Volleyball Team Owns MEAC

Fifty-one Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference games. 51 wins. FAMU’s volleyball team has a winning streak going that no one can match.

Under the direction of coach Tony Trifonov, the ladies have not lost a regular season match to any MEAC opponent since its Oct. 2, 1998 loss to North Carolina A&T 1-3.

The winning streak is even more amazing considering that in the last two years, the only matches that went to four games against a MEAC opponent were Sept. 23, 2001 and Sept. 20, 2002 both versus Bethune-Cookman College.

FAMU is forecasted to go undefeated again this season in the conference. In the pre-season MEAC Head Volleyball Coaches poll, Trifonov’s team was selected as the favorite to win the title. The team received eight first place votes and 178 points out of a possible 220.

“We know that we can win the MEAC this year,” said senior Ursula Jara a 6-0 foot middle blocker from Lima, Peru. “Right now we’re looking ahead, working towards the nationals.”

Sophomore hitters Giulianna Velorio and Adriana Kostadinova led the conference last season in kills with .473 and .436 hitting percentages, respectively.

“Giulianna is not playing this year,” said sophomore Kostadinova. “Because we got more middle blockers, she’s sitting out this year.”

The Rattlers also led the conference in four out of six different categories — hitting percentage by opponents (.026), kills by opponents (7.96), assists by opponents (7.26) and service aces by opponents (0.61).

The team has not had any conference matches this season. Their record is 3-3 after last weekend’s Hilton Volleyball Classic at the University of Florida. There, the team defeated Xavier 3-0 (30-17, 30-22, 30-20) but lost to the University of Florida 0-3 (21-30, 24-30, 19-30). Sophomore All-American Andreina Ruiz and Kostadinova were named to the all-tournament team.

The Lady Rattlers’ next match is Friday evening at the University of Georgia.

Dominique Drake can be reached at ddidis1@aol.com.