Rattlerettes continue to stand strong

With their second consecutive Mid- Eastern Athletic Conference championship title under their belts, the Rattlerettes are preparing for their next challenge: the NCAA Tournament.

Coming into the tourney, the Rattlerettes are 23-6. Coach Tony Trifonov, along with assistant coaches Sergio Villar Gallup and Macarena Ponce, have their work cut out for them because in the first round the team will be competing with rival Georgia Tech.

The Rattlerettes and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets obtained automatic bids for the tournament after winning their conference tournaments.

The Yellow Jackets (32-5) were victorious in all three matches this season against the Rattlerettes.

The first outing was Sept. 6 in the Georgia Tech Tournament in Atlanta. It was the closest because it went to four games instead of a straight sweep in three.

Their last meeting was Friday in O’Keefe Gymnasium where the Rattlerettes were defeated 30-26, 30-28, 30-23. The Yellow Jackets out hit FAMU .356 to .176 and out dug them 45-37. Senior Fiorella Aita Junek and freshman Adriana Kostadinova led the team with 16 and 15 kills, respectively.

The Yellow Jackets lead the series 7-0. But now that both teams are well acquainted with each other’s playing styles, nothing can be predicted. The Rattlerettes still have a chance to overtake their opponents and proceed to the next round.

Last year, neither team fared well; they were both eliminated in the first round. FAMU was defeated by No. 7 ranked Florida while Georgia Tech lost to Lousiville.

The Rattlerettes are one of 64 teams participating in this year’s Division One Women’s Volleyball Championship Tournament.

Thirty one of the slots were from automatic qualifications and the other 33 were filled by at-large bids.

Teams winning both of their matches will move on to regional play Dec. 13-15 at four undetermined campus locations. From there, the regional sites will be determined by who’s playing.

The semifinals and finals will be played at the University of New Orleans in New Orleans Arena Dec. 19 and 21.

The Rattlerettes’ first match is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. in Minnesota’s Sports Pavilion. The winner of Thursday’s match will play Friday at 7:30 p.m. and will face the winner of the New Hampshire-Minnesota match.