shanked off a blocker.

“It (the game) was good because I was injured for a month and this was my second game back,” said sophomore Mariela Portocarrero.

Portocarrero fractured her foot in the Sept. 24 match against the University of South Florida and returned in Friday’s win over Morgan State.

She led the ladies Sunday with 25 assists, giving the hitters a chance to discombobulate the ball.

Making the most of Portocarrero’s efforts were senior Mariana Aita Reyes who contributed three kills and an ace and junior Ursula Jara, who contributed one kill and one ace, on the Rattlerettes’ road to victory in the second game.

Jara also ended the game with an awesome block in the middle that Coppin State couldn’t pick up.

The Lady Eagles were completely deflated in the final game of the match as the Rattlerettes rolled over them very quickly. A series of five points of awesome play began with a block-kill from Aita Junek followed by two kills from freshman Adriana Kostadinova and freshman Giulianna Velorio jousting at the net. The five-point run ended with a kill from senior Shavonne Newsome.

“Of course it started out where there was competitiveness but then we lost the intensity,” Jude said. “We’re young and we live and we learn; now we’re just getting ready for the conference play.”

Newsome added one more amazing kill to put the ladies into the twenty-point range.

The team’s efforts were halted as Coppin State tried to put a few more points on the scoreboard, but their feeble endeavors were cut short by another attack from Newsome. The match ended easily for the Rattlerettes when a Lady Eagle served the ball out of bounds.

The Rattlerettes ended the match with a .533 hitting percentage as opposed to the Lady Eagles’ negative .012. They also topped the charts on the defensive side with 43 digs.

The team will end its home stand this weekend with matches against MEAC opponents Howard and Hampton along with an important match against Georgia Tech on Sunday.