Rattlerettes earn championship title

Going into the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament, the volleyball team was seeded number one.

FAMU proved why it was ranked at the top by rolling over all of its opponents to obtain the 2002 MEAC Championship title.

The Rattlerettes came into the tournament with a winning streak of 51 consecutive MEAC victories dating back to the 1998 season.

When asked how she felt the team would perform in the tournament, junior Ursula Jara said, “There’s no doubt that we’ll win the[MEAC] tournament.”

In their first match, FAMU competed with South Carolina State University.

Efficiently defeating the Lady Bulldogs, the Rattlerettes moved on to their next opponent the Aggies of North Carolina A&T.

During the regular season, the Aggies fell to Head Coach Tony Trifonov’s team both times they met.

At the end of Friday’s semifinal match, the Rattlerettes prevented A&T from reaching 20 points in any of the games. In the first game (30-18, 18, 19), FAMU had a .324 attack percentage and posted 19 kills.

Senior co-captain Fiorella Aita Junek, playing in her last MEAC tournament as a Rattlerette, led the team with 16 kills and seven digs.

She was assisted by freshman teammates Adriana Kostadinova and Andreina Ruiz who had 15 kills and 10 digs, respectively. The Rattlerettes dominated the match both offensively and defensively.

They never allowed the Aggies to hit above .200, forced 24 hitting errors, and finished with 38 digs over North Carolina’s 33.

After overcoming this match, the Rattlerettes recuperated to play Morgan State University in the finals, which was the fourth consecutive meeting these two teams had met in the championship.

The last seven MEAC titles have gone to one of these two teams; four to Morgan State and three to the Rattlerettes.

Florida A&M was victorious in the championship match to tie the overall record at four wins apiece.

Finishing off the Lady Bears in three straight games (30-19, 30-21, 30-19), the Rattlerettes were able to breathe a sigh of relief and prepare for their next task, which is winning the NCAA Tournament.

Aita Junek, Ruiz, and sophomore Mariela Portocarrero were selected for the All-Tournament Team.

Trifonov was named Most Outstanding Coach

Before the team advances to New Orleans for the NCAA first round action, they will play Georgia Tech Nov. 29 for the third time this season.